Deep Snow, Deep Safety!

PRESS RELEASE, Pacific Northwest Ski Areas Association
Contact: Jordan Elliott, President, 877-533-5520
Release Date: Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Bend, OR – With massive back to back winter storms blanketing the region in as much as 2-4+ feet of snow, skiers and riders are enjoying some of the best powder turns in recent memory. With more snow predicted for later this week, the snow suffocation hazard is high. Snow Immersion Suffocation (SIS) is not typically on the forefront of our recreational mindset when we head up to the regions many winter sports facilities or back country, but the danger is very real.

• Snow Immersion happens when a skier or boarder falls head–first into a tree well or deep loose snow.

• A tree well is the void around the base of a fir tree containing a mix of low hanging branches, loose snow, and air — treat all tree wells as dangerous.

• In an inverted position you can become trapped under the snow. It is extremely difficult to get out without the help of others.

• Breathing becomes difficult as the loose snow packs in around you. Without immediate help from your partner, you may suffocate.

All winter sports enthusiasts are advised to be educated on the risks involved with these snow conditions. is a recommended resource that all skiers and riders should utilize. Skiing and snowboarding with a friend is a best practice, always keeping your partner in sight.

For a printable brochure, click HERE.

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The Pacific Northwest Ski Areas Association is a non-profit trade association, which represents the interests of 36 ski and snowboard facilities located in Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Idaho, Montana, and California. The Association’s member ski areas – most of which operate on public land – collectively host an estimated 6 million visits annually. For additional information on Pacific Northwest skiing and snowboarding, contact the PNSAA office at (877) 533-5520, or visit to link to the website of your favorite mountain.

What’s Open This Week in the Northwest (12/6)

Contact: Jordan Elliott, President, 877-533-5520
Release Date: December 6, 2018

Bend, OR – With some additional snowfall last week and cold regional temperatures this week, more northwest resorts will be opening. Here is a rundown of open resorts:


49° North Mountain Resort is open Friday through Tuesday and closed Wednesday and Thursday on normal operational days. From December 15, 2018 through January 8, 2019, operations will be open 7 days a week. Information about operations can be found at:

Crystal Mountain is open daily with the Quicksilver, Chinook Express and Discovery Chairlifts. Additional information can be found at:

Mission Ridge is open December 7th-9th , 9am-4pm. Information about Mission Ridge’s operations can be found at:

Mt. Spokane will open chairs 2, 3, and 5 on Friday, Dec 7th from 9am to 4pm with operations continuing through Sunday. Tubing will also be available on Saturday and Sunday. For more details please see their website:


Mt. Ashland will open Dec 8th -10th and Dec 13th -17th, 9am-4pm, with a 7 day/week operation scheduling anticipated for the holidays. See their website for more info:

Mt Bachelor is open daily with 4 lifts and plans to expand terrain as snowfall permits. Please visit their conditions report for more info.

Mt. Hood Meadows’ snow harvesting efforts combined with some additional natural fall has enabled daily operation for 6 lifts. Please visit the resort website:

Mt Hood Ski Bowl Tubing Hill is open Saturdays and Sundays through December 9th. For details go to:

Timberline Lodge is now operating 7 days a week with daily assessments on the number of lifts operating, 9am - 4pm. Visit:


Bogus Basin will open 6 lifts on Thursday, December 6th, and will add 3 additional lifts on Saturday the 8th, at which point the entire mountain will be open for the season. Check for complete details.

Lookout Pass is open Thursday the 6th through Sunday the 9th. For more information go to:

Schweitzer Mountain Resort is open daily is open daily with 3 lifts. Please visit their website for more details:

Silver Mountain is open with 3 chairs. Additional information can be found at


Whitefish Mountain Resort will open on Thursday, December 6. Chairs 1, 5, 6, 7 and T-Bar 2 will be open with the possibility of expanding terrain as ski patrol determines. Downloading on Chair 1 will be required. Visit for a detailed report.

Many of the resorts in the Northwest are evaluating their current snow depths and watching the weather forecasts to determine when they will be opening. PNSAA will send updates as more resorts announce their opening dates. For the most up-to-date information on your favorite resort, please visit their websites.

What’s New in 2018-2019 at your Pacific Northwest Ski Resorts

Contact: John Gifford, President, 877-533-5520
Release Date: Monday, October 22, 2018

La Conner, WA – On the heels of another great season in 2017-2018, PNSAA resorts have had a busy off-season preparing for the upcoming winter including new lift installations, expanded snowmaking systems, ‘tuning up’ ski lifts, new and remodeled lodges, summer brush cutting/grooming on runs, new rental equipment, and creating a compelling array of learning programs. With the 2018-2019 winter season fast approaching, following are highlights of what’s new at the region’s resorts.


Anthony Lakes Mountain Resort: purchased a historic building in downtown Baker City, Oregon for its main office and The Trailhead, a new outdoor recreation information hub complete with a full-service bike and ski shop. The Gear Exchange at the Trailhead offers a space to sell quality used ski and snowboard equipment.

Mt Ashland: improved and expanded glade skiing, new and exciting terrain park features, learning center improvements, Wi-Fi on the mountain, as well as several new LIVE webcams, and the final touches of a $1.7 million-dollar lodge renovation that was started last year. Also offering an enhanced shuttle schedule will provide convenience and a reduced carbon footprint for all guests.

Mt Hood Meadows: launched “The Vista Experience” a pathway from the top of the Vista Express high-speed lift down to the complex of beginner terrain. The experience is made possible by contouring the snow on advanced beginner terrain to make it easier for those just learning to ski and snowboard to access. The snowboard rental fleet has been replaced for 2018-2019 with new Rossignol snowboards and boots for adults and children.

Mt Hood Skibowl: has added the “SnoFlake Machine”, an all-weather snowmaking system which allows snowmaking above freezing temperatures. The resort’s Westside parking lot has been expanded and widened, increasing capacity by 150 parking spaces. Travel lanes are also larger, making it much easier for guests to navigate in the parking lot.

Timberline Lodge: R.L.K. and Company, Operator of Timberline Lodge and Ski Area, purchased the Summit Ski Area in Government Camp. Included in the sale is Snow Bunny, a snow play area and parking lot, approximately 1.5 miles east of Government Camp.


Crystal Mountain: was acquired by Alterra Mountain Company as of October 1st, 2018. Alterra owns 14 year-round mountain destinations throughout North America. Crystal Mountain Resort is available on the Ikon Pass for winter 2018/2019. During the summer snowmaking was added on Arwine’s, the Burn, Lower Bull, and Lower Deer Fly trails for a total of 16 more permanent Super Puma Fan Guns, 5 more hydrant pedestals location bringing a total of 53 guns and 116 acres of snowmaking.

Bluewood: is replacing the platter pull lift with two new conveyor lifts in the beginner area by the lodge. The new lifts will increase total rider capacity from 3,950 people per hour to 6,250. A yurt is being constructed at the top of Skyline Express which will offer a place on the mountain to rest and warm up between runs.

Stevens Pass Mountain Resort: was purchased by Vail Resorts, Inc. (NYSE: MTN). Stevens Pass is the Company's second resort in the Pacific Northwest and is part of Epic Pass with access to the twelve North American resorts of Vail Resorts.

Mt Spokane Ski and Snowboard Park: new for this season is a new triple chairlift that will provide access to 279 acres of scenic terrain with 7 professionally designed trails on the backside of the mountain. The new guest service building will include the Mountain Sports School Learning Center providing a warming area for students, office space and room for 100+ instructors. On the bottom floor of this new building is a large shop area with mezzanine for the mountain operations department. A 110’ surface lift is being installed to take students up the beginner hill as well used to transport guests in the morning from the parking lot up to Lodge 2.

The Summit at Snoqualmie: added new Silver Fir zone lighting providing night skiing operations on more terrain for night laps. During the summer extensive summer slope brush cutting to enable earlier trail openings. The bathrooms in the Alpental Lodge were renovated during the summer.

49 Degrees North: has expanded snowmaking to improve early and late season conditions. The expansion is part of a phased project that will see continued additional snowmaking improvement in future years. New haul rope for the West Basin Chair 4 Lift is 10,600 feet of 1 ¼” wire rope. The lift accesses Tamarack glades - Stockholder, Cy’s Glades, Bakken and others.


Bogus Basin: spent $5.7 million installing a new automated snowmaking system providing top to bottom coverage on three of the area’s seven chairlifts. Installation of the brand new, fully automated system included construction of a 13-million-gallon snowmaking pond and the acquisition of 24 fan guns. The snowmaking system was funded entirely by a community fundraising campaign that was conducted in 2017. Also new, a fleet of rental skis and snowboards and boots from Rossignol, new demo skis from Rossignol with Look bindings, new Volkl demo skis with Marker bindings, and new lease skis and boots from Rossignol.

Silver Mountain Resort: Four new gladed areas were added in bounds this summer for improved tree and powder skiing. All four areas are on the upper part of the mountain around the current Tall Paul and Sunset trails. Remodeling of the Food Court will add more self-service items and speed up flow. Dirt mounding in the terrain park so jumps and features can be available earlier in the season

Lookout Pass: is starting a new learning program for children 4 to 6 years old, the Mini-Moose Program, an instructional program incorporating snow play. The program will be available on Weekends and Holidays and housed in a building located right behind the Chair #4 Success Beginner Lift.


Eaglecrest Ski Area: substantial measures to improve snowmaking capabilities - a new pump house providing enough water pressure to make snow to the top of Hooter. As part of the expansion, the pump house will supply 2,400’ of pipeline, which will be installed in phases, to allow snowmaking across the lower mountain (Phase 1) and, eventually, over to the base of the Black Bear Chairlift (Phase 2).

For additional information on these exciting developments in the mountains, please visit your favorite mountain’s website or call the resort directly.

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The Pacific Northwest Ski Areas Association is a non-profit trade association which represents the interests of ski and snowboard facilities located in Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Idaho, Montana, and California. The Association’s 35 member ski areas – most of which operate on public land – collectively host an average of 5.6 million visits annually. For additional information on Pacific Northwest skiing and snowboarding, contact the PNSAA office at (877) 533-5520, or visit to link to the website of your favorite mountain.

Far West Ski Association Adds 10th Council Member!


It is with great pleasure we announce that the National Brotherhood of Skiers - Western Region (NBSWR) has joined Far West Ski Association (FWSA) as the tenth council in the association.

On June 10th, the Far West Ski Association Board of Directors approved an invitation to the NBSWR to become the tenth FWSA Council. The NBSWR member club presidents voted on September 29, 2018 to accept the FWSA invitation.

The NBSWR is comprised of thirteen member clubs serving communities from San Francisco to San Diego and Las Vegas to Los Angeles. The Western Region clubs are part of the National Brotherhood of Skiers (NBS), which is also one of the largest organized ski associations in the country. A non-profit organization, the NBS was formed in 1974 by thirteen ski clubs across the country and now has a membership of over fifty clubs, representing nearly fifty cities. The primary goals of NBS are to promote winter sports among minorities and develop educational programs among minority children to stimulate a sportsman like attitude regarding winter sports and provide scholarship funds for potential Winter Olympic athletes of color.

FWSA is one of the largest ski associations in the United States, now with ten active councils representing more than 53,000 skiers and boarders from more than 160 clubs in twelve western states – Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.

For additional information regarding the Far West Ski Association, please visit our website at

What's new in the ski industry?

Steve Coxen
NWSCC Director of Public Affairs
September 24, 2018

Less than three weeks after Vail Resorts closed on its acquisition of Stevens Pass in Washington, Alterra Mountain Company has entered into an agreement to purchase Crystal Mountain Resort, located about three hours south of Stevens. The acquisition would bring Alterra’s portfolio to 13 mountain resorts in North America, plus CMH heli-skiing in Canada.

Summer Improvements to nearby resorts:

Red Mountain in BC is working on installing a connecting lift from the Grey Chair to the Silverlode Chair, while also adding additional parking, along with building a new hostel. There is also a new ski-in, ski-out on-mountain hotel – The Josie.

Whistler Blackcomb is undergoing $50 million worth of upgrades and updates this summer, which includes three new lifts. A 10-person gondola will replace the Wizard and Solar lifts on the Blackcomb side of the mountain, while the resort's Family Ski Zone's four-passenger Emerald Express is replaced by a new high-speed six-passenger chair. The three-seater Catskinner lift is also being replaced by a new high-speed four-passenger chair. 

Big Sky Resort, Montana will soon be the first ski destination in North America to feature an eight-seater chair. Dubbed the Ramcharger 8, the high-speed mega lift will be the first of its kind in the world, featuring bubble chairs with heated seats and a high-resolution LED screen located at the lower terminal which will provide skiers with up-to-date mountain information. Additionally, the Shedhorn lift, which is currently a double chair, will be replaced by a high-speed quad.

Deer Valley Resort is making $8.1 million in mountain updates for the 2018-19 season. The Utah resort is replacing the Homestake lift, which transports skiers from the Silverlake Village to the top of Bald Mountain, with a detachable high-speed quad. Deer Valley is also installing more efficient snowmaking equipment.

Heavenly Ski Resort is replacing the two-seater Galaxy lift with a three-person chair this summer. This upgrade will increase skier access to 400 acres of Heavenly's intermediate terrain.

FWSA 2020 Convention to be held in Portland!

For immediate release
By Debbi Kor, FWSA Annual Convention Chair

I am extremely happy to announce that the FWSA 88th Annual Far West Convention will be held May 28-31, 2020, at the Red Lion Hotel on the River Jantzen Beach in Portand, Oregon, hosted by Northwest Ski Club Council. For those who were around and involved, it was also the site of the 1997 Convention. Located on the beautiful Columbia River, the Red Lion has recently renovated all of their guest rooms, and will be doing other upgrades between now and 2020.

Sheri Parshall has graciously accepted the duties of Host Council Coordinator. All of us in Northwest Council are very excited to be hosting this fabulous, milestone event, during which Far West will be celebrating its 90th birthday.

Please feel free to share this news with your clubs and councils. We already have committees forming and will be meeting soon to decide on a theme and logo for the event. For those who have spent time in the Portland area, or even if you haven't, believe me when I say that Portland is a beautiful place to visit, with tons of fun things to do. We are so happy to have this opportunity to show off our city to YOU!

National Ski Council Federation Holds Annual Meeting at Zermatt Resort, Midway Utah

For immediate release 9/4/18

The National Ski Council Federation held its 2018 Annual Meeting Aug. 23-27, 2018, at Zermatt Resort, Midway, Utah.  

Participating were 38 council delegates, along with Federation officers and committee chairs representing 21 councils whose member clubs span the United States. Twenty-three ski industry representatives participated in the meeting.

“Our annual meeting provides ski council delegates and industry representatives the opportunity to come together to discuss issues that are important to our organizations and the ski industry,” said Lisa Beregi, NSCF president. “It was wonderful to have so many council representatives and industry partners attend and participate in this year’s meeting,”

Participants discussed a variety of topics of interest to ski clubs and councils and the ski industry. Topics included travel issues, the consolidation of resort ownership, attracting new club members, and use of social media.

Building on our successful virtual silent auction, the 2018 auction will be open October 1 and will run for 45 days. It will be accessible from the NSCF website, NSCF is grateful to our many contributors of items.  

We appreciate Zermatt Resort and Maxine Jensen, Director, International Tourism and Travel, for providing a wonderful venue for our meeting.

About the National Ski Council Federation: The National Ski Council Federation (NSCF), founded in 1998, is a not-for-profit organization made up of 29 ski councils composed of 640 ski clubs with more than 300,000 members throughout United States. The Federation’s purpose is to strengthen councils, with industry participation so they may better serve their ski clubs through improved communication, education and benefits. The Federation conducts active programs in public affairs, communications, council development, racing, ski industry relations and skier outreach.

Oregon Cancer Ski Out Nets $55,000 for local and statewide cancer research and family services

Lake Oswego- 29 AUGUST, 2018 - The 30th Annual Oregon Cancer Ski Out (OCSO) netted $55,000 for local and state-wide cancer research and family services. "From our first year, we have dedicated our efforts to the concept that what we raise here, stays here", said President Ed Ariniello. Continuing, he said, "As soon as we had the results, we disbursed the first $44,650, but to our delight we received an additional $10,000 that came in after the event!". A second round of funding is forth-coming within the next two months. 

Funds allocated went to the Knight Cancer Institute's War on Melanoma, Providence's Willamette Falls Foundation's Hospice and Camp Erin (a grief program for youth), Candlelighter's For Children with Cancer, Providence Hospice of the Gorge and Breast Friends.

Larry Chadwick, Founder of the group noted, "Most volunteer events of this nature don't last thirty years. We have been blessed with consistent participation by skiers and boarders, along with non-skiers. Oregon businesses have joined in as sponsors in the fight for the people of Oregon. Furthermore, we know how the money is being used by the dedicated local programs we support".

The race is about consistency, not speed, as teams of five persons cover two courses each day. Additionally, Olympic and professional coaches oversee the courses to provide safety and assistance. The event is held at Mt. Hood Meadows the second Sunday-Monday of March each year; the upcoming date being next March 10-11.

Northwest Cancer Resource Fund (NWCRF) provides for the non-profit status of the Oregon Cancer Ski Out, along with the Oregon Cancer Bike Out's in Bend and Ashland, and the Golf to Give events. President Ariniello stated, "NWCRF welcomes applications from individuals and groups who are wanting to make a difference in seeking solutions to cancer through fund raising and need a tax-exempt status. Going through the process with the IRS is both expensive and time consuming". For more information on for local and state-wide NWCRF efforts:

L. M. "Chad" Chadwick
1540 Ash Street
Lake Oswego, Oregon  97034
503.803.5461 Cell

OCSO 2018 Sponsors.jpg

Timberline Purchases Summit Ski Area and Snow Bunny

Reprinted from Mountain High Snowsport Club Lift Lines, Emilio Trampuz, Editor

July 18, 2018. R.L.K. and Company, the Operator of Timberline Lodge and Ski Area, has purchased the iconic Summit Ski Area in Government Camp, Oregon. Included in the sale is Snow Bunny, a snow play area and parking lot, approximately 1.5 miles east of Government Camp. Both Summit Ski Area and Snow Bunny will operate under a special use permit issued by the Mount Hood National Forest.

Established in 1927, Summit Ski Area is the second oldest continuously operating ski area in the United States and the oldest ski area in the Pacific Northwest. In 1959 a T-bar was installed and in 1966 the present lodge was constructed. In 1980 the current 2,300 feet long chairlift was built. Jeff Kohnstamm, Timberline President and Area Operator, says, “We are very pleased with the acquisition and plan to operate Summit Ski Area as a family oriented, affordable, friendly mountain resort.” Kohnstamm sees Summit as a place to “break down the barriers to skiing and snowboarding surrounding accessibility and affordability“.

With Portland’s population growing rapidly and more people visiting Mt. Hood, Timberline also views Summit Ski Area as an opportunity to help address public transportation and parking needs while having a greater connectivity to Government Camp.  In the short-term, R.L.K. and Company will roll out Summit with an updated brand and website. Summit will operate under its current footprint with ski and snowboard rentals, lessons, snow tubing, and an expanded food and beverage offering with some basic lodge upgrades. Timberline operates a free winter shuttle bus between Summit ski area and Timberline. The Alpine trail runs from Timberline to Summit ski area.

The long-term view for Summit includes exploring expanded product offerings for both summer and winter. John Burton, Timberline spokesman, said Timberline is looking into adding a chairlift or gondola that spans the two properties. “Does it just go to the bottom of Jeff Flood lift or do we take it all the way to the hotel?” Burton said. Of course, the prospect of a Government Camp/Timberline connection is far from certain. Putting in a new chairlift is a 5 to 10-year project, Burton said, and the first step is an environmental impact study that takes a minimum of two-and-a-half to three years. But the project is within the realm of possibility, he said, and Timberline wouldn’t need to acquire the land between Summit and Timberline to run a lift connecting the properties.

FWSA Conducts its 86th Annual Convention in Reno, Nevada

By Jane Wyckoff, FWSA Trustee

The Far West Ski Association conducted its 86th Annual Convention and Meeting June 7-10, 2018 at the Atlantis Casino Resort Spa, hosted by the Bay Area Snow Sports Council and the Sierra League & Council. The Far West Ski Association, founded in 1930, is a volunteer, non-profit organization representing 150 affiliated ski clubs located throughout nine regional councils in the states of Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, South Dakota, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. The Association conducts active programs in public affairs, skier safety, ski heritage, racing, communications, travel, council development, ski industry and community outreach. In addition to the 170 ski club delegates attending the annual meeting, approximately 75 ski and sports industry representatives participated in the weekend’s events.

Special guests included: Billy Kidd, Keynote Speaker, Olympic Medalist; Tom Kelly, US Skiing VP of Communications; Lila Lapanja, US Ski Team Member & FWSA Athletic Scholarship Recipient; Matt Smallhouse, Junior Racer & FWSA Athletic Scholarship Recipient, Ingrid Wicken, Historian & Founder of the California Ski Library; Bill Clark, Curator, Western Skisport Museum; Dave Ludwig, Founder of Hope on the Slopes; Amy Berry, Tahoe Fund CEO; Trey Humphries, High Fives Foundation Interim Executive Director and Dr. Jon Kedrowski, author and mountain climber.

The 33nd Annual Silent Auction on Friday evening raised over $27,000 to support FWSA programs. The highest bidders purchased ski trips, bicycle trips, diving trips, and tour packages. Saturday morning’s Travel Expo enabled industry representatives to meet with travel decision makers from the Association’s clubs and councils.

Saturday afternoon, following the luncheon, included a presentation by Keynote Speaker Billy Kidd. When you think of legends in American skiing the name Billy Kidd is at the top of the list. He and teammate Jimmie Heuga became the first American men to win Olympic medals in alpine skiing – a silver for Kidd and a bronze for Heuga – in the slalom at Innsbruck, Austria in 1964. Billy became a World Cup Champion in 1970 in Val Gardena, Italy. Among many accomplishments, he is a member of the US Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame and the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame. He continues his involvement in snowsports as Director of Skiing at Steamboat. A longtime friend and continued convention attendee over the years, Kidd is a recipient of the FWSA Hans Georg Award. He gave an inspirational presentation regarding the challenges and rewards of being a member of the US Ski Team, and brought the audience back to his experiences at the Olympics and as a World Cup Racer. To the delight of everyone, he brought his Olympic and World Cup medals, and some attendees had the honor of privilege of wearing his medals for a once-in-a-lifetime photo opportunity.

Bids were presented to the FWSA Travel Committee for selection of the 2020 FWSA Ski & Snowboard Week, with the result to be announced later in the summer. The 2019 FWSA Ski & Snowboard Week will be held in Steamboat, Colorado, February 2-9. A Mini Ski & Snowboard Week will be held at Winter Park, Colorado, March 24-29. The 2019 International Ski & Snowboard Adventure will be to Ski Niseko, Japan, March 9-16, with an extension to be announced.

Three FWSA Snowsports Leadership Academy classes were held on Saturday, two morning sessions “Make your Nonprofit Passion a Successful Reality” and “Knock Knock, Who’s There to Take Over? Successful Succession Planning,” and an afternoon session “I Want to Go On the Trip, Too; Maximizing Travel for Your Clients with Special Needs." Two Public Affairs Sessions were conducted, with the morning session dedicated to snowsports history and documentation, and the afternoon session to the junior racing and the US Ski Team, past and future.

FWSA Snowsports Builder Awards were presented to Fritz Buser, Ingrid Wicken and John Watson. Mike Pierce, Mount Rose - Ski Tahoe, accepted the award on behalf of Fritz Buser. Fritz was the founder and developer of Mt. Rose – Ski Tahoe. His son Kurt has been executive of the company for the past 20 years. Fritz recently passed away in his native home of Switzerland. Ingrid Wicken has written seven books and numerous professional papers on ski history in various journals. She is the founder of the California Ski Library, which celebrated its 30th year of operation this year. John Watson has dedicated over 50 years of volunteerism to organizations that support snowsports. He was the creator of multiple innovative programs and recognition awards on all levels of snowsport – club, council, FWSA, US Ski Association, US Recreational Ski Association and the Far West Ski Foundation.

Two FWSA Industry Awards were presented: the FWSA Tommi Tyndall Award for Outstanding Ski Industry Contribution, to Sugar Bowl Resort; and the FWSA Bill Mackey Award for Outstanding Ski Industry Employee, to Sandy Gaudette, Three FWSA Media Awards were presented: the Bill Berry Award for Featured Article, to Dr. Jon Kedrowski, author of “Skiing and Sleeping in the Summits”; the Bill Berry Hard News Award to Justin Scacco, writer for the “Truckee Sun”, and the Warren Miller Modern Media Award to Red Bull Media House for their movie Peak Season”.

Jo Simpson, Sierra League & Council (Reno, NV) received the FWSA Hans Georg Award for long-term service to organized skiing. Other individuals receiving recognition awards included: the FWSA Elizabeth “Schatzi” Wood Award for a decisive contribution to skiing to Jane Gutierrez, Los Angeles Council of Ski Clubs (Hawthorne, CA); the FWSA J. Stanley Mullin Award for a decisive contribution to skiing to Todd Hood, Los Angeles Council of Ski Clubs (Palos Verdes Peninsula, CA); the FWSA Jordan-Reily Award for Outstanding Contribution to Public Affairs, to Amy Berry, Tahoe Fund; and the Terry Smith Award for greatly contributing to the advancement of intramural skiing to Kevin Kermode, Mammoth Mountain. The FWSA Jimmie Heuga Award was presented for Outstanding Humanitarian, to Dee Armstrong, Can Do MS. The FWSA Councils’ Man & Woman of the Year program, sponsored by Big White Ski Resort, recognized Kim Hovren and Mike Bouton of Intermountain Ski Council. The FWSA Presidents Award was given to; Tom Kelly, VP of Communications, US Ski and Snowboard Association; Michael Bouton, 2017 Host Council Convention Coordinator and Past President of Intermountain Ski Council; and to Jane Gutierrez, FWSA VP of Membership, and Snowsports Leadership Academy Chairperson.

The Wentworth Award for the Outstanding Publication was presented to Pacific Rim Alliance (Masters Class) and North Island Snowdrifters (Novice Class). The Outstanding Website Awards were given to: Pacific Rim Alliance (Masters Class) and Conejo Ski and Sports Club (Novice Class). The FWSA Charity & Community Service Recognition Awards were presented to Monterey Ski & Social Club (Double Diamond Class), and Bogus Basin Ski Club (Diamond Class).

Special presentations were made to Monica Palmer, a member of the Reno Ski and Recreation Club, for the FWSA Safety Person of the Year Award, sponsored by Telluride Ski Resort. The FWSA Western Ski Heritage Award, sponsored by Steamboat Ski & Resort Corporation, was presented to Ingrid Wicken, ski historian and author of “50 Years of Flight”. Historic Ski Club designations were awarded to Long Beach Ski Club and Wailers Ski Club.

The FWSA Athletic Scholarship Program raised over $5,000 during the Convention through a raffle, silent auction and oral auction of two trips sponsored by Whitefish Mountain Resort and Averill Hospitality - The Lodge at Whitefish Lake and Firebrand Hotel. The FWSA Athletic Scholarship Program, which began in 2004, has awarded 123 scholarships for a total of over $129,000 to deserving USSA racers throughout the western United States.

Elections were held at Sunday’s General Session. FWSA Officers for 2018–2019 are: President, Gloria Raminha (Bakersfield, CA); Secretary, Sheri Parshall (Fairview, OR); Treasurer, Randy Lew (Battle Ground, WA); Chairperson Board of Trustees, Linda Westlund (Scottsdale, AZ); VP Council Services, Jo Simpson (Reno, NV); VP Marketing, Debbi Kor (Vancouver, WA); VP Membership, Michael Bouton (Boise, ID); VP Public Affairs, Paula Hazzard (Manhattan Beach, CA); VP North American Travel, Nancy Ellis (Truckee, CA); VP International Travel, Debbie Stewart (Visalia, CA); VP Racing, Bob Ellis (Truckee CA); Trustees Tom Bundgard (San Diego, CA), Jane Wyckoff (Irvine, CA), and Tucker Hoffman (Livermore, CA).

Far West Ski Association is appreciative of the many sponsors who are a big part of the success of the FWSA Annual Convention. Sponsors included: Alterra Mountain Company/IKON Pass, Aspen/Snowmass, Big White Ski Resort,, Brian Head Resort, ClubExpress, Club Med, Diamond Peak Ski Resort, Great Basin Brewing Company, Holidaze Ski Tours, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Karbon, Mammoth Mountain Ski Area, Nancy Greene’s Cahilty Hotel & Suites, Reno Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority, Sports America Tours, Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, Ski.Com, Snowmass, Steamboat Ski and Resort Corporation, Telluride, Vail Resorts, The Firebrand Hotel, Winter Park Resort, Whitefish Mountain Resort, Winter Park, and

The 87th Annual Far West Ski Association Convention is scheduled for June 13-16, 2019 at the Hyatt Regency Indian Wells Resort & Spa, California, hosted by the Orange Council of Ski Clubs. For additional information regarding the Far West Ski Association, please visit our website at

Photographs from the Convention are available upon request.

NWSCC President's Report 2017-2018

By Barbara Bousum, NWSCC President 2017-2018, as reported to FWSA

NWSCC’s 25 member clubs are found throughout a large geographic area, primarily in Washington and Oregon, and even Hawaii. We held our annual elections in late June 2017, and the new officers and directors hit the ground running for our new fiscal year. Our annual planning retreat was held in August, as we developed our plans for the year.

NWSCC uses both our Facebook presence and our own website to keep our widespread member clubs informed about Council events, meetings and trips, reported Director Chris Ciardi. And we also support our local industry partners by sharing their posts of interest to our members. Ski trips organized by our council and FWSA are promoted on Facebook, too. All our clubs are encouraged to share their schedule of club activities, which can be found on our website,, edited by Director Linda McGavin. Linda strives to keep the website updated with activities and club trips, so members can always discover opportunities to participate. Also, email newsletters drive members to the website.

NWSCC is fortunate that three of our Directors serve geographic areas to keep clubs and the board informed about what’s happening in their areas and share council information and activities. Rod Robinson was our central Oregon representative and reported that the Bend Ski Club continues to grow in members. A continuous flow of retirees moving to Bend, along with Bend’s Mount Bachelor in its backyard, help contribute to the club’s growth and success. Last season, Rod and his wife Becki led the Bend Ski Club's first-ever club trip to Mt. Hood Meadows and Hood River, OR. Norvin Peer keeps track of southwest Washington, and Bill Becroft covers the Seattle area. We are grateful to each of them.

We participated in our first pre-season event in October at Snowvana, the 2nd year for the season kick-off featuring area ski resorts, clothing and equipment retailers, entertainment and more. Both NWSCC and our racing arm Pacific Northwest Area Clubs Recreational Alpine Teams (PACRAT) hosted booths. We each held drawings for a lucky winner of a pair of skis and took the opportunity to encourage club membership. November found us talking up clubs again at the annual SkiFever show in Portland. Each event allowed us to reach out to the skiing and snowboarding community about the camaraderie we enjoy in our clubs. Also in November, NWSCC hosted Presidents’ Night where club presidents and NWSCC board members could network and share ideas.

In December, we hosted our first Winter Fair. At this event, open to all club members as well as the public, we announced our Woman and Man of the Year, socialized over craft beer and pizza, and enjoyed the fun of a silent auction. This evening social and fundraiser helps support NWSCC events throughout the year.

In February, NWSCCers descended upon Banff for FWSA Ski Week. We enjoyed wonderful powder and the beautiful scenery of the Canadian Rockies. Our council night at the Balkan was a rollicking evening of delicious food, joining the belly dancer in her moves, dancing throughout the restaurant, and throwing plates!

NWSCC again hosted a Bachelor Blast event in Bend, OR in early April. Participants represented five different NWSCC clubs. A hosted reception on Saturday evening brought everyone together, including club members with their own housing in Bend. While the weather on Mt. Bachelor was not spring-like (snowy and windy), everyone found something to do if they weren't skiing, from shopping to hiking in the surrounding areas (from the Badlands to Smith Rock). Those who stayed over until Monday enjoyed a return to true spring skiing, including blue skies, light winds, warming temperatures, and the opening of the Summit lift with developing corn snow leading to delightful skiing. However, everyone said they had a wonderful time and want to go again next year!

Andy Hobart, our PACRAT President, reported that five races at all three Mt. Hood resorts were completed this season. Sadly, the two planned NASTAR open races were both cancelled due to lack of snow. The PACRAT race league hosted its annual awards banquet April 14, 2018 at Mt. Hood Meadows, with an after-party immediately following at Charlie’s Mountain View. Four PACRAT racers attended the 2018 NASTAR Nationals in Squaw Valley, California, marking the 50th anniversary of the event. Representing the men were Dan Lane, Kyle Taylor, and Mark Stanford, and for the Lady PACRATs, Breanne Morton. All skied well, given some challenging weather with rain during the slalom and snow pellets blowing in sideways at times during some of the GS events. All-in-all, racers reported steep, icy and race-worthy courses and a beautiful venue which was a blast for free-skiing during sun breaks between events. We congratulate all the racers for representing PACRATs well at Nationals this year. Dan Lane placed 3rd (in the Silver 55-59 age bracket) in the GS; Kyle Taylor placed 3rd overall in the GS; Mark Stanford placed 3rd (in the Platinum 55-59 age bracket) in the GS; and Breanne Morton placed 2nd overall in the GS. Racers enjoyed meeting and racing alongside Olympians Marco Sullivan, Mt. Hood local AJ Kitt, and Daron Rahlves, a personal friend of Govy coach Richy Tichy. Coach Tichy attended the NASTAR Nationals this year on course crew for the event and as coach for Kyle Taylor and Breanne Morton. PACRAT looks forward to the 2019 NASTAR Nationals!

NWSCC is grateful for our hard-working officers and Directors. In addition to those already mentioned, V.P. Sue Rimkeit played a major role, helping in a myriad of ways to organize, set up, and arrange our various activities and meetings. Her creativity and enthusiasm continue to be an asset to NWSCC. Secretary Jeanne Reinhardt keeps accurate records of our meetings, and Bill King is our accurate and diligent Treasurer. Other directors are Sheri Parshall, whose very important role is to enroll our industry members, and Steve Coxen, who keeps us abreast of public affairs in the northwest that affect skiing and the ski industry.

2017-2018 Northwest Ski Challenge entries due June 15!

You can participate in this unique Northwest Council challenge, to ski or snowboard a minimum of 7 ski areas anywhere in Oregon or Washington, and certain areas in Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, or British Columbia in a single season. At the end of the season, mail in your lift tickets or credit card receipts or photocopy of a current season’s pass showing proof of purchase of lift tickets. Entries and proof of qualification must be received by the Council no later than June 15. The drawing will take place in the fall of the year of entry. You must be 18 years old or older to enter.

The names of all who meet the minimum of 7 resorts visited will be posted on our website, ranked by the number of total resorts. Everyone who completes this challenge will qualify for the Council’s year-end drawing for prizes – equipment, services, and lift tickets for the following season. The more resorts you visit, the more valuable prizes you will qualify for.

See full flier HERE.  Download the entry form as a .pdf or as a Word document.  

86th Annual FWSA Convention in Reno, NV June 7-10 2018!

The Far West Ski Association invites all snowsports enthusiasts to attend its 86th Annual Convention, to be held at the Atlantis Casino Resort Spa, June 7-10, 2018, in beautiful Reno, Nevada.    

Delegate Registration Packets were sent out the end of February, so all Far West ski clubs should have theirs in hand.  (If you do not, please contact your ski club council President immediately).  Your four-day weekend will be busy with all that is planned, including:  discussions on programs in public affairs, skier safety, ski heritage, athletic scholarships, racing, communications, travel, council development, ski industry and community outreach. The event will be hosted by the Bay Area Snow Sports Council and Sierra League and Council.

Lodging at our group rate (single or double occupancy) is available at Atlantis Casino Resort Spa three days pre and post convention, based on availability. Rates are plus tax and $2 daily tourist surcharge:  $80 Sunday through Thursday, and $129 Friday and Saturday.  Per our contract, we have NO RESORT FEES and Wi-Fi is FREE in the guest rooms. Parking is FREE and transportation to and from the airport is FREE.   The Room block release date is May 17, 2018 - the group rate will no longer be available after this date.  

The Silent Auction & Trade Show Friday night gives attendees the opportunity to bid on ski and travel packages which often go for a fraction of their value.  This event is open to the public and there is no cost to attend.  

The rest of the weekend will be filled with Education Sessions and Public Affairs sessions on Saturday morning and afternoon, followed by our Awards Banquet on Saturday evening, recognizing outstanding club members and industry partners.  Sunday winds up with our Annual Meeting and Elections.  

Your registration price of $159 (if paid by May 7) includes all educational sessions and most of your meals for the weekend, including all meals on Saturday and the Sunday Brunch.  The cost of registration goes up to $175 after May 7, and goes up again to $190 after May 21.  You can sign up and pay online through the FWSA website.  

Additional information about all the programs to be conducted at the 86th Annual Far West Ski Association Convention and registration information is available on the FWSA website HERE.

Be Prepared for Your Winter Mountain Adventures!

By Sue Rimkeit, NWSCC Vice President

With high anticipation, you head off for a fun day in the mountains. However, one mishap could sink your plans. The slogan of the Scouts can save the day: Be Prepared. The following are tips for preparing your car for winter, things to pack in your car, driving tips, and what to do for you and your sports equipment.

Check your snow chains.

Get your car ready for winter. The tuneup should include checking the heater, battery/cables, antifreeze, window washer fluid (below zero, -25º), and winter wiper blades. How are your tires and chains? There are now two kinds of snow tires: studs that can be used in some states, and studless. If your tires have a snowflake, they are snow tires. Your tires need tread – check them. Be sure your chains/cables are in working order, with tighteners. Practice how to install them before you are marooned on a snowy road in a snowstorm! A ground cloth and gloves are handy, and a snowsuit you can shed when you get back in the car. Some other tools that should be in your car are a shovel, jack, lug wrench, Leatherman or similar tool, jumper cable and tow rope. You could end up helping another driver. The following are important safety items: first aid kit, flashlight, flares, bottle of sand/kitty litter (be your own sander), lighter/matches, candle, de-icer, ice scraper, cell phone/charger, whistle, blanket, reflective clothing/vest, long coat/boots, hand and toe warmers, water and food/protein bars.

On the road. Before you depart, have a new map and check road conditions. Be sure to tell a friend where you are going and a timeline. Fill your tank with gas, not you with alcohol. When you are on the road, the following are some safety tips: Leave early or late to avoid the rush, even consider taking a bus. Defense is the offense; others could be out of control. Some potential surprises lurk: ice, black ice, sloping icy pavement, drifts of snow, whiteouts.

The temperature matters. Outside temperature gauges (even after market) are very useful. At 32 degrees and above, mushy wet snow can give you a spin, while your tires will bite better on drier snow at colder temperatures. If you ride the center of your side and the edge, sometimes you get more bite with less fright. The tires of the cars in front of you can give you information; if spraying water it means wet, whereas snow sticking to the tires means it is drier. Leave tailgating for football, not the road. If stopping, be sure to be in full view of other cars and off the road. Use your flares if needed. Do not stop in an avalanche area. Treat the other drivers like you would like to be treated. Remember speed can kill, and also throws gravel and blinding snow. If you are a slow driver, let others pass in a safe place. The story of the tortoise and the hare can apply on the road. An accident or crash costs money, time, pain, suffering, and even death, with no re-do. If there is a traffic stop and blocked road, trying to go around could cause more problems. Waiting your turn is best.

You and your equipment. Your own body and equipment need pre-season preparedness. Have you worked on stretching, strength and cardio? Is your equipment in safe working order and still fits? Your local pro may need to do detail checks. Your outside clothing should be water repellant. You should wear a helmet which fits and has had no previous blows. Hand and toe warmers sure help. Sunglasses and goggles are a must to save your eyes from UV’s, stinging snow, and even low branches if you are in the trees.

Make sure you have helmets that fit you properly.

On the hill. So, you made it to the hill with all of your tuned equipment, fit body and mind. Skiers, like hikers and people who float on water, should have a handy whistle. Your voice does not carry and three blasts means help. In case of an accident or crash on the hill, the involved skiers and witnesses should exchange contact information.
Sooo, with preparedness and consideration of others, all should enjoy the winter...Think Snow!

What's Open in the Northwest

PRESS RELEASE from Pacific Northwest Ski Areas Association
P.O. Box 758, La Conner, WA 98257
Contact: John Gifford, President, 877-533-5520
Release Date: Thursday, December 7, 2017

La Conner, WA – This week’s colder temperatures and abundant sunshine make it a great time to get on the slopes in Pacific Northwest mountains. With the new snow many of region’s resorts will be in operation making great opportunity for skiing and snowboarding with family and friends. Following is a rundown of what will be operating:


49 Degrees North is operating its normal winter schedule, Friday through Tuesday, 9 am-3:20 pm. For the current operations and conditions go to: or contact Eric Bakken, or 509-935-6649 ext. 603.

Crystal Mountainis operating daily from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm with limited operations. For the current operations and conditions go to: or contact Tiana Anderson, 360-663-3012 or

Hurricane Ridge is scheduled to open with 43” of snow on Saturday, December 9. Scheduled operating days are on weekends plus Martin Luther King Jr. Day, President’s Day and the 4 weekdays after Christmas (Dec. 26 - 29). Season ends April 1. For additional details go to

Methow Trails is open for cross-country skiing. For more information on trail grooming and conditions go to or contact James DeSalvo, 509-996-3287.

Mission Ridge reopens Saturday, December 9 and Sunday, December 10, 9 am-4 pm. For up-to-date conditions and operations go to or contact Tony Hickock, or 509-588-9404.

Mt Baker is operating on a normal daily schedule 9 am to 3:30 pm.  For more information go to or contact Amy Trowbridge, or 360-734-6771.

Mt Spokane Ski & Snowboard Park reopens Friday December 8, 9 am to 4 pm. Tube hill opens Saturday December 9 and Night skiing December 15. For more details about operations and conditions go to or contact Brenda McQuarrie, or 509-238-7011.

Stevens Pass Mountain Resort is open for daily operations 9 am to 4 pm. For more operations and conditions information go to or contact Chris Danforth, or 206-812-7856.

The Summit at Snoqualmie is open at Summit West through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more operation and conditions details go to, or contact Guy Lawrence, or 425-434-6728.

White Pass will reopen for daily operations beginning Saturday, December 9, 9 am to 4 pm. Lifts in operation will be 2 surface lifts, Great White, Far East, #4 Chair, and Basin Quad. For conditions and operation updates visit or contact Kathleen Goyette, or 509-945-3189.


Mt Bachelor is open daily 9 am to 4 pm. For more information on operations and conditions go to or contact Drew Jackson, or 541-693-0953.

Mt Hood Meadowsis open daily 9 am to 4 pm. For more about operations and conditions go to or contact Dave Tragethon, or call 971-373-8111.

Mt Hood Skibowl will be open for tubing the upcoming weekend. For current details go to or contact Karen Norton, or 971.274.3165.

Timberline is operating daily from 9am-4pm, conditions permitting. For more details and conditions go to: or contact John Burton,, (503) 272-3345.


Bogus Basin will open a terrain park on the Pepsi Gold Rush Tubing Hill for Saturday, December 2 and Sunday, December 3 from 10 am to 4 pm. The features will include two lines with rails and boxes. Guests will be among the first to use a new 560-foot conveyer lift to transport them up the hill. For more information Nate Shake, or call 208-332-5316.

Lookout Pass is open Thursday, December 7 through Monday, December 11, 9 am to 4 pm. For more information go to or contact Matthew Sawyer, or 208-744-1301.

Schweitzer Mountain Resort is in full seven-day winter operating schedule. More details on operations and conditions at or contact Dig Chrismer, or 208-255-3031.

Silver Mountain Resort will open Saturday, December 9 through Sunday, December 10. For more information on operations or conditions go to or contact Willy Bartlett, or 208-783-1524.


Alyeska Resort will open for the 2017/18 ski season with limited terrain on Saturday, December 9. Lifts and the tram will operate starting at 10:30AM until 5:30PM. Lifts for opening weekend will be determined based on conditions. The Sitzmark will also open at noon on Friday for the season. For more information on operations and conditions go to or contact Ben Napolitano, or 907-382-6579.

Eaglecrest Ski Area will open the Porcupine Chair and the Lower Nordic Trails for the season on Saturday, December 2. The Porcupine Chair will operate from 9:00am – 3:00pm. The Rental Shop will be open and the Snowsports School will be offering lessons. The Eaglecrest Grill and Mountain Lift Coffee will be open. The Lower Nordic Trails will be packed and track set. For more details on operations and conditions go to or contact Jeffra Clough,, 907-790-2000 x219.


Whitefish Mountain Resort begins its 70th Winter Season this Thursday, December 7 with the newly relocated Chair 5 lift operating among the six lifts, chairs 1, 5, 6, 7, 11 and T-Bar 2, operating to access 29 runs at the top of the mountain. Downloading on Chair 1 will be required. Chair 1 will be open for uploading 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. There will not be any terrain open to ski down to the Base Lodge, so the resort will provide shuttles to transport guests between the Lift Plaza and Base Lodge as well as lower mountain parking lots. Food & Beverage services will be 100 percent open as well as the Kids Center & Daycare, intermediate lessons at the Ski & Ride School equipment rentals and retail shops. For more details on conditions and mountain operations visit or contact Christina “Riley” Polumbus or 406-862-1948.

Many of the resorts in the Northwest are evaluating their current snow depths and watching the weather forecasts to determine when they will be opening. PNSAA will send updates as more resorts announce their opening dates. For the most up-to-date information on your favorite resort, please visit their website.

# # #

The Pacific Northwest Ski Areas Association is a non-profit trade association, which represents the interests of 35 ski and snowboard facilities located in Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Idaho, Montana, and California. The Association’s member ski areas – most of which operate on public land – collectively host an estimated 5.1 million visits annually. For additional information on Pacific Northwest skiing and snowboarding, contact the PNSAA office at (877) 533-5520, or visit to link to the website of your favorite mountain.

Why Do We Ski?

By Asit Rathod

I thought my two hundredth ski down from the 11,239 foot summit of Oregon‘s crown jewel, Mount Hood, would have been a little different. It was a peaceful day with no wind, and the sun was shining down on me. Walking towards the summit I broke down and began to cry from the flood of emotions. I started thinking back on the years since my first summit and was amazed at what surfaced.

Sitting on the summit I could only remember less than a dozen epic ski descents out of two hundred. So the question hit me hard .... “Why have I kept coming back to this place so often if it wasn‘t about the skiing?” The tears slowly began turning into uncontrollable laughter as the memories of all the wild and special times came flooding back. In that moment it all made sense: it was never about summiting or the skiing.

The fact is I must have over five to six hundred times skiing from high on Mt. Hood. I have always followed two cardinal rules in the alpine: (1) safety, and (2) fun and happiness.
If neither of these rules are met, I‘m back at my car heading home to spend time with my loved ones.

Good friends enjoying two feet of fresh snow from the summit down Leuthold's Couloir (Photo: Asit Rathod)

Soaking in the sun that special day, I remembered the first time a climber was really mean to me for bringing my skis to the summit, because he felt it was dangerous and he would have to rescue me if I got hurt. I remembered skiing the north side naked for the first time just because I could. I remembered bringing up a stuffed Boobie Bird for the son of my love because he wanted his Boobie to get to the summit. I remembered watching a boy named Bryce become a man before my eyes while spreading the ashes of his father Mark Cartier, one of the greatest climbers I've ever known, on the summit. I remembered spreading the ashes of too many friends taken before their time. I remembered every smile of every friend who came with me to the summit for their first time. I remembered the faces of every friend who told me while standing on the summit that this was one of the greatest days of their lives.

We all go to the mountains for many different reasons. It can be to escape the humdrum of day to day life. It can be we are searching to understand ourselves just a little better. It can be to feel, just for a moment, like a superhero. It can be that we need to find a bit of happiness when it feels like the darkness of life is winning the battle.


Black McCoy coming through the Pearly Gates just shy of the summit (Photo: Asit Rathod)

What I know is the evolution of skiing and mountaineering has led us to this moment. It is no longer about being the first, the fastest, or who's done it the most often. It is about being like an artist entering the mountains with fluidity and harmony – matching the vibrations of this moment in our life with the alpine. We must respect the time we have been given by pushing the human spirit into places that once lived in our dreams. The Dali Lama has been asked many times “What is the meaning of life? He has always smiled and said “Happiness.” So what I do know now on my two hundredth summit that I did not know on my first is that we go to the mountains to find our happiness, because the future is beautiful, my friends.

About the author:
Asit Rathod grew up skiing on Mount Hood from the age of 5 He is a “suit” by day, but a big mountain athlete at heart. Asit spent 5 years skiing and climbing 200+ days a year between Chamonix, France and Las Lenas, Argentina. Having skied from Mt. Hood’s 11,239 foot summit over 210 times, he can be considered the snow sports ambassador to the state of Oregon. Asit works for Findlay of Wilsonville. He is a product ambassador for Volkl skis, TREW clothing, Zeal Optics, IceBreaker, and Naked Winery.

The Importance of Wearing a Helmet when Skiing

By Deanna Power


For most skiers, mountains are some of the most relaxing or thrilling places in the world. Unfortunately, skiing can be a dangerous activity as well. Accidents happen to even the most experienced skiers, and while most don’t result in fatal or even severe injuries, you’ll want to do all you can to protect yourself from potential harm. One of the easiest ways to protect yourself is by wearing a helmet. A good helmet can go a long way toward keeping you safe.

Ski Helmets and Visibility Concerns

Some good news is that more than 90% of children wear helmets when skiing, according to the National Ski Areas Association (NSAA). Because children aren’t usually as skilled as adult skiers, this data shows parents are building a good foundation for safe skiing in the future.

The percentage of skiers who wear helmets drops into adulthood. Many adults mistakenly believe a ski helmet will reduce visibility and subsequently reaction time. People who believe this think a helmet would make accidents more likely.

Studies conducted by NSAA and Johns Hopkins University, among others, prove that nothing could be further from the truth. A proper ski helmet is designed and fitted in such a way that it doesn’t affect your vision. Instead, a ski helmet will greatly reduce the chances of a serious head injury.

Ski Accidents and Helmet Benefits

Head traumas can range from mild to severe and include everything from cuts, bumps, bruises, and concussions, all the way up to skull fractures or a traumatic brain injury. Even taking a light tumble against hard packed snow can cause injury to the head, which is why a helmet is such an important piece of any skier’s gear.

The most common head traumas that happen on the slopes are the less severe ones, and while these kinds of injuries are generally less frightening, they are nonetheless preventable in many cases. The New York Times reports that the increased use of ski helmets has reduced the incidence of skull fractures by as much as 50% in recent years.


Helmets are Catching On and Making a Difference

According to NSAA, in 2003 only about one quarter of all recreational skiers wore helmets. By 2013, the average helmet use at ski areas in the U.S. was up about 45%, with nearly 70% of skiers reporting regular use.

Although the greater number of people wearing helmets hasn’t decreased how frequently head injuries happen, it has lessened how many of those injuries are severe in nature. This is true especially for skull fractures and subdural hematomas, or bruising and bleeding inside the skull.

According to a 2011 study published in News Medical Journal, 5% of helmet wearers suffered skull fractures, as opposed to nearly 37% of non-helmeted skiers. Helmet use additionally influenced the severity of the fracture type, with non-helmeted skiers experienced a more dangerous, depressed skull fracture at rates about 60% higher those who wore helmets.

Other Safety Considerations

The benefits of helmet use have been the subject of significant debate for a number of years. Proponents note increased safety and a reduction in the number of severe injuries; while others worry skiers will take greater risks, believing helmets alone will protect them.

Although it may be true that some helmet wearers take greater risks, these same people are generally risk takers in all aspects of life, according to leading ski safety expert, Dr. Jasper Shealy of the Rochester Institute of Technology. The most severe injuries often occur with people who live a high-risk lifestyle and are equally likely to be severely injured while driving a car, riding a bike, or just crossing the street.

It’s also true that helmets can’t take the place of skier caution and attentiveness. After all, they aren’t a license to act irresponsibly when skiing, any more than wearing a seat belt while operating a car or truck is a license for reckless driving. When combined with a solid ski safety routine, helmets certainly make skiing a more enjoyable and safer experience.

Although helmets can’t stop all accidents from happening, they add to overall safety and cut down on the incidence of head injuries. They take nothing away from your appearance or your performance and don’t compromise vision or reaction time. When you weigh the evidence, there’s really no reason to take the chance of suffering a head trauma, particularly when quality ski helmets are so widely available on the market these days.

*This article was not written by a legal professional, and it is always up to you as to whether or not you wish to wear a helmet! Just keep in mind that helmets may save lives.

About the author:  Deanna Power works for Personal Injury Help , an independent organization located in Boston, providing people with the resources they need to protect their legal rights. She grew up riding the bunny slopes in central Maine. If you have any questions on this article, feel free to reach out to her at

NWSCC/PACRAT Election Results 2017-2018

New officers of NWSCC for the 2017-2018 year were elected at the June 21 meeting, as follows: 

President:  Barbara Bousum; Vice President:  Sue Rimkeit; Secretary:  Jeanne Reinhardt; Treasurer:  Bill King.  In addition, two Directors at Large were elected:  Chris Ciardi and Linda McGavin.  Further Directors will be appointed by the President with the approval of the new Board. 

PACRAT elections were also held, and the following officers were elected to the PACRAT board for the 2017-2018 year:  President:  Andy Hobart; Vice President:  Geoff Mihalko; Secretary:  Dan Lane; Treasurer:  Virginia Collison; Sponsorship:  Sandra Volk; Membership: Amanda Moran; Party Director:  Sylvia Kearns; Race Director:   Greg Dilger; Results Director:  Dale Parshall.  

The Mt. Hood Community Mourns the Death of Mike Heffernan

By Ben Jacklet
Excerpted from Ben Jacklet’s articles in

Mike Heffernan shredding Mount Hood. Photo by Randy Boverman

Mike Heffernan shredding Mount Hood. Photo by Randy Boverman

Mount Hood’s one and only Mike Heffernan died on Friday, August 19, 2016, after suffering severe injuries in a motorcycle crash on Mt. Hood. He was 53.

Mike was a lifelong ski racer, an enthusiastic motorcyclist, a retired cop and a dedicated family man with an edgy sense of humor and a profound sense of loyalty. He is survived by his children Mac and Kennedy, his sister Colleen, his brother Tim, his parents Sheila and Mike, Sr. and a large community of friends and family.

Mike Heffernan grew up skiing on Mount Hood with his sister Colleen and his brother Tim and got deep into racing at Sun Valley in Idaho during high school. He graduated from Eastern Oregon State College in 1987 before embarking on a career in law enforcement, serving with the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office for more than 20 years.

Mike developed Young Onset Parkinson’s disease in his early 40s, but even after he retired from law enforcement he refused to give up the adrenaline-fueled activities that he loved. He continued to finish among the top racers in Schnee Vogeli Ski Club races, reveled in his epic motorcycle adventures, and tied for first in this year’s Ski to Defeat ALS vertical challenge at Mt. Hood Meadows. In winning the 2016 vertical challenge he skied nearly 60,000 feet in six hours while contending not only with his Parkinson’s, but also with a brutal bone spur on his foot that would later require surgery. He skied with intensity to win that trophy, and I am willing to bet that anyone who rode the lift with him that day remembers him vividly.

Mike was fascinated by the phenomenon that his Parkinson’s seemed to vanish at high speeds, enabling him to ski at 50 miles an hour or race his motorcycle at 120 miles an hour on the same day that he would freeze up so badly while just standing there that he would sometimes fall backwards and need help to get back up. Often he would catch his symptoms before they incapacitated him, and break into a vigorous run or calisthenics to fend them off. People sometimes thought he was joking or putting on an act, but he insisted it was real.

“When I can’t walk I can run,” he told me once. “As long as I am active, as long as I am using my mind and looking ahead and mentally interested in what’s going on, I have no symptoms. I can ride seven hours, eight hours, no problem.” 

Mike believed that downhill racing is “the most exhilarating thing you can do on skis,” which helps explain why he could still rip it in his 50s, with Parkinson’s.  Arcing a skid-free turn at high speed was embedded in his muscle memory, Parkinson's or no.

The Heffernan family asks that any donations be sent to Rock Steady Boxing, a Parkinson's support group made possible by Kimberly Berg, at 21983 S Sailing Rd, Estacada, OR97023, in honor of Michael V. Heffernan, Jr.

Rest in peace, Mike. We will miss you.

Excerpted from Ben Jacklet’s August 23, 2016 article in

Ben wrote an earlier article about Mike, and what it is like to get Parkinson’s when you are young, what that disease takes away, and how people adapt and keep moving, sometimes in surprising ways. It is also a story about the importance of community.

NWSCC and PACRAT Elections June 21!


Join the leadership of the Council – serving on the board of directors is a great way to get involved in club, council, and Far West Ski Association activities. The board is made up of members from different clubs in NWSCC -- bringing a variety of style and experience to the Council. All officer positions are open for one-year terms. The following officers will be voted upon at the June 21, 2017 meeting (location TBA). Each club has one vote, and each person can only vote on behalf of one club.

President: Head of the Council Executive Board; presides over meetings; assigns duties to Board members.

Vice President: Assumes duties of the president when needed and handles other duties as assigned.

Treasurer: Responsibility for Council financials.

Secretary: Records Council minutes and correspondence as needed; keeps corporate records.

At-Large Director (two positions): Duties as assigned by the President. [Other directors will be appointed by the elected Board to fill the slate.]

See the NWSCC bylaws (click HERE) for complete job descriptions.

Time involved: Quarterly Council meetings; a monthly board meeting; other duties as assigned or as you volunteer to work on.

If interested, please contact Sue Rimkeit ( for more information or to put your name on the ballot. We need your input and support, and want YOU to consider serving on the Board! PLEASE PASS THIS INFORMATION ON TO YOUR FELLOW CLUB MEMBERS.


PACRAT elections will also be held at the June 21 meeting; the following are elected positions for the PACRAT Board:

✶ President

✶ Vice President

✶ Secretary

✶ Treasurer

✶ Party Director

✶ Sponsorship Director

✶ Director of Results

✶ Director of Racing

✶ Director of Membership

Also on the Board, but NOT elected, is the Immediate Past President. Appointed Positions are Director at Large - Chief Rat Patrol and Director at Large - General.

If you are interested in running for a PACRAT Board position for 2017-2018, please contact Andy Hobart at Please provide information on what position you would like to run for and why you are interested in doing so. He will be assembling the ballot. You will need to be at the meeting to say a few words about why you'd like to run and what you plan to do, or have someone else show up and speak on your behalf.

Who votes in PACRAT Elections?

The clubs must decide on who gets to vote for the club teams. Usually it is the Team Captains, but in cases where there are more teams than votes available, only the number of votes designated for that club may be cast. ALL team captains CAN be there to caucus, but your club can only cast the proper number of votes.

✶ Mountain High 5 votes

✶ Cascade 3 votes

✶ Skiyente 2 votes

✶ Schnee Vogeli 2 votes

✶ Bergfreunde 1 vote