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Steep and Cheap: Skiing Hoodoo under the lights 

click to enlarge Adam Sather shreds it up under the lights.
  • Adam Sather shreds it up under the lights.
Adam Sather shreds it up under the lights.
Nightlife in the winter can sometimes seem one-dimensional. The music scene grows a bit stagnant; the bar crawl can bring on fits of déj vu. Most of winter's allure derives from the prospect of hitting the slopes, and it's an activity that many of us partake in regularly.But even with as much skiing as we do, night skiing is a pastime mostly unfamiliar to us Bendites. Mt. Bachelor being so close, most of us would probably rather hit the hill early the next day than make the trip to Hoodoo, Ski Bowl or Mt. Hood Meadows.

Like most great ideas, my decision to drive to Hoodoo was made on a whim. A particularly nasty day-after-Christmas storm and low visibility sent us home early from Mt. Bachelor still hungry for a few more turns. With the snow still falling, we loaded up the car, popped in our clear lenses and took off to Hoodoo's opening night. About an hour later we pulled into the parking lot, quickly threw on our gear and rushed off to meet our friends who were already enjoying the heavy and steady extra-light snowfall.

We came with a crew running at least 15 deep and local shredder Curtis Csizek was sending it off damn near everything. Something about the night changes the riding dynamic. It might be the low light or the camaraderie, but even the simple act of making turns is more fun.

Sometimes with the behemoth Bachelor only 20 miles away we tend to forget about Hoodoo. Tiny by comparison, Bachelor offering 3,365 vertical feet to Hoodoo's 1,035, the mountain more than makes up for its vertical feet by being steep and cheap. The lifts are a little slow and the run selection is a pretty limited, but there are some seriously fun cliffs just off the runs, and your chances of getting bogged down in deep snow are far smaller than riding at Bachelor. One advantage of the slower lifts is fewer riders on the hill at one time giving you a better chance of catching that untracked line.

The 411

Hoodoo has been a ski resort since the 1940s when Ed Thurston of Bend began construction on the area. The area gets its name from the steep cliffs and rock formations (hoodoos) next to the resort called Hayrick, which actually refers to the butte Hoodoo sits on. Somewhere along the line the two names were switched. Chuck Shepard of Eugene purchased the resort in 1999 and has made continuous improvements to the area, including a new base lodge and a re-energized attitude about mountain services. Hoodoo has night skiing every Friday and Saturday night through March 28. Adult night tickets are $22 through January 4 and $20 after, but Hoodoo offers several pricing options based on age and how long you plan to ski.

If you go, take Highway 20 past Suttle Lake and look for the sign. Nighttime temperatures can drop significantly so bring extra layers and cash for warm-up drinks at the bar.

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