Eaglecrest Ski Area reopens on Saturday

Snow is thin, but ample enough to ski on, according to officials

Posted: Friday, February 21, 2003

Despite thin snow on some trails, the Eaglecrest Ski Area will resume operations Saturday.

The foot of snow at the base near the lodge, 5 feet on top of the mountain and 18 to 24 inches on most trails are enough to let skiers and snowboarders back on the slopes, said Eaglecrest Ski and Snowboard School Director Jeffra Clough.

"It's not as much as we hoped for but it's enough," Clough said today.

Eaglecrest opened for a short time around New Year's Day, but closed when rain and warm weather melted much of the snow. The area's Platter Pull lift, at the beginners' hill, has been open for free the past three weekends.

All three lifts - Platter Pull, Ptarmigan and Hooter - will be open starting Saturday, said Eaglecrest Business Manager Gary Mendivil.

"Some trails may be closed and the west and center part of the mountain are currently rated as double black diamond in difficulty," he said. Double black diamond means experts only.

Clough, who skied much of the mountain Thursday, said the easier trails in the area's East Bowl are usable. But she said skiers and boarders should consider their abilities before trying trails in the area's West Bowl, which will be gated.

"What little snow we have is good skiing. It's just that we don't have a lot. There's stumps and bumps on the runs," she said.

Snow is too thin for the tubing hill or terrain park to open.

The National Weather Service forecasts cold weather for the weekend with snow possible early next week.

Assuming snow levels stay the same or improve, Eaglecrest will operate on its usual Thursday-to-Monday schedule, Clough said. School groups are scheduled to begin coming up to the area Thursday, she said.

Lack of snow led Eaglecrest's board this week to announce refunds or credits for season-pass holders. Skiers and boarders can return passes through the close of business Wednesday and receive a 75 percent refund. Or they can keep the pass and receive a 40 percent refund.

Anyone using a pass to access the slopes before Wednesday automatically receives the lower refund, Clough said.

"Once they come up and use that season pass they agree to that 40 percent," she said.

Hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Sunday or Monday. For more information, call 586-5284, 790-2000 or check www.skijuneau.com.

Ed Schoenfeld can be reached at eschoenfeld@juneauempire.com.



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