Although winter only officially began today, its weather has been hanging around Mount Hood and the Columbia River Gorge for a while now.

As of Tuesday, Mt. Hood Meadows Ski Resort had received nearly 160 inches of snow so far this season and was boasting of a mid-mountain depth of 105 inches — 66 inches at the resort’s base area. More snow was forecast to fall on Meadows’ trails later this week.

With sustained snowfall, Meadows has been able to open lifts earlier than usual and the resort’s lone holdout, Heather Canyon, which accesses expert-level terrain on the mountain, opened late last week to the delight of powder-hounds. Meadows reported on the resort’s blog that it was “one of the earliest openings ever” for that area of the mountain.

For those looking for a little less challenging terrain, Cooper Spur Ski Area opened on Friday and is open every day through Jan. 1 for the holidays. The resort, which has 50 acres of beginner and intermediate terrain, will then return to its usual operating schedule: 4-8 p.m. on Fridays and 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Cooper Spur is also open on Martin Luther King Jr. Day (Jan. 16), President’s Day (Feb. 20) and daily during Oregon spring break week (March 27 - April 2). For more information on hours and amenities, go to

The snow has also been piling up at the Nordic trails at Teacup Lake, with cold and clear conditions drawing many visitors to the ski area last weekend. Skiers can keep up to date with grooming information and conditions on Teacup Lake Nordic Club’s Facebook page (search for “Teacup Lake Nordic Club” on Facebook).

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