Jan. 18, 2021

Another great weekend at Hoodoo. Martin Luther King, Jr., has always been one of my heroes and ever since I have tried to renovate Hoodoo, his weekend has especially been appreciated. At least it sure brings out a lot of families. I think now we should have winter weekends for a couple more of my heroes, Leo Tolstoy and Mahatma Gandhi. What peaceful and busy weekends those would be! 

I once again want to emphasis that if you want to be sure to park near the lodge try to arrive before 9 am. Parking is not a problem on Wednesdays and Fridays, but on some Thursdays we are parking vehicles in the Autobahn parking by 11 AM. It is not a long way away from the mountain but it can be confusing to those of you who are new to Hoodoo. Every Saturday and some Sundays so far, has meant that the main parking area has been full by 10 am. People then start parking on the USFS road that leads from Hwy 20 to Hoodoo and Ray Benson. If you park on the right side of the road between our front gate and the Autobahn Parking lot, that is our parking and a Sno-Park permit is not needed. But if you park on the access road as you come in, you should have a permit and you could get a ticket without one. If you arrive when our lot is full you are encouraged to drop off your family and come back later. You are always welcome to drop off. If the parking lot guys (which could include me) stop you to tell you about the nearest parking, just let them know that you want to drop off. That is fine with us, but do not stop in the roads in the parking lot to drop off, you could make others think that either behind you or to the side of you is a parking spot. That can cause huge problems. Just drive right up to the side of the lodge or under the covering at the front door and drop off as fast as you can. Please follow the arrows as you drive through.

Speaking of the Autobahn Tubing Park, we have put off its opening until Jan. 29 because even though the snow has been adequate for skiing and boarding, we need more to groom the tube area properly with several trails. If we do not get more snow soon we may have to put off the opening there even longer. It might be time to start praying for snow.

Many of you may be interested in knowing that we at Hoodoo are ever searching for ways to make our ski area better. We are currently in the process of opening a retail store in Sisters where guests can get their rentals, tickets or Hoodoo clothing without standing in line on the mountain, while the lifts turn without them. We are working out the final details but if things go well we hope to be open by the end of January on the main street of Sisters.

Do not read the following if you still think Chuck is a good guy

Politicians last week had a chance to finally do something intelligent and strengthening for our country. After berating Trump in a discussion about impeachment (Can you blame them? What Never-Trumper could resist that?), they could have taken the high road and said it is time to move on. The historic move would have been to vote against impeachment while at the same time telling us that their desire to unite the country was more important than any effort to insult the guy who has been their arch enemy for over four years. 

Some friends said to me recently that Trump will go down in history as the worst president ever and I think after considering all that has happened since the election, perhaps he has been the worst, but after the way the Democrats have acted, I believe there is no way history will treat him that way. History will remember the Russian fiasco and then remember that perhaps the election was rigged (it won’t matter that there was no clear evidence) and finally history will teach its students about the effort to insult the President as he was leaving office. History will teach its students that the House could have taken the high road and that perhaps would have prevented the hard feelings that will now continue for many years. Thus, we have been assured that Trump’s legacy will not be as a joke or a travesty but rather he will be seen as a martyr to a cause. Nice going country leaders. Well at least you got to be first in line for your vaccines.

I hope by now you understand that in order to get the full meaning from my pithy and discerning comments you must read between the lines. There are many levels of insight that can be found by the astute reader.

So, in my effort to run for the leadership of our state, I will take on some of the most difficult subjects that most politicians avoid (because they are really hoping to get elected). The first for this week is abortion.

I don’t think that anyone who is thinking clearly can deny that woman should have control over their own bodies. Some old white guys should not be making the rules that tell women whether they should give birth or not.
Well what do you know Chuck is a progressive after all!
But anyone who has watched Nova on PBS has seen how embryos turn into babies quickly in their mother’s wombs. To terminate the life of one of these precious souls must be murder.
I knew Chuck was really a conservative. We can depend upon him!
In order to find a solution to this very difficult conundrum, we must think outside the box with a solution that no previous politician has voiced. It is time to outlaw sex outside of marriage or even within marriage unless you sign a document telling your upcoming kids that you will devote everything you have to them just as they will expect in a few years.
Wait a minute Chuck is crazy after all. No wonder Hoodoo tries to keep him in the parking lot away from making any decisions.
But how can we prevent this unlawful sex? A smart politician solves two problems at one time. While it looks like the country wants to defund the police, I suggest that rather than paying unemployment to these out of work troopers, we instead pay them to overview our sexual activities or proposed lack thereof.
Maybe Chuck is crazy enough to be a politician! But can we really trust him to tell us where to park?
Of course, I think we should allow them to keep their guns, and then they will become known as the Sex Pistols.
All right, a reference for old people, but that was a lot of work for a pretty stupid joke!
Seriously, regardless of this or other clever solutions I have for political problems, the answer to our country’s problems does not rest with our politicians or the members of our country’s swamp. We, you and I, have and are the answer. Don’t worry about what other people think and do, be your best and treat others the way you would like to be treated. And most importantly ski or board at Hoodoo.

See you on the slopes,

Chuck Shepard
Owner 
Hoodoo Ski Area

Jan. 11, 2021

Announcement

With much regret and after many days of contemplation and many hours of discussion with my dog, my parrot and Mark Zuckerberg, we at Hoodoo have decided that we will no longer allow posts from President Trump, President Biden or any other politicians other than the guy from Hoodoo who is running for governor of Oregon. I am sorry that things have reached this point, but this is an absolute final decision unless I change my mind later. By the way there is a rumor that both Facebook and Twitter are planning to ban me if I ever figure out how to get on those sites. 

Ski Information

January at Hoodoo has continued on in a way similar to December. We have had some new snow almost every day along with some bluebird days of sun over new snow. The holidays meant crowded parking lots almost every day we were open and January has continued on in a similar pattern.

Of course, we are now closed on Mondays and Tuesdays except holidays like MLK Weekend Monday, Jan. 18, and President’s Day Weekend Monday, Feb. 15. On those Mondays we will be open from 9 am – 4 pm. Our first open day of a normal week like this last week starts on Wednesday. The two days off on Monday and Tuesday gives our employees and management alike a chance to recover from our mostly 12 hour days. Wednesdays are normally a very slow day and season pass holders especially or any others who want to avoid any type of line or crowd are especially encouraged to come up on this day. Next comes Thrifty Thursdays. Many of our guests have told us that their work hours have been adjusted so that they can come up on this day. I had a doctor’s appointment recently and upon finding out that I owned Hoodoo, he told me that his clinic in Eugene is not open on Thursdays so that they can take advantage of Thrifty Thursday.

The Hoodoo Regulars coming up on Thursdays, though, will find that they are not the only ones that enjoy skiing or boarding for only $25. This last Thursday we parked about a thousand cars as opposed to about 200 on Wednesday and 300 on Friday. Wednesdays and Fridays are the days to avoid the crowds. Saturdays, especially when we have sun after new snow, can get a little crazy. We often, like on this last Saturday, will have the parking lots, including the Autobahn area, full before 10 am. For some people this means parking on the access road (remember to buy Sno-Park Permits before coming up). If you don’t like to carry skis for up to 3/4 miles or more, you really want to get to Hoodoo on a good weather Saturday before 10 am or arrive after 1:30-2 pm when people start to leave. We are open, except Sundays, until 9 pm, so even if you arrive at 2 pm, you still have 7 hours of fun in front of you. Sundays can also be crowded early. This Sunday we were parked up to the gate by 11 am, but try to arrive before 10 then too.

If you need to buy a daily lift ticket or rent equipment, you may need to deal with a line first. The lines go fast but they appear daunting. If you want this to be easy, know that there is a separate window and a possible line for the rental of boards, there are doors in the center of the lodge near the lifts to rent skis, and four windows at the corner of the lodge to buy lift tickets. If you have a lesson or someone in your family has one, skip these lines and go to the lesson window first. They will help you with your tickets and rentals (rentals for other family members may have to go to the ski or board area). Both the ski and board rental areas will be able to sell you lift tickets as well. Another secret spot where you can buy lift tickets (and might be able to skip any lines) is at the window outside the retail shop. It is located near the center of the front of the lodge. Most people are not aware of that spot (until now).

If you have AnyCards that you are using to pay for your tickets, there will often be someone out along the line giving you a ticket while punching your card. You can usually skip the ticket line with him by also paying cash. He can handle cash or AnyCards, but not credit cards. However, the four windows will make a long line in footage into a short line in time. You can get AnyCards by ordering enough ahead online so that we have time to send them to you or buy them at Bergs in Eugene or Peak in Corvallis. The cards will save you money as well as time.

One final caution, we have recently run out of snowboard boots for the more popular midsizes. This last Saturday, over 100 boards were promised with lessons. On days like Saturdays, you may want to go to your local ski shop to get your rentals, especially boards. We are working on this problem as well. Hoodoo is looking at a few off-mountain sites where we might be able to rent you equipment before you head to the mountain. We are considering our options at these sites now.

Another issue might also be that we are opening the Autobahn for tubing starting Friday, Jan. 22. Starting on that day, most of the Autobahn parking will be taken by tubers. If you are a family that just wants to play in the snow or someone who wants to snowshoe, I recommend the nearby Ray Benson Sno-Park. It is set up for that type of activity while we are not. Also there is a tubing hill across the highway from Hoodoo’s highway entrance. You may want to consider that area for tubing especially before Jan. 22.

 

Warning: The following is political BS that mostly isn’t even funny!

I found it interesting this last week when some crazies decided that it was a clever move to try to take over the U.S. Capitol building. After a day of protesting about items that most of the media was trying to tell them was “baseless,” they decided to protest anyway because for some strange reason they didn’t believe CNN, MSNBC or my favorite NPR. It appears that the politicians and media thought this protest was about the worst thing that happened in America since 1812. During the War in Vietnam, I eventually had a status of conscientious objector and refused to fight even though I started off in the US Navy. You Hoodoo Regulars who have decided that I am a conservative may be surprised about that. I protested during that war and would have been happy to occupy the capital if it had been done in a peaceful manner. However, as I recall there was a lot of violence at that protest as well, but I did not participate in that part. And I was not happy about the violence shown then either.

But I do not honestly see the difference between last week’s occupation and the much longer and more violent ones in Portland and Seattle other than, surprise, surprise, it was the politicians and media who felt threatened in DC. After all this violence did not happen in some far-away place that most easterners can’t even find on a map, this mayhem was in their very own much more important place, Washington, DC. Although unlike the incident in OUR state, I don’t think the protestors were looting or robbing or for the most part even threatening anyone (still a lot of politicians felt threatened and some even told of harrowing stories where they felt they had to hid under their walnut desks). I sometimes think that the media feels like Oregon is off in some obscure place and what happens here isn’t all that important. With the protest in Portland, I understood many of the marchers demands and I empathized with much of it, but the violence later reminded me of my day when some protestors (IDIOTS) protested the violence of the war by throwing rocks at the police. What happened in DC, we are told though was monumentally much worse. But I don’t see the difference in the violence from East to the West except it was the politicians who felt threatened this time. In Portland it was Oregonians and Oregon businesses that were threatened and in my mind, that obviously is much worse. RIGHT!

So why does this nonsense seem to be going on? Well besides the obvious answer that we are being governed by egotistical crazy people like Trump and Pelosi, the real reason, like with most problems, is that life is governed by economic principles as was pointed out in a great book written a few years ago called “Freakonomics”. The authors in that book made the very interesting determination that almost everything can be explained by basic Economics 101 principles, especially supply and demand. When supply and demand get out of line, problems result. For instance, when there is a lack of supply of rental homes, whatever the reason, the cost of rent can go way up. When a huge overabundance of guests show up for Thrifty Thursday, normal ski area owners stop charging crazy low fees. (Good thing Hoodoo is not normal and Thrifty Thursdays will live on anyway).

Thanks to the extreme overabundance of cable news and social media (like Chuck’s Page) the demand for political crazy rhetoric has far exceeded the supply of the rhetoric provided even with the outrageous people we have in charge. Every little detail gets analyzed and picked apart ad infinitum and ad nauseum. Things are so bad that even a guy whose only ability is running an organized parking lot, thinks he should be part of the fray. I am a little surprised that I haven’t been asked to be on one of the national cable networks yet. I know the supply of hypocrisy is abundant on its own, but with the media thrown in, the demand causes inflation of this nonsense and chaos is the result.

Jan. 4, 2021
Update: Mr President, you won by a landslide? Clearly my comedy doesn’t compare to yours. Meanwhile my anger is still aimed at the media which claims there is no evidence that anything was done wrong in this election. Finally my promise is that if I do not win the governor’s election in a landslide, I will not complain or call for a protest regardless of how hurt or surprised you will be that I lost.



After the busiest December that I ever remember at Hoodoo, we are looking forward to a continuation of good weather, some new snow almost each day and a mid-month opening of our Autobahn Tubing Park. We expect the Autobahn and the adjoining sledding area to be open Friday, Jan. 22. Until then the best, place to play in the snow is at the nearby Ray Benson Sno Park. The best place to get in some steep sledding and tubing is directly across from our entry at the highway at the USFS Sno-Park.

Many of you remarked that you have never seen Hoodoo this busy. We assume that most of the crowds have something to do with the COVID pandemic and the need to get out, but there are other factors involved at other ski areas that seem to be drawing more skiers and boarders to Hoodoo than ever. In the month of December, we had more skier visits (the measure of how a ski area is doing) than what Hoodoo used to do in a whole year before the year 2000 (when I bought it). It has been great for us, but at the same time, very frustrating. I am sure it’s been frustrating for you too as you try to deal with the crowds without, for the most part, being able to access the lodge. However, the situation has given us some good ideas for the future. When we can eventually re-open the lodge, we may keep serving food and drink through windows to the outdoors and the Ski & Ride School might keep functioning near the lesson area with the help of the tent in front to make lessons more available. We did expand our parking spaces by a couple hundred two years ago, and this off season, we will try to reorganize the RV hookups and parking between the lodge and the Autobahn. This should give us more RV hookups without taking away parking from cars and trucks. We are also considering using some day only parking reservations near the lesson area to make it easier to get to your lessons on time.

 

During this 2020-21 season, we expect each of the weekends to be fairly crowded. This will be especially true with the upcoming Martin Luther King weekend  in two weeks and President’s Weekend coming later (we will not be having Winter Carnival for the first time in around a half century). Please plan accordingly. On Wednesday through Saturday, we will have night skiing, which means that you can still get in a long day on the slopes if you arrive in the afternoon. But on Saturdays and Sundays, the parking has gone up to a half mile out our Highway 20 access road. If you think this is possible for you, it would be smart to buy a Sno-Park permit before coming up to Hoodoo in order to park on the access road legally. We do not sell Sno-Park permits at Hoodoo, but click here to buy them online. 

On NYE Day our parking lot was full by 10 am. By 11 am, we were discouraging people from visiting us that day. By 1 pm, enough people were leaving the lot that new arrivals could once again find a parking spot. Be aware that, depending upon the weather, if you are coming up on a Saturday or Sunday, especially MLK Weekend, you should arrive either before 10 am or after 1 pm to be able to park in our lot. Those with RVs should arrive before 9 am or after 4 pm, otherwise there is a chance we may ask you to wait at Ray Benson Sno-Park. It could be too crowded to get you in.

 

(Don’t bother to read the rest unless you have time to waste). Last week a very nice Hoodoo regular (aren’t they all?) stopped me in the parking lot and gave me a Christmas present. It seems he had made two T-shirts for me. One of the shirts said “Make the Mountain Great Again” and the other said “Chuck Shepard for Governor.” He felt that since I seemed to have so many ideas about how to make the state and the world better, that I should run for governor. (I could be first in line for my vaccine if I won!) And since guys who make T shirts for a hobby tend to have their fingers on the pulse of the political trends, I thought I should think about this seriously. We weren’t sure when the next vote for governor will happen, so I thought I should start my campaign now, just in case.

 

So, we did a quick poll to determine the sense in all of this. The results were close,1,964,546 for anyone other than me and 1 for Chuck. I figured at this point, most people probably were not willing to admit that they favored me and so this skewed the vote. It was close enough so that I am planning on going to the next step of informing you about how I would make this state great again.

 

First let me tell you about some of the books that I have read that have had an important influence on me (the rest of this paragraph is honest). This information is especially important for you millennials who most likely are not reading this page anyway, but I thought I would make an effort. Over the years I have read many great books, my favorite is “War and Peace,” but this short list is about three books that I believe anyone who wants to have a clear view of life should read. The first is one that has been discussed so much recently that it has become almost trite, but read it anyway. That book is “1984” by George Orwell. If you haven’t read it you are missing a very enlightened understanding of what life, especially our political life, is bringing us. The second was an influential book in the late 50s and early 60s, “Atlas Shrugged” by a woman way ahead of her time, Ayn Rand. She gives you an idea of what could come after “1984”. The third book isn’t exactly political but is one of the books that has been very inspiring to me. It was written by one of the greatest Americans of the 19 century and perhaps of any time, Booker T Washington. If you don’t instantly know who this is, you need to go back to your American History teacher and make sure he or she is fired. The book he wrote that had such an impact on me was “Up From Slavery”. Before you automatically vote against me, I hope you will read these three books and then realize that these books and my taking a lot of illegal psychedelic drugs is a good explanation of where I am coming from. (However, that was in my past, I stopped drinking, except Diet Dr. Pepper, and gave up any nonprescription drugs of any sort 45 years ago, thus my ability to still function).

 

Over the next few Chuck‘s Pages, I will try to give you my solutions for various problems that we are having, that is assuming no one runs me over in the parking lot first. 

 

See you on the slopes,

Chuck Shepard
Owner
Hoodoo Ski Area

Dec. 28, 2020
This is a letter of apology. I am not sure I am the one to blame, but I do know a lot of people were disappointed and even mad today. By 9:45 am, our parking lot including the distant Autobahn portion, was full. By 10 am, after many people turned around in disgust, we were even full on the access road up to the first set of cabins. I spent much of my day telling people that there was no where to park. “But my child has a lesson,” I was told. “I am sorry,” I responded, “You are welcome to drop off, but there is no where to park.” A few people moved cones so they could park anyway, which screwed up our enter and exit areas, and made some people furious. One guy told me that it was illegal to have so many vehicles in our parking lot. But he was old like me and Joe Biden, and therefore somewhat confused.
 
Unfortunately there is not much I can do. I think people are coming out in COVID frustration. I can’t tell other people to go away so that you can have your favorite or even any parking space, even though one or two people, I think without thinking, seriously told me that I should not have so many people in the lot. It did not occur to them that keeping more people out would lessen their chances of parking, not increase it. It is like watching Downton Abbey. You always assume if you lived back then, you would be the one living upstairs, not the servants living downstairs.

A couple of years ago we had one day like this, and as a result, we expanded the parking in the off-season by a couple hundred spots. Next off-season, we may do that again, but it will not help you this season, and besides,I think we have reached the saturation point where we need to expand the mountain in order to have more people. Happily the Hodag ski lift is now open.

However, this is what I can do for you Hoodoo regulars. Luckily, you are the ones who read Chuck’s Page and so this may help you out. Try to arrive at Hoodoo by 9 am if you want to park in the main parking near the lodge, or if you want to ski in the afternoon and evening (Hoodoo is open from 9 to 9 all week long until Sunday) arrive around 2 after the morning crowd has started to leave. Monday and Tuesday are supposed to be beautiful days and so I suspect it will be a repeat of Sunday on those two days at least. 

If you arrive after 9:30 am, the main parking area including the entry road may be full. By 10 am, the Autobahn parking may be full as well. If ODOT does not finish plowing their access road, we intend to do it for them in the morning. Then we can use this as overflow parking (bring your Sno-Park permits to park there). But I am guessing that too will be full by 10:30 or 11. If you arrive from 11 am to 1 pm, you will probably be turned away. After that more parking may open up periodically during the day until about 4 pm when there should be plenty of parking again.

There are various ways that we have to decrease the ticket line. If you have AnyCards and the line is long, someone will probably be walking the line to give you your tickets. If you see someone like that handing out tickets, make it known to him that you have AnyCards. For those of you who have season passes, good for you, just head right out to the lifts and start to have fun.

I do have lots more to talk about, you know things that will make you mad or as one customer put it, “Could you tell Chuck to cut the political crap and stick to skiing or something he knows about.” But the joke is on her, I don’t know that much about skiing either. So, never one to take good advice, I will be back at it soon, but for right now, I wanted to get this out.

UPDATE: I would like to thank the many people who expressed appreciation for our efforts in the parking lot and exit road on Sunday. It was crazy and once again shows what happens when a couple people decide to park where they should not. On the right side of the road as you exit, there is no place to park except a couple pull out areas for the vehicles that belong to the owners of the cabins off the road at that point. There are only about four spaces at each pull off that keep their vehicles off the road. More than that makes the road one way in that section. The fact that two people in each area decided that they could be there meant that we had to have two Hoodoo people for about four hours at that point on the road that did not belong to us. This caused a lot of anxiety and frustration for us and others.

Another problem that caused traffic backups was due to the heavy traffic on Hwy 20. Unfortunately, we have very little control over the exit road, especially not at the junction with the highway. One year when we had a backup like this, I actually went out there and did traffic control. Eventually a highway patrol guy came by very angry with me and threatened to put me in jail if I ever did that again. I got the idea that he really did not like me being there.

Sometimes, especially when we do not have night skiing and it is extremely busy due to a holiday and good weather together, like last Sunday, it means that everyone wants to leave at the same time. Today was a little less crowded, but it had almost no backups. I left at 4:30 and only had one car in front of me at the highway. Night skiing meant that not everyone left at the same time.

Some people wrote in and told me they saw our efforts and really appreciated our help. Special kudos go out to Michael who has become our parking lot manager. He worked so hard that he ended up having to go to the Emergency Room today to help him recover from exhaustion. It is true that you don’t normally see three guys over the age of 50 (one of them is way over that age) running back and forth in the parking lot, but we want to meet you with our best and show you that we do care.

Of course not everyone appreciates this. Every once in a while I have to ask someone who has decided to park in the middle of the road, or something like that, to move. There are few people who like to be told what to do less then those who are asked to move, with the possible exception of dog owners. Dogs are not allowed near the lodge or on the groomed snow. However, when I ask people to take their dogs other places, it’s like talking to a little kid. “I’ll move my dog as soon as I get this or that done” Sorry, no one appreciates skiing through dog shit or having their kids around yellow snow. I know you guys love your dogs, but we seriously have lost customers out of disgust with the fact that we allow dogs at Hoodoo at all. This attitude by dog owners could mean that we will not allow dogs in the future. The truth is that many dogs end up in our parking lot. Some bark incessantly and obnoxiously and others run through the parking lot, but the reasonable Chuck will admit that he does love dogs and most dog owners are responsible. Please, please help me with the dog objections. When I ask you to do something about your dog, just do it right away without giving me an excuse that you have to do something that could clearly be done later.

On a happier level, I need to announce that there is a groundswell movement to have me run for Oregon’s governor. I intend to comment about this in my next Chuck’s Page. 

UPDATE: I once got a very interesting compliment from someone who said “The thing I like best about Hoodoo is that everyone is nice. I don’t just mean you, Chuck and your managers and your other employees, I am talking about all the great people at Hoodoo as well”. Let me give you an example of what he meant by that comment through repeating a compliment that was sent to us recently. We have received many other very nice thoughts and probably all of you deserve recognition,  but this one, from someone who I do not believe I know, struck me as something that needed to be shown here.

“Dear Hoodoo people and Amazing Chuck, First thank you for being open and dealing with this crazy Covid year with such flexibility and creativity. I love the drink station outside. I love the warming fires outside. I love the tailgate parties in the parking lot since the lodge has had to  remain closed. I love watching people plop down in the snow around the ski racks to eat lunch. I love that you have left restrooms open and even rented Porta potties for those of us who don’t mind using them. I love your laid-back lifties who with a sense of humor kindly tell people to wear their masks. Yesterday was comical chaos with all the lines… The rental lines, the lift lines, the bathroom lines, the lines to escape the parking lot at the end of the day. I mean really. It was a holiday weekend and Hoodoo has been so family friendly and accommodating, who wouldn’t want to go there and what did people expect? I hope you ignore the whiners and listen to me when I tell you, you are the bomb and saving our sanity this year!
Thank you,
 
It really is true that the Hoodoo regulars and those who are quickly becoming Hoodoo Regulars are a special sort. They help make working at Hoodoo or being a customer at Hoodoo into something special that is really fun, day in and day out. And the truth is that for the most part even the letters of criticism have included a lot of nice compliments as well. And for those who have been criticized by me and have gone away angry, I apologize. I do not want to annoy you, but sometimes I see the urgency in the matter when others can not. (Yes, I know, that was not a very good apology) I really do want everyone to have a good experience at Hoodoo.

See you on the slopes,

Chuck Shepard
Owner
Hoodoo Ski Area

Dec. 21, 2020

Upcoming holiday:

In spite of the last couple day’s rain, it looks like the conditions will be excellent going into the Christmas/New Year holiday period. After several inches of new snow that should fall Monday through Tuesday nights, we then expect a couple days with sunshine and some light new snow as a Christmas present for everyone on Wednesday and Thursday. Then on Friday, Christmas Day, we should have a mixture of snow and sunshine, in other words a great ski and board day. Saturday then starts our lengthy period of night skiing in which you can play and ride on the snow from 9 am – 9 pm. But remember we are never open on Sunday evenings so we close by 4 pm on Dec. 27, but Monday, Dec. 28 marks the start of six days straight of 9 am – 9 pm opening!

Once again I want to remind you especially if you have lessons or just plan to ski until early afternoon, arriving at Hoodoo between 8:30 and 9:30 AM is encouraged if you want to park in the main part of the parking lot near the front. On nice days (maybe all of them), parking will go up the entry road and when that is full we will send you over to the Autobahn parking Lot. There is plenty of parking over there, but it is about a ¼ mile walk to the lodge. Season Pass holders can start at the Ed (Red) Chair if you want. Late arrivers are welcome to drop off people at the lodge and then come back to park, but the longer you put off parking, the further away from the lodge you will be. 

All of our parking lot has been completely full once so far this season already and, with good weather, it will likely happen again between Christmas and New Year’s Day. We have been full as early as 11 am. After that, many people park up the north/west side of the entry road. To do this legally, you should have a Sno-Park permit and those are NOT available from Hoodoo, so it never hurts to check at your local ski shop or resort office to purchase a daily or seasonal Sno-Park permit. Click here to buy Sno-Park permits online.

COVID UPDATE (serious stuff):

Last weekend when I encouraged a few people standing in the ticket line to wear their masks, one young lady informed me that she did not believe in wearing a mask. The truth is I don’t like wearing a mask either, nor do many people. In fact I think we should have a vote about this. Everyone who believes we should wear a mask vote YES, those who do not vote NO. OK ready VOTE. ….waiting….waiting….counting….counting. OVER. The results are those who believe in wearing a mask 3,985. Those who do not believe we should have to wear a mask 3,675. The vote was close and probably fixed but it looks like even though I politicked against it, most people do want us all to wear a mask.

However, I hereby would like to inform you that in spite of the previous political nonsense that we went through, masks are not a part of a religious cult that you either believe in or not. It is a rule put out by our democratically elected governor, and at Hoodoo, we know that either we follow her rules or we will be closed. Please help us stay open.

As long as we are voting, I have another one for you. We all know that these upcoming vaccines can possibly save our lives. Some people will catch COVID before they have a chance to get the shot and they might die. But there are not enough shots available for everyone at first. We need to decide which people will benefit the most and are the most important. Medical people it would seem should go first, that makes sense. Older people over 65 to 75 seem to be high on the list because this is the group that stands the greatest chance of dying from the virus and then also high on the list are those people with important jobs that are essential for all of us to keep our society strong. Oh and then wait a minute, there seems to be another group that is even more important than all others. In fact they have already received their vaccines. You guessed it, the politicians. They have defined themselves as essential and should be first in line. They are so essential that they don’t work much of the time with or without a disease. They are so important to our country that they personally have made the last four years a living hell. I am surprised the media has not been considered to be essential too, or maybe they have.

So here is my upcoming vote. Who is more essential, our national politicians or the guy in the parking lot who kindly guides you to the best parking spot available. Or if you are confused by that job definition substitute your job description instead. Ok, now are you ready to decide? Ready VOTE…waiting….waiting …..counting….counting…..OVER. The vote is the parking lot guy should be first by a vote of 8,456 vs politicians 1. The one vote it seems came from a senator who read Chuck’s Page by mistake after one of his friends told him that Chuck had some important things to say (He was playing a joke on the senator.).

If sometime down the line you are actually considered to be important enough to be offered the vaccine, I hope you will get it. But until then, please wear your masks, not because I am asking you to, not even because the governor is telling you to, but rather because the person next to you in line is asking you to. Please give that person a break.

See you on the slopes,

Chuck Shepard
Owner
Hoodoo Ski Area

Dec. 14, 2020

Opening Update: Hoodoo will open this Wednesday 9 am – 4 pm. We will continue to open each day at 9 am for the rest of the month and through New Years Weekend. Peak pricing starts Saturday, Dec. 19 and continues through the Christmas/New Years holiday, and night skiing starts the day after Christmas and will continue every day we are open except on Sundays. Please be aware that we are expecting the parking lot to fill early on the weekends and during the holiday vacation. You are encouraged to arrive between 8:30 am and 10 am. Parking after 10 am may be difficult and after around 11 am – 1 pm on some days may be nonexistent. After 1 pm, there are often spots that open again throughout the parking lots. On crowded days, be prepared to park in the Autobahn Tubing Park lot and on certain days, like last Saturday, even that may be full.

Warning: The following paragraphs contain strong political rhetoric. Anyone who is a politician, member of the media, an employee of the government at any level or a member of any political party (and probably other people too) are cautioned to not read the following if you find yourself angry at someone whose political thinking is clearly inferior since he doesn’t 100% agree with you. For those of you who do read this by mistake and find yourself ready to blowup unless you can tell me how stupid I am, you are welcome to talk to me in the Hoodoo parking lot, but if you start making me cry, back off.

Now that the election seems to be settled I would like to throw out a few parting comments. I admit that when Trump ran for president in 2016 I did not even consider voting for him. I sort of felt that the Republicans had lost touch will reality when they nominated him. But he did end up winning because, I think, so many voters including myself did not like Hilary. I remember watching the election returns that night being incredulous. How could this have happened? But since I would have felt the same way if Hilary had won, maybe even worse, I decided to try to look at the positives.

If Trump did even part of what he promised, I felt it would not be so bad. But then what president ever does what he promises? Well as it turned out Trump at least tried to. At the risk of being called a bigot because I recognize some good things that Trump did, I will proceed pointing out some positives. Because of my college and professional background I know a lot about taxes and tax law. Trump’s people knew a lot as well and they were able to accomplish some incredible things to get the economy going. It is true that many of their changes might have helped the rich more than the poor, but that is what happens when you have the rich pay most of the taxes. The richest 10% pay over 50% of our taxes. I am not saying they shouldn’t but I am saying if you lower the percentage on the richest by 2.5% and on those that make less by 10% the rich still benefit the most. In general, the lowest wage owners don’t pay income tax at all so if you lower income taxes of course the rich will benefit the most. They are the ones who pay it! However, I personally do not believe that the best thing to do is to always lower taxes. When the economy is good they should be increased and when it needs help they should be decreased. In this case the taxes went down and all of the sudden our unemployment went down to record depths as well.

The thing I liked the best though about Trump is that he vowed to drain the “swamp”. However he quickly found out as did we all, that the swamp is a lot deeper and a lot muckier than he or we realized. In the end the swamp swallowed him whole.

As far as most of the rest of the stuff he did or said, Mr. President what the f— were you thinking! Since I didn’t vote for you to begin with, I don’t really feel like I have to be on your side. But you clearly were treated unfairly and it was hard not to notice. When I did try to point out to people that the politicians, the swamp and the media were lying about you and treating you in a horrible way, you Mr President would say or do something that would make me wish I had never taken your side and I hoped it would all go away.

And finally, it almost has ended. I am willing to give you credit for getting us the vaccine as fast as possible if that is what you want to hear, but it really is time to now give the Democrats their chance to ruin the country. Do I think that there was a lot of cheating done in this election, you bet I do. Perhaps I wouldn’t, except that the Democrats fought hard all the way to stop the Republicans from making their case. People say that an election can’t be fixed in this country, but they are forgetting when almost everyone realized that Joe Kennedy and Mayor Daily of Chicago cheated enough to get a win for John Kennedy over Richard Nixon (thank goodness). But Nixon, instead of crying foul and taking the election to court just said he should have out played them in that game. Of course, a few years later he did try to do that and it didn’t turn out too well for him there either. Lets face it when it comes to cheating in elections the Republicans are outclassed.

So now I am finally reaching the point of my Page. This really wasn’t meant to be about Trump at all. Instead, I am addressing my comments to the media and to the Democrats. The other day I was listening to NPR as I usually do while driving back and forth to Hoodoo and the reporter was telling us that of course Trump was just lying to us again about the cheating in the elections. “There is no evidence at all that this ever happened and Trump is making it all up”. She told us. So my angry question to you Ms Reporter or to anyone in the media or in politics. How could you possibly know that Trump was lying before you even let him make his case? And further if no one did cheat, why are you so anxious to not let anyone investigate at least some details about this. Yes, I realize that Trump’s team went before some of the courts and lost, so maybe there is nothing grand to this, but why did you fight so hard to stop anyone from knowing anything? Why do the social media platforms stop us from hearing anything about it?

Assuming there were no grand plots to throw the election like between Kennedy and Daily, wouldn’t it be to the advantage of Biden and the Democrats to support the effort to make sure we had a clean election now and in the future? What do you think there is to be afraid of? Now instead of Trump being remembered as the President whose qualification for the job was to perfect his style in telling others that “You’re fired”, he will now be remembered in history as the president who lost possibly through a series of dishonest moves in the election process. The Democrats and the media have made a martyr out of Trump to his 75 million followers. And I suspect that the crazy talk will last way longer than it should have. Speculation will continue like the killing of Kennedy. Movies will be made about possible scenarios on how the election was stolen and on and on.

My advice finally is to get down to what’s important, like how early should one leave for Hoodoo in order to park near the front? Is it proper to bribe Chuck to let one park in the front row? Is Chuck too dumb to take a bribe? Why would I ski somewhere else besides Hoodoo where I have to reserve my parking spot? COVID-19 wise, things seem to be going well at Hoodoo. Please remember to wear your masks while in line. We do have a tent set up for you to eat out in the parking lot. It has room for 50 people to be socially distanced by about 10 feet. If you come down with COVID-19 and you feel that either you might have spread it at Hoodoo or possibly caught it here, please email us.

See you on the slopes,

Chuck Shepard
Owner
Hoodoo Ski Area

Dec. 7, 2020

We, (and that is a huge, plural WE) enjoyed another great Hoodoo weekend with great sunshine and about 30 inches of snow cover. It sure would be nice to have more, but since Hoodoo’s trails are clear of rocks and small trees, 30 inches of snow goes a long way. The parking lot was almost totally full on Saturday. In fact, many of our late arrivals had to park over in the Autobahn Tubing Park lot, about a five minute walk away from the ski lifts. We had a lot of skiers and boarders who were new to Hoodoo. I hope you guys enjoyed your first visit and will soon become Hoodoo regulars.

Assuming the weather continues to cooperate (we expect it to), we plan to open this Thursday- Sunday (Dec. 10-13) from 9 am – 4 pm. We will need more snow to be open more than four days a week. We do not expect the size of crowd that we had this weekend, but it is always smart to try to arrive around 8:30 am to get the best parking spots and the best runs.

As I was leaving Hoodoo Thursday afternoon, the snow was falling and was expected to continue falling lightly throughout the weekend. With this in mind, we are announcing now that Hoodoo will remain open from 9 am – 4 pm through Sunday. On Wednesday, Dec. 16, we will open for the rest of 2020. So we expect to be open from Dec. 16 through the weekend and during the full next week before Christmas.

Starting on the day after Christmas, a Saturday, we will be open 9 am – 9 pm. Then on Sunday, like all Sundays during the season, we will be open 9 am – 4 pm. We will continue to be open 9 am – 9 pm for night skiing throughout the week between Christmas and New Years. We will also be open 9 am – 9 pm on Jan. 1-2 (Friday-Saturday). On Sunday, Jan. 3, we will return to 9 am – 4 pm. Check out our Calendar for our daily schedule.

Our pricing changes for holiday periods. The Christmas holiday peak pricing runs Dec. 19 – Jan. 3. Please check our Ticket Rates for specifics.

We had a few COVID-19 requests. First, someone said we should be parking the cars 6 feet apart to maintain social distancing. I said that people, not vehicles, need to socially distance. We did try to spread out how the cars came in to help in distancing, but keeping yourself away from those outside your party is a personal responsibility.  I did ask a few people in the ticket line to spread out and to put on their masks. Most cooperated and some did not. But we need to continue parking our cars about 3 feet apart in order to let you guys be as close to the lodge as possible. By the way, thank you for your cooperation with me and everyone else in keeping your group out of the way of traffic and other people (You guys are also earning brownie points when you invite me to your soiree, even if I don’t join you at this point).

There are  many people who feel that masks do not do much good in preventing the spread of an airborne disease. I have seen many doctors and scientists agree with you. However, your team lost the election and the argument in Oregon. Hoodoo is open per the rules of the State of Oregon. If you don’t like those rules, I guess I am with you, but tough luck for us both. We at Hoodoo have promised to obey those rules in order to stay open and so you will always see me with my mask on. You gave up a certain amount of your freedom when you came to a place that is under orders to wear masks in ticket and lift lines, and within six-to-eight feet of others. There are many people, the majority I am guessing, who think masks are important. It is not fair to knowingly ignore this rule.

If you want to vent your feelings about the foolishness of all of this, come over to talk with me. I will listen, but meanwhile, I will obey the rules rather than causing a fight. Thank you.

See you on the slopes,
Chuck Shepard
Owner

Hoodoo Ski Area

Nov. 30, 2020

We had what seemed like a great opening this Thanksgiving weekend. Due to the recent Covid-19 restrictions, we were concerned that things may not go well. In fact, an officer from the Linn County Sheriff’s Department hung out in the parking lot for a few hours Saturday morning to observe all the activity. We encountered potential problems everywhere, but Governor Brown did say that the ski areas could open since skiing is an outside activity, similar to the many golf courses that stayed open during the summer with a lot of success. But at the same time a long list of “no-nos” were given. It was like finding our way through a maze.

Season pass holders, both old and new, who came up this last weekend probably saw me in the parking lot. I was the old guy trying to explain the rules to everyone and explain how they could most expediently get their passes. It went very well, by the way, and rarely did those in line wait more than 10 minutes; in fact, the lines were pretty short later in the day.

In between parking cars, I was thinking about why the governor would come up with some of these rules. Most of it did not make sense to me, but when I considered what I would do in her position, I wasn’t able to do a lot better. Doing nothing may have been the best course, but can you imagine the criticism she would receive? South Dakota’s governor, Kristi Noem, didn’t impose many restrictions, seemingly to the benefit of her state. But nearly every day, I saw news articles criticizing her inaction. So Gov. Brown had to do something so that if there came a time when the situation worsened in Oregon, people could say, “Think how much worse it would have been if the governor had not taken solid strong action to prevent that.”

This is what being a politician is all about and as my mother would have told me, “Chuck, if you think you could do better, you should have run for governor!”

“But Mom,” I might have countered, “I did buy the ski area in order to make that better”

“Well, that doesn’t count” she would explain. So Gov. Brown, since I am unlikely to run against you, keep up the good work!

As this weekend’s weather forecast is fairly positive, Hoodoo will be open Friday-Sunday, 9 am – 4 pm. All guests are welcome. Although I am somewhat confident that most of our season pass holders have now picked up their passes, if you still need to get yours, please arrive early since the process takes a little more time.  

The Autobahn Tubing Park needs more snow and will open later. Next week, we hope to be open Thursday – Sunday. We plan on starting our regular Wednesday – Sunday schedule on Dec. 16, but will need more snow (and we expect to get it!). We’ll open for night skiing when the snow gets deeper, or at the least by Dec. 26, should all go well.    

Parking is a little more complicated this year. We are trying to keep our employee parking at the bottom of the entrance and exit road instead of the regular employee parking area. This should help customers park within five rows from all the groomed trails, including the Ed (Red) Thurston Lift. This year, plan your parking so that you can use your vehicle as the center of your operations. Bring seats and small tables if you wish, but please allow others to finish parking around you before setting up your personal tailgating area. RVs should make reservations staying overnight, parking along the groomed snow area between the lodges and the shops. If there is not room there, you can park at the top between the Hoodoo parking lot and Autobahn Tubing Park entrance roads.

If you still have questions, please email our Communications Director, Josh, josh@hoodoo.com or talk to one of the parking lot attendants. One of them might be me.

See You On The Slopes,

Chuck Shepard
Owner
Hoodoo Ski Area

Nov. 26, 2020

2020 marks the beginning of the 21st season in the new Hoodoo Ski Area era (ownership under the Shepard family). 21 years ago, with almost no idea of how to use the Internet (still so new to most of us at the time), I started a weekly post on our fledgling Hoodoo website, which we soon called Chuck’s Page. The purpose, honestly, was to get information out to our Hoodoo visitors, who numbered about 30,000 per season back then, without the cost of sending letters in the mail. Chuck’s Page soon turned into what we believe to be the first regular ski area blog in the country. I kept it going for almost 15 years until I felt that it was no longer relevant or important as it once was, in spite of our annual ski area visits expanding to over 100,000.

However, this year, getting out current information has become a necessity, and thus, Chuck’s Page is reborn. A few days ago, we were going to announce that we would be ready to open on Thanksgiving Weekend. Then Governor Brown put out the mixed message that there would be no outdoor recreation allowed for the next two weeks. Ski areas were not specifically mentioned, but most of the ski resorts assumed we were under this arbitrary umbrella at least to some extent. I don’t want to be too critical, I realize it must be hard to be a politician who has very little idea of what needs to be done, other than for everyone telling him or her to follow the science. Science is science and rules are rules, so Hoodoo will attempt to adjust until we find our pockets empty like so many other businesses.

Hoodoo will be open Nov. 28-29 from 9 am – 4 pm exclusively for season pass holders. Daily lift tickets will not be sold this weekend and AnyCards can’t be redeemed. Please be flexible as we navigate current health and safety protocols. The lodge will be closed, which is why we are limiting the first weekend to season pass holders, season equipment renters and their immediate families. We will sell the season passes at one of our four outdoor ticket windows under the heat lamps.

Ski or snowboard rentals at one of these windows as well, but it will be a longer process. We will have people in the parking lot and at the windows to give you more specific instructions if you need them. Those people who have already picked up your passes may proceed to the lifts. If you are purchasing your pass now, please go to the windows and you will be given a lift ticket to use while we process your season pass, which you can pick up later

The Hoodoo Ski & Ride School will not operate Nov. 28-29, but in subsequent weeks, the school will conduct business from one or two outside windows near the Easy Rider Lift. Classes will be smaller this season and we recommend you arrive at least an hour before your lesson time. This may make a difference in prices as we see how things go. Any price changes will be posted in advance. The restaurant and bar will operate from windows on the ski bowl side of the lodge near the lifts and the selection will be limited. Later in the day, food and beverages will be served from one of the parking lot side windows as well.

Please plan to use your vehicles as a base of operations. No tables or chairs will be provided. If you are planning on coming up in an RV, please make your reservations EARLY starting on Dec.11. Season RV hookup spots are full now, but  non-hookup spots may still be reserved. 

Since so few people will be allowed in the lodge, indoor seating will be severely limited to those needing to conduct business, like getting your skis fitted (go to the bowl side middle doors for that). If there are times when the lodge is not crowded (e.g. later in the evenings), we will allow those who are buying food at Hoodoo to eat inside. If you bring your own meals, you’ll need to eat outside near your vehicle.

In order to spread out guests more this season, starting mid December our normal opening will be Wednesday-Saturday from 9 am – 9 pm and Sundays from 9 am – 4 pm. Night skiing is usually less crowded than day skiing and, of course, it is cheaper. Assuming the snow stays with us, we will be open at least on the weekends starting Friday, Dec. 4. Night skiing will start December 26 or possibly sooner if conditions and demand warrant it. More information on exact days and hours of operation in December will be given after the first weekend of opening in December.

I will update this page as needed to bring you updates as the government continues to change the rules and as your questions bring out areas that need to be addressed. In December especially, we will all have to be flexible. Meanwhile, if you do have any questions or concerns, you should email our Communications Director, Josh Alder, at josh@hoodoo.com. If you would like to contact me directly, let Josh know and he will forward your email to me. However, since I am retired and may be away from my email, please allow me up to a week to answer. 

Finally, regarding political matters; regardless of what you feel you have been able to glean from this Chuck’s Page, my politics involve two items: First, I do not want my Hoodoo friends to be infected with COVID-19, especially not at Hoodoo. Second, I favor politicians who allow Hoodoo to stay open as long as possible while keeping item one in mind. And as far as BLM is concerned, you should know that the Shepards are a family from Oregon’s future. We consist of individuals who are as white as they come and as black as they come. One of us is even bald. If we can keep Hoodoo alive, in spite of all the garbage of the last few years, at least one or two of those individuals, regardless of their skin color or their gender will be, with your help, running Hoodoo in the future.

See You On The Slopes,

Chuck Shepard
Owner
Hoodoo Ski Area