Dec. 1, 2022
Thanks to a good dump of snow we will be able to open this Saturday, Dec. 3. This is at least a week earlier than when we thought we might be able to open before the snow fell so not all of our new employees are available. This is also two weeks earlier than we opened last year. Please do not judge us too harshly if everything is not quite right. However, if you want someone to complain to, I am willing to listen and maybe I will even be able to fix the problem! You will find me on Saturday running around the parking lot. I will also be there on most days during Christmas vacatiion.
This weekend, we will be open Saturday and Sunday, 9 am – 4 pm. The next 2 weeks we will be open Thursday – Sunday. The week before Christmas we intend to be open at normal hours with night skiing. By the way an alert patroller emailed me letting me know that I had written in a previous page we would be open for night skiing until 9 AM! I think he didn’t really like the idea of putting in 24 hour days so I want to assure everyone that night skiing will end at 9 PM. It should begin the week before Christmas, but once again. for now everything is in flux.
But the best way to know our correct hours and opening days is by going to our Calendar. We will also post on the proper page, which lifts will be open and which runs will be groomed before each day. You may have heard that there is a discussion about a shortage in diesel fuel. We do not yet know if this is going to affect us. If it does we may cut back some in the runs we groom. Some of you have complained in the past that we groom too much anyway. This year we may have to cut back.
I am looking forward to seeing everyone again.
See you on the slopes,
This week somewhere between 16” and 36” is expected. Currently we have 20”. This means we are working to open this weekend. A definite day will be announced when we know. At first we will be open on weekends only with no tubing until after Christmas. If we have enough snow we plan to be open Wednesdays through Sundays throughout the season starting about December 21 (or possibly the week before); again the exact days will be announced as we feel more sure of the conditions.
See you on the slopes,
My experience with rent control started in 1973 with Richard Nixon’s move to control inflation by controlling the amount of wage and price increases we Americans were allowed to charge or be paid. Nixon had to deal with an inflationary period similar to the one we are experiencing now and in spite of a lot of knowledgeable people telling him not to do this, he imposed the controls anyway thinking that this would stop inflation and he would then end this control when the problem was over.
By pure coincidence I was involved with this decision. I will slip this short story into my information just because. Just before Nixon released his decision to the press, he contacted key Republican politicians so that they could be prepared. This was in the early 1970s (about 1973). At this time my wife and I were visiting my father-in-law in Green Bay, WI. Also visiting him at the same time was John Byrnes, the Minority Leader of the House, Ways, and Means Committee. The two of them had been childhood friends in Green Bay and now both were leaders in their fields and still good friends. As for me, much to the embarrassment of my father-in-law, I was a hippie with long hair and a beard living on a commune in Oregon. His daughter for some reason loved me and so he was nice to me in spite of it all. On this visit the four of us spent one evening playing bridge and drinking beer (I don’t do that anymore either). The next day I was there by myself and the phone rang. I answered and the voice on the other line said “Hello, this is the White House calling, is John Byrnes available?” I explained that he was not, but I would have him return the call. I should have asked how Dick was doing, but truthfully I was rather intimidated by the whole experience and I behaved myself.
When Congressman Byrnes returned and made the call he came out furious. He explained to us what Nixon was about to do and told us why this was such a bad idea. It will cause wages and prices to take a huge jump when the controls are released and our country will be in trouble he explained. That evening I drove him to the Austin Struebel Airport in Green Bay in my hippie van. An Airforce jet swooped down and pulled up to my van. While helping the congressman load his luggage on the plane I was introduced to the minority leader of the Republican Party, Congressman Gerald Ford who became president of the US soon after.
This story is important because as Byrnes said prices and wages continued to pressure up. When the controls were finally lifted the volcano exploded, and inflation went through the roof. (Can you imagine what will happen in Oregon when rent controls finally have to be ended because the housing shortage gets to be so bad?) Soon after interest rates also skyrocketted. The Federal Reserve eventually set the prime rate over 20%. Mortgage rates went even higher. Approximately, 40% of the investment rental property in Eugene (the area I knew about during that period) was returned to the bank or was sold in distress sales and the vacancy rate went over 25% in some areas because renters moved away.
The problem with the law was that in order to get the Democrats to go along with the tax rate decrease, the Republicans agreed to end the “real estate tax loopholes” that allowed the “rich”, mostly doctors and lawyers to write off their real estate losses against their regular income. The Democrats bragged about how they finally were able to “get” the “rich”. And to a certain extent they accomplished that goal. Multifamily rentals decreased drastically in value at first and a lot of them came up for sale, at least in Eugene, where I was expanding my business. Many rich investors lost a lot of money.
I started my real estate investment business, Umbrella Properties, in 1975, ten years before this tax reform. During that time, for over a decade, I don’t believe I was ever able to charge a high enough rent to have a positive cash flow. At the time I started, investors were not concerned about a positive cash flow. Instead they bought the properties for tax losses so that they could use the losses to write off against their normal income. I did the same. The idea was to have the rents high enough to pay your utilities, property taxes, maintenance and administrative expenses with enough left over to pay for your mortgage. So the price of the real estate was at a point where the rents less the expenses and mortgage equaled zero or less. In investment real estate you are allowed to write off depreciation which means a taxable loss even if you don’t really lose any money. Also over a period of time you would pay down your mortgage which meant about a 3% return per year while at the same time the value would go up with inflation. It was a small return not worth the risk by itself, but with the tax losses due to depreciation it created a good return for the investor. This is how I started, with rents so low that there was no cash flow, but it was a business that allowed me to work hard and in return get an OK, but low return. Kind of like owning a ski area.
Finally, locally, in Eugene (and in other areas too, I suppose) more rent control and rules are being passed or discussed. To begin with these new rules will mean lower rents for those who do not move and much higher rents for those who are new tenants. If this keeps up landlords will have to have a lottery to help renters find a home. In the laws that are passing now landlords are told they must allow the first qualified application to be the one that we give the rental to. Smart renters will find someone who is moving out or pay someone to let them know of a possible moveout and put in an application before the landlord knows a vacancy is coming up or they will “move in with a friend” a month or two before that “friend” gives notice. If you think rentals are hard to find now, just wait!
The bottom line to all of this is that the more the government gets involved the higher the costs and along with it the higher the rents and the more people who will be homeless. Please any politician who might have read all of this, tell me one time when your interference helped the tenant. Whoops, my mistake, Oregon lowered the property tax rates and that did help. However, government officials went down kicking and screaming telling us what a terrible idea that was.
I understand that the cause of homelessness is not all due to the lack of housing or high rents. In the United States we need to raise money to help those who are on the street because of mental issues, but that is a whole other issue about which I am not an expert like I am on the above. Since no one will listen to me about something about which I am an expert and have 50 years of experience why would they listen to my ideas about something in which I am not an expert? However, we do need to spend some money to house the mentally ill. Here’s an idea, lets charge those greedy landlords a fee to help. (If you do not realize that is a joke, please go back and read this all again.)
Summation: If you politicians are serious about helping renters and the homeless, start by increasing the incentive for more housing. Zone more land for housing, give income tax breaks for rentals (even if this means raising taxes on rest of us) Right now a successful Oregon businessman pays about 50% of his or her taxable income to the government. Give them a credit to decrease this if somehow he or she invests in rentals and helps the housing situation.
See you on the slopes,
IN SUMMARY: Now that the season is three days from being over a huge midweek snow dump has finally hit the Cascades. I wish I could tell you that this means we will stay open longer than planned but at this point our employees will be gone along with most of our customers. It is very hard to extend a season when the new snow unexpectedly hits in the last week. BUT this does mean that the last three days of the scheduled season should be good ones. We will be open from 9 to 4 this week on Friday through Sunday as has been scheduled all season long. Earlier this month we did think that we were going to have to close this last week but the last minute snow has deepened our base by a couple feet and may even allow us to reopen the top of Green once more. For the last month or so we have been hauling snow up the mountain from various spots in the trees to cover the bare areas that the wind leaves open. This new snow though may change things for the last weekend. We will see, but either way the plan is still to charge a discounted fee of $45 per day just in case we need to cut back on our service. So hopefully I will see many of you on this upcoming weekend. I plan to be in the parking lot on Saturday at the least.
A huge thank you is hereby given to those who helped Hoodoo celebrate my birthday bash on April 1. Many of you helped give me one of my best birthday presents ever, by helping us contribute about $35,000 to Family Access Network, a Central Oregon charity that helps the homeless through their kids that attend the local schools. This money specifically is planned to help local kids attend local institutions of higher learning such as COCC, OSU, or other technical schools that help the kids get trained to get better jobs right out of high school. Although this is not one of FAN’s stated goals, I think the idea is to help everyone mature into an adult that can afford to take his or her family up to Hoodoo for a great day of snow fun. Thank you to David Swisher and his wife who will be joining me soon on the golf course due to their large gift (I will contact you, David). Another thanks is given to the many individuals who gave charitable gifts of all sizes. Austin Boucher and Elsie Weldon won season passes for next year as a show of our appreciation.
Many of you have stopped me in the parking lot to thank me for our attempt to keep Hoodoo affordable. Over 20 years ago Matthew McFarland, our GM and myself discussed various ongoing ways that would help us meet our goal to keep Hoodoo affordable to almost everyone. This has led to Thrifty Thursdays when anyone can spend up to 12 hours on the snow for only $29 (we hope to keep this at the same low price next year in spite of our expense inflation problems.) and we are continuing to sell season passes at a large discount for those of you willing to continue your commitment to Hoodoo now. If something happens to wreck next season either from your part or ours you can get your money back on this pass if you have not used it. For those who do use the pass before next season starts there is still the possibility to get much of your money back before next season begins. Once the season starts we do increase our pass price by quite a bit because we still need to raise enough revenue to cover our costs. So be one of the smart ones, buy now, and let someone else pay our expenses.
I have noticed that many of you have come up to enjoy the new snow even though we are not open on M-Th. Please be careful. We do not have anyone up there to help you on the mountain, nor will we be plowing the parking lot before Friday morning. We may not be able to help you if your vehicle gets stuck or you get hurt in the new snow. But then come Friday I hope that you will be a part of our last weekend.
Thank you everyone for helping make the 21-‘22 season our second best ever after last year. Our skier visits have expanded about fourfold from the years before we took over in 1999. Parking has been a problem due to the increased popularity of Hoodoo and this has been in discussion for the last two years. We are still hoping to expand our RV parking in the Autobahn area as was planned at the end of last year along with a new employee parking area to the left of our road/parking lot as you come into Hoodoo. But our best hope for customers is a planned parking area on the right of the entry area. It is proposed to start across from the cabins closest to Hoodoo and end at what is now referred to as the tiered parking lot near our Nordic Ski Area. Parties parking in this lot will walk down along the learning area to get to the lodge. This parking area will only be kept open from mid December through mid February.
Final political thoughts: I don’t plan to write another Chuck’s Page before the November elections so I will leave a few words of wisdom for those of you who like to know what I am thinking. If you don’t care and I have been surprised that anyone does, don’t waste your time by reading any further. Even though this next election is not about electing a president, it will be important in setting up the path of the future and we have a chance to elect someone who will influence their parties in choosing someone better to run for president than the last two choices we have had. If you plan to vote for a Republican please choose someone who is not committed to Trump in “24”. I admit that Trump had a lot better ideas for America than what Biden has shown so far, but Trump proved himself to be a despicable bully. In spite of how poor Biden has been in almost everything he has done I still think that we are better off without Trump. But then speaking of bullies there has been an entity that has bullied us much worse than Trump ever did and that is the Democratic Party as a whole. They put us through the lies of Russiagate, Clinton’s and now Biden Jr’s email gate and the many other lies that they are still continuing to push on us even after they have been proven to be wrong. Oh and it is true that when it comes to bullies possibly the worst offenders have been the news media who have gone along with lies that helped make the Trump years so difficult.
So, for the upcoming election if you are a Republican, vote for someone who has the independence to back someone other than Trump. If you are a Democrat in Oregon do not vote for any incumbents! My personal choice for president right now is a Democrat, Tulsi Gabbard, who ran for president in 2020. If you do not know who she is, I recommend that you find out. You may be surprised to learn that in spite of everything, I am still a registered Democrat. It is hard for me to give up the hope of my youth. There is a rumor that Tulsi may change her party affiliation and may run as a Republican. I would vote for her either way. If you are a Republican you do have a few good choices. Trump is not one of them. I do not object to most of his stands but his politics would be much better represented by someone who does not appear to be a bigot and a bully. Right now Tim Scott from South Carolina is my choice.
Maybe this summer I will see you on a golf course,
It seems hard to believe that I am already preparing you for the end of the season, but none-the-less I do have things about which you should be reminded so here it is. For those of you with coupons of some sort or more importantly Anycards, I want to remind you that these are good for the current season only. They do not carry over to the next season or to December 2022, of the next season, so please remember to bring them with you or give them to a friend for a visit within the next month.
As many of you know when I took over more than twenty years ago I had three major goals that I wanted to achieve. The first is that I wanted Hoodoo to cater, as much as possible to families. I wanted children to feel welcome and for parents to feel that their children were safe. Second, I wanted to make Hoodoo into having a friendly feel. I may have gone a bit overboard trying to achieve this one when I decided that on most of the more crowded days I would work out in the parking lot in order to be able to greet and joke with you all as you came in. We have also stressed to our employees that customers come first. I believe that most of our guys feel proud to be partly responsible for helping you Hoodoo Regulars enjoy your day.
My third goal which our general manager, Matthew, has worked hard to help me achieve is for us to be affordable but at the same time, profitable. Over the years these two almost seemed mutually exclusive. We struggled trying to keep both our fees and our expenses low enough to make this all work. This last year for the first time we were able to pay off all of our liabilities that had been paying our expenses. Matthew has stressed three tools to keep us affordable for those whom might need a little help. The best known of these tools is Thrifty Thursday. We have resolved to keep the fees for this day no more than 50% of our daily fees. It will continue next year. The second tool is to offer various ways to save on ski and board rentals including our season pass fees for rentals. (If you don’t know about our rental season pass ask at the rental desk or at Hillside, our ski store in Sisters). Finally, the best deal by far is our spring sale price for season passes. This year’s price has gone up slightly, but much less than the increase in our expenses. The adult season pass has the biggest discount. Anyone may buy their 2022/2023 pass during the next month starting this Saturday, March 20, for only $459. This is expected to be a $290 discount off our tentative full priced next winter price of $749. It is a $140 discount from our tentative Fall preseason price of $599. Remember season passes are good for all sorts of things including a 10% discount in our retail store both at Hoodoo and in Sisters.
If you are a current season pass holder and for whatever reason you decide you do not want next season’s pass, you may get a full refund on this purchase anytime before next season starts or before you actually pick up your pass whichever is later.
If you are a new pass holder you may choose to either receive your pass right away or put it off until next season. As a new holder, if you do decide to pick up your pass now you will be able to use it as often as you want for the rest of this season. (See calendar for open days). If you then decide that you do not want to have the pass next year you may get a refund if you apply before the season starts for the full price less a spring usage fee of $180. Or if you would like to get a discount without coming up with $459 now you can pay a non refundable fee of $180 now which is good for the rest of the season and through the summer for discounts. You then can use this fee to reduce the full price cost in the fall or winter. This means the rest of your season will be at no cost if you purchase a pass next year. If you don’t end up buying a 2022/23 pass you will still save money this season if you plan to ski more than two more times this spring. (Note: this is not meant as a deal for those with passes now since you can already ski or get discounts for no cost for the rest of the season).
Your spring $459 pass will save any adult money after it is used over 6 times. If you are a new pass holder and use the pass this season it will not be hard to get in seven days. The pass can first be ordered this Saturday, the earlier the better for a new pass holder. We will continue the sale until the end of this season. Our fall sale will start around October 1 and the winter full price will start about December 1, 2022. There is also a program for the younger set as well. The price saving is not as large but is still worthwhile especially if your child is changing price categories due to age. The age of the child at the time of sale determines the price. Please ask at the desk for details.
This Thursday is our last regular Thrifty Thursday, don’t miss the chance to ride the new snow for only $29. There will be discounts on a couple of the Thursdays after Spring Vacation but the regular Thrifty Thursday ends on March 17. On Friday we once again will have live music and then on Saturday is our popular Demo Days where you can try out the new skis that are coming out this next season. I believe any skis or boards that you try should be available for sale by us through our Sister’s Shop, Hillside Ski and Sport.
As in past years Hoodoo will be open each day of Spring Vacation. On Sunday through Tuesday we will be open from 9 AM – 4 PM. On Wednesday – Saturday we will continue to be open from 9 AM – 9 PM. Watch our calendar for any possible changes.
Finally on Friday, April 1, 2022 will be our most important celebration day, my _ birthday. (Hoodoo is 10 years older than I am). This day has become important because at my advanced age I have decided finally to try to do some good. But I can’t do it without your help. We are hoping that you will help us support a local TAX DEDUCTIBLE charity. The charity as I have explained in previous Pages is Family Access Network which supports school age children in the Hoodoo Central Oregon area to live and grow to enjoy a better life. It uses advocates to deal with the kids and their families where needed on a one to one basis. We have decided to continue to keep the donations open until my party. You can donate to FAN by clicking here or you can drop off a check made out to FAN at Hoodoo. I understand that anyone donating $25 or more will be put into a raffle for the chance to win a lift ticket for either this year or the next. As proof that we think very highly of this cause I will donate a matching amount up to at least $20,000. You are welcome to ask me more about this when you see me in the parking lot. By the way we plan to have free cake and a band to help the April 1 celebration.
See you on the slopes,
You may have noticed that the snow level at Hoodoo has been decreasing. The reason is because like the Oregon Liquor Commission, which is now boycotting the sale of Russian vodka, we too have decided to do something equally meaningful by no longer accepting snow from Russia. This has meant a temporary shortfall of the white stuff until we can get the supply lines open from Canada. Of course we are not the only ones taking this action so it has meant a temporary shortfall for now, but we are hopeful of getting our Canadian allotment of about 6 inches early this week. We should have it in place and groomed by Thursday, just in time for Thrifty Thursday and your skiing pleasure.
You may have noticed that when it is warm enough I have taken to wearing the Ukraine colors of blue and gold in the Hoodoo parking lot. While like almost anyone else around I side with the Ukraine in this absurd attack, that is not to say that I have anything against the Russian people or the Russian Army if they are willing to see reason. To prove my good intentions, Hoodoo will give any Russian soldier a 10% discount if you will lay down your rifle and come to ski at Hoodoo instead of shooting people. A 15% discount goes to a soldier who leaves behind a machine gun.
On a serious note (not that the preceding was very funny), I would encourage you to donate to the Ukraine people. However, I personally do not know of a reliable way to support the Ukraine except by paying your income taxes which will become part of the 10 billion dollars that our government is planning to use in the Ukraine for purposes unknown. But I do know of a great way to support some locals who while not being attacked, are probably equally in need of help. I have been encouraging you in the last three or four Chuck’s Pages to donate to the Family Access Network (FAN). If you do it through Hoodoo as part of my birthday celebration on April 1, I will match your donation to them as I explained in a previous letter. Our push to help them ends around March 15, so I hope you will consider helping Hoodoo and myself help the local community.
Even with the lower snow base skiing and boarding has continued to be fun this winter. Our Winter Carnival which happened two weekends ago is normally our peak time for attendance, and we did set a record that WC Saturday with over 4,000 customers throughout the day. If you were there you may have noticed that cars and trucks were everywhere not to mention people. Since then our attendance, as expected, has started to drop. On most Wednesdays and Fridays you should be able to park within about a minute walk from the lodge. On Thrifty Thursdays and on Sundays the parking still goes up either side of the entry road within our parking lot but no matter when you arrive you will be parked within about three minutes of the lodge. Finally on Saturdays when we have experienced a full parking lot by 10:30 AM, now you should be able to park within view of the lodge or nearby. You no longer need to worry about arriving early. (Unless Canada comes through for us in a big way!)
This is a sad time in the world. You can help the situation by being kind to those you encounter, especially at Hoodoo.
See you on the slopes,
It seems like almost each weekend when I am in the parking lot I get a comment from someone who says “I have never seen this many vehicles at Hoodoo”. Often the comment comes from someone who as not been to Hoodoo for years. This last weekend during a fantastic Winter Carnival, I had to agree. I believe we set a record for the most people and most vehicles at Hoodoo on any day. As I indicated in my last Page, you needed to be here by 9:30 AM during Winter Carnival to park in the main parking lot. All of our parking space was gone by about 10 which meant people started parking on the Forest Service Road as they came in. Although this is not a part of our lot we helped people park there anyway but at the same time encouraged many to return later when possible. Finally around 11 the vehicles slowed down and we pulled our guys back into the main lot. Our lot holds about 1,000 vehicles. At this point there were around 1,100 parked including the USFG Road.
Part of the reason we keep our guys out there is to discourage people from parking illegally on the left side of the road as you enter. The road is really not under our control but many pay no attention to the need to park out of the way. So we try to get common sense to rule by helping people realize that if we have parking on both sides of the road we will then have a one lane road which some may remember from two years ago, means chaos on the road. However, many lost their senses and parked wherever they could, causing some vehicles to get blocked in and some blocked out.
Happily I discovered the problem soon after it started. I tried to get people to move with little luck. But we put myself and three more of the parking staff on the road giving each end of the road the ability to move about every five minutes. This kept up for about three hours until after the Dummy Downhill ended. As quickly as one vehicle pulled out of the lot another pulled in. This meant that we were full from about 10 AM to 4PM. It also meant that we had over 1,500 vehicles parked in the lot throughout the day. Due to Winter Carnival, there were hundreds of customers who were there for the fun and games and they did not purchase lift tickets so it was hard to determine how many people were up there, but it was a lot. The bowl and the lodge were full of people having fun, but I did not see evidence of lift lines that were more than a few minutes long. It was an incredible record day for Hoodoo.
I would still like to encourage skiers and boarders to arrive before 10 on Saturdays, especially if we have a warm sunny day after a good snowfall. However, for the rest of the season I believe you may see parking going up the Hoodoo road in the parking lot and that might be it. Possibly we may be parking people in the Autobahn area on a good Saturday as well, but mostly in the next month and a half you will not have to arrive at Hoodoo early unless you want to park right up in front. In spite of Spring Vacation we normally receive about half the customers in March as compared to January or December. Of course Wednesdays and Fridays are always the best days on the mountain if you want to avoid the crowds, but if you are not a season pass holder we still have three more Thursdays when you can spend up to 12 hours on the mountain for only $29. (Season pass holders always get a good deal).
On President’s Weekend, Harold the Hodag got to have his birthday sponsored with a great party that many of you attended along with three Yetis and a giant Duck from a nearby university. I hope you have marked your calendar for my birthday that we will be celebrating on Friday April, 1. I am fortunate enough to have my birthday sponsored by the Family Access Network, representing Sisters and many of our small towns in Central Oregon. Many of you, perhaps hundreds of you, have come up to me in the parking lot to thank me for keeping Hoodoo running. Many realize that this has been a labor of love for the last two decades. But if you really want to let me know that you appreciate what we are trying to do at Hoodoo, I hope you will help out our local community by contributing to FAN. When you donate let FAN know you are a Hoodoo customer. They will keep track of that and I have promised them that I will double your contributions up to $20,000. We are lucky to be able to spend our free time in the mountains. I hope that we can help those who are not so fortunate by making a donation. Many of you have told me that you appreciate me. I want you to know that I appreciate you too! Thanks for helping our ski community.
You get a break today, no politics. Please pray for peace.
See you on the slopes,
It is normally hard to miss me out in the parking lot or walking around the lodge. I have taken to wearing a gold sport coat, weather permitting, and a visor showing off my lush gray hair. I am not there on all days since I really am retired except for a very background position. But you normally can see me on Fridays and Saturdays for sure. I try to be there to help on crowded days so that we can park as many of you as near to the lodge as possible. Your cooperation is certainly appreciated. We really do have good reasons on why we ask you to park in certain places. We are trying to help make it the best experience we can for the most people. We usually ask long trucks to park against the rear snow bank so that they can get out of their parking spots easier. Therefore we request that cars or shorter trucks park closer to the front. Nordic skiers may want to park in the upper lot if it is open, but please don’t make a big deal out of parking near the learning area. It really will not save you much time or energy.parking. Anywhere in the first four rows is about the same. If you want to have a fire (NO WOOD FIRES) you should let us know and we are fine with putting you back near the snow or park along the sides of the entry road.
Recently you may have noticed that I have stayed in the background in the lot with my right arm firmly against my side. I have had an overuse problem with my shoulder probably caused by trying to wave you guys down when you come into the lot and can’t seem to see me even though you almost run me over. Eventually my shoulder was in so much pain it was making me sick and I have been returning home to head to bed after only a few hours of work. Mostly I was just lying there feeling sorry for myself but from time to time I would think about how lucky I am to be able to be in bed when I needed to be and to have a warm house in which to dwell. I would have really been miserable if I had been in a cold tent out on a street corner.
I feel bad about all the problems that exist in this world. But I know that I, nor can you, begin to solve them all. But we can make ourselves better and we can make small improvements in the environment around us. Recently I watched a documentary about some people in Yamhill, a small scenic farm town in Oregon. It covered the growing problem that is happening everywhere from depression helping cause addiction and overdose along with a myriad of other health conflicts. Many of the main causes of all of this it was stated, could be solved with early intervention. We need to help our school age kids and increase the chances that they can get a college education. It just so happens that Hoodoo is offering an opportunity for all of us to help in this local effort. In the Central Oregon area there is a very effective organization, Family Access Network, FAN that uses advocates to help local school age kids in need of help along with their families to help solve some of these early life problems. Help may come in the form of clothing, food or in some cases shelter. But money is not just thrown at the problem, advocates are used to help FAN understand the individual problem. I hope you will join us in our effort that is part of my birthday celebration at Hoodoo to raise money for FAN. Click here to donate directly to FAN. Be sure to note that your donation is part of the Hoodoo drive so we can match it!
Now my political statement. What is going on when one person has the power to cause the death of tens of thousands and the possible destruction of many historic cities in order that he might satisfy his ego. If it really is ok to do this, I know of another neighbor that should be invaded. I see no reason why Canada should continue to be independent from us. I am sick of hearing all the horn honking. One of the wise Canadian leaders has informed us that each honk is code for “Heil Hitler”. Clearly we can not let this continue and I therefore suggest we March north. Just think about how popular Biden could make himself. Thanks for listening and by the way I am now headed to the doctor to get a shot in my shoulder and I expect to be back out in the lot this Friday.
See you on the slopes,
Once again it looks like almost perfect conditions are expected for the upcoming week. And this weekend is President’s Weekend followed by Winter Carnival on Saturday, Feb. 26. I can not remember ever having a season with so much sunshine and warm weather while at the same time having plenty of snow. The only thing missing has been fresh snow and after the four inches that fell today (Monday, Feb. 14) and up to four more inches expected before Wednesday, the sunshine this weekend should produce #10 days all weekend long.
I hope many of you enjoyed the Star Wars band that we borrowed from Boba Fett’s cantina in Utah (at least that is where they flew in from!). Their music produced a lot of fun on Friday and Saturday nights. We will continue with our musical night skiing this Friday night. And remember we will be open this next Monday on President’s Day!
In the last couple of Chuck’s Pages, I have shared my animosity with you toward Harold the Hodag. We have since made up now that I too have found someone willing to sponsor my birthday, I have admitted to myself that my hard feelings came from a silly jealousy. I will try to improve. I really have started to feel better about things though because I have been told by Family Access Network (FAN) that we have heard from quite a few generous Hoodoo Regulars, who have not only been willing to promote my birthday, but at the same time “invest” in one of Central Oregon’s best charities when it comes to working with needy school kids and their families. I hope you too will join these Hoodoo people in being willing to help make our area the best to live (and ski). You can donate to to FAN directly on their web site at this link and you can get more details about what is going on by looking at the past two Chuck’s Pages. There you can get details about how you can either go golfing with me this spring or summer, or get me to treat you to a dinner in Sisters. Not only that, but you can get cheapskate me to match your gift if you let them know your contribution is connected to my birthday. Mostly though, this is about me showing everyone that our Hoodoo Regulars are the best of the best in Oregon.
Now that I have buttered you up by reminding you how great you are I want to throw in some of my political wisdom. Be warned here that some of you may want to stop reading here. We have many problems with our political situation made even worse by our 24 hours a day political rhetoric heard on cable and the internet. I suppose I could easily explain to you how to make things perfect, but way too many of you might get confused by not agreeing with everything I have to say, so I will start with the easy stuff and defy you to let me know how I could possibly be wrong.
First the only way to improve the country is by first improving yourself. We are wasting our time trying to get the Democrats or the Republicans to see the error of their ways. Our news media has taken us way too far toward “1984” for that to happen. So figure out what you would like to see in people first and then became like them. You don’t have control over others but some of us at least are not so far gone that we can’t see how to improve ourselves. Look for something better and become it. But that is stuff many of you have heard too often before, so I am hereby presenting another idea and challenging anyone from showing me that I am wrong.
Way too many of our political problems stem from politicians becoming addicted to power and the trappings that come with it. Too many of our politicians are way too concerned with getting re-elected and not concerned enough about making things better for our country and for those outside our borders as well. If any politicians are wise enough to read this page, I ask you, “Do you have a full time political advisor?” If the answer is yes, you are wasting your time and ours on getting re-elected. My proposal is that, in general on a federal level, no one may be elected to serve longer than 12 years. This means 6 terms for members of Congress, 2 terms for senators and maybe 3 terms for the president. The only possible argument against this that I can see is that we possibly would be losing too much wisdom that some have built up over the years. Those who have been elected often know with whom this wisdom lies. So I propose that at each election cycle, those who have already been elected be allowed to vote on which of the current members of congress can run again up to an additional 12 years. Each election might have somewhere around four people who can run again. This means we would have up to 12 members of each house who could hold office longer, assuming their constituents voted them into office again. Each elected official might have 20 votes to determine which four members can run longer. Perhaps there might be a larger amount in the House compared to the Senate. And perhaps the House would have more votes. The large amount of votes compared to those who “win” would help smaller groupings in each body be more confident that they could elect someone to represent their group.
My proposal is this: Limited terms for most politicians, while at the same time keeping some seasoned elected officials in their offices longer so that some needed wisdom continues on. The method of reaching this goal can be determined after the first two goals are agreed upon. If anyone can give me a good argument against this, other than to say the politicians will not do it, send an email to email@example.com and give your opinion. How we keep some wisdom in the Congress is not nearly as difficult as agreeing to keep the rest limited to 12 years. Let’s agree to start there.
See you on the slopes, don’t miss out on these upcoming two great weekends,
Last week in Chuck’s Page, I expressed some indignation that Hoodoo found a sponsor for Harold the Hodag’s upcoming birthday during President’s Weekend but neither our management nor our marketing department made any effort to find a sponsor for my upcoming birthday on April 1. I was thinking of soliciting you readers of Chuck’s Page, but when I told my advisors that I wanted to limit any offers to at least 50 cents (less than 50 cents seemed sort of insulting) they then said in light of that restriction, I probably wouldn’t get any offers. I asked my wife if she would sponsor me, but she said she didn’t want to waste her money, “besides”, she said, “don’t you think you are being sort of selfish celebrating so many birthdays?” It is true that I have a birthday every year and I have done so for many years, but that doesn’t seem so bad to me. She only has a birthday every other year which has worked well for her since now she is only in her mid-thirties.
There is no reason for you to despair though. I have come up with a sponsor. The only catch is that it is a nonprofit organization and they don’t have any money to give us. But I still feel honored though since it is perhaps the best charitable organization in Central Oregon, Family Access Network otherwise known as FAN. The organization mostly works with children and their families through the school systems in Sisters, Bend, La Pine and other schools in Central Oregon. It helps make sure that the kids in these school systems have what they need to get through their school days. Often the kids and possibly their families are homeless or don’t have enough food or items to wear. Through the use of “advocates” FAN is able to determine the individual needs of those they help. I have been impressed with them enough that my companies, my family, and myself have been major supporters for about the last five years. Recently my oldest daughter (wife of Hoodoo’s general manager) joined their board of directors. No wonder they were willing to sponsor my birthday!
So I have figured out a way for all of you to be part of this after all! The idea is that through contributions to FAN, your effort will make them the named sponsor of Chuck’s Birthday. This is how it will work. On this Chuck’s Page and in other places on our website until March 15, we will give you the chance to directly contribute to FAN. Please make sure that the contribution is named as part of Chuck’s Birthday.
You can do this by donating on FAN’s web site, you can mail a check to FAN, or you can donate at the Hoodoo ticket office or at Hillside Ski and Sport in Sisters. We will try to acknowledge anyone giving FAN $100 or more and those giving $1,000 or more will be recognized as a Birthday sponsor on our Sponsorship signs. Those who are kind enough to donate $2,000 or more are invited to join me, if you would like, for golf at Widgi golf course in Bend at an arranged time in the spring or summer. If anyone gives $5,000 or more, in addition to golf, I’ll treat you to dinner at a Sisters restaurant of your choice. Of course, we will be happy to accept donations of any size. If you give us your appropriate information, FAN will send you a receipt for your tax deduction.
So at this point I hope you are having a hard time resisting, but “wait there is more”! Not only will your contribution help FAN be the sponsor for Chuck’ Birthday but if you like we will designate the contribution to support the Laura J Harward Scholarship Fund at FAN and the money will be used by FAN to help support FAN kids to attend a local community or four year college. You may recognize Laura as the young Hoodoo Regular and mother of five who recently died from breast cancer. Laura was also my third daughter. So this is a WIN-WIN-WIN-WIN situation. You win by being able to “invest” in a great community project. FAN wins by being able to “invest” in more needy kids and families, the kids win by getting a needed boast in their travels to a successful life, and most importantly I win by having my birthday sponsored along with a great party on Friday evening, April1.
Oh and by the way, any money that is invested with FAN to honor my birthday, will be matched by me. However, just in case Warren Buffet reads Chuck’s Page and has decided to teach me a lesson, my offer is capped at $20,000, at least for now. So there it is, your chance to honor me, and at the same time do something good for a bunch of local kids and families. By the way the scholarship fund is being set up to last for many years. Below is your connection to FAN’s website. Remember to include that your donation is meant for Chuck’s birthday so that your donation will be matched by me. If you don’t want your money being used for the scholarship fund, let them know, but it can still be matched if you mention my birthday.
Feb. 1, 2022
I suppose it doesn’t take a Chuck’s Page for you to realize that this next week (Wed-Sun) looks like it will be fantastic, perhaps the best conditions this season. We received about 6” of snow on Monday and Tuesday and now expect about 5 days of sunshine. Wednesday could be the best because the snow will be fresh and the parking should be easy. Thrifty Thursday, remember has daily fees that are about half price so it might be best to get to Hoodoo either before 9 or after 2. Of course your low fee is good all day until 9 PM. Friday should still be sunny and we are open from 9 to 9 and the parking should still be ok. Expect another beautiful Saturday which means the main parking lot will be full by 9:30, with parking going up the entry road by 10 or 10:30. If possible arrive before 9 or after 2. We will be open until 9 so even if you get here at 2 PM you will still have 6 or 7 hours of skiing. Sunday is from 9 to 4 and should have parking available all day in the main lot or the drive just below the front gate.
Now that I have said all of these nice things, I would like to voice a complaint for any of you who have read down this far. I have noticed that Black Butte Resort is sponsoring among other things, Harold the Hodag’s birthday on Presidents Weekend, Saturday February 19. That is very nice of them, but I am wondering first why didn’t anyone invite me to the party but more importantly why hasn’t anyone sponsored my birthday? I work hard several days a week out in the parking lot. Harold just hangs out eating skier’s socks, gloves and lately, masks. It hardly seems fair that his birthday is sponsored and my birthday (Friday, April 1) is not sponsored. So my plea to all of you is get ready to be a sponsor at Hoodoo. I have a good idea on how to get my birthday sponsored but I can’t share it yet because who knows, maybe that yeti who has started hangin with Harold might steal my idea for his birthday! So stay posted, next week’s Chuck’s Page will be about how you too can be a sponsor of a very important event that will be celebrated here at Hoodoo.
See you on the slopes,
Jan. 25, 2022
You may wonder why I would waste my entrepreneurial skills by spending so much time out in the parking lot. But I want you to know that even in my warm day gold coat my mind is always working. For instance this last week I came up with a great idea that I am willing to share with you here. Early Sunday as I walked around the parking lot I realized there must be thousands of used masks on the ground there. I have this vision of people walking out of the lodge where masks are required and then throwing them off yelling “I can’t stand these things anymore”. So before they can sensibly throw their masks into the trash, they instead rip them off and throw them into the air only to drop about every 8 feet or so throughout the lot.
So as I was walking in the morning before the vehicles started to arrive, I realized that this was a great opportunity to pick up all of these masks and then recycle them enabling someone (I would do it myself but I am way too busy thinking of stupid ideas like this) to resell the masks at, hopefully, some other ski area where they can once more be worn by accommodating citizens who are willing to do their parts by wearing the mask until after a few minutes they once again walk outside to throw their masks away, My friend, Tom Sawyer, swore to me that he thought this was a great idea and he was sure everyone would be anxious to gather up those masks and to temporarily put them into our round Gray gathering containers until they later take them away to start ironing the masks so that they look new again. I am full of good ideas like this. Good Luck.
After last week’s Chuck’s Page came out we received feedback that Steven isn’t the only one wearing a Hoodoo tattoo. Information came in from the RV section of our lot that that one of our couples decided to decorate themselves with a tattoo of Hoodoo’s own Business Bob. Our male RVer apparently has his portrait in a location that all can see, but she apparently has her’s hidden in a spot that can’t be shared (well at least normally, just think Business Bob hidden away in a secret spot, how sexy!).
All of this information about tattoos led the Shepard family members to contribute to a text that seemed to go on forever speculating on whether we should just tattoo on future season’s passes rather than coming up with a new plastic pass each year. As the text continued various observations were made. For instance, would customers get cold when they had to expose their tattoos upon entering the lifts throughout the day? Would we be guilty of sort of sexual crime when we made season pass holders who were tattooed in unmentionable areas expose them to the liftees? Finally would the picture of Business Bob get lost over the years as we had to keep adding a new date to the tattoo? Well these are all very heady thoughts to speculate upon, but then that is what the management at Hoodoo is paid to consider, you don’t need to think about it.
The following is my concise but very well thought out political thought for the week. As I was getting exhausted walking from place to place in the parking lot this last weekend I wondered if this is really the best job for a guy in his seventies. But as I thought about it I realized there are other jobs that guys in their seventies would be much worse at, like maybe pro football player or (your going to laugh at this idea) president of the United States! So if you know of any old guys who are pro football players or (shudder) presidents of our country, let them know that we have a job for which they are better suited. Just think of all the great conversations the three of us could have out there. Problem is the other two would be constantly arguing about whether we should park you on the left or right side of the lot. Oh well, life is good at Hoodoo.
My intention for this week’s Chuck’s Page was to discuss the importance of Martin Luther King and his mentors, Gandhi and Tolstoy. Thanks to the actions of these three men, millions of God’s children and their descendants have been able to experience a new found liberty that will hopefully continue to grow through the generations. However, you don’t need me to tell you about the importance of this “fight” for racial and/or class freedom. At this point I hope everyone recognizes how the real fight for better circumstances comes through the non-violent behavior of great men and women who inspire us to follow them to do better.
After that exciting information I hate to do this to you but once again I feel the need to clear my anger by regurgitating this political observation and thus cleansing my inner self. So as usual I am hereby warning you that the following is from my own lifelong learnings and is not meant to ruin your day too. So if you feel you are better off staying in a political darkroom rather than receiving information from me, I strongly encourage you to stop reading here!
Last week as I was driving home from Hoodoo, I heard the following on NPR. I am not going to tell you which politician was making this speech since my observation is not about him, but rather about the “1984” method that is being used to instruct us on all sorts of levels.
In this case the statement was made that the bill encouraging the federalization of voting rights was actually a civil rights bill! You might even agree with that. But then he went on to say that he hoped that some Republicans would be courageous enough to join with their brothers of the 60s who had the courage to join the Democrats in passing the Civil Rights Bill of 1964. It is true that after about 50 years of attempts by the Republican Party to pass some form of the Civil Rights bill it was prevented from being passed largely because of the efforts by the Democratic Party until President John Kennedy. Kennedy proposed this bill and then after his assassination, President Johnson who before this was largely thought of as a racist, took over the fight which he felt was not so much about the color of one’s skin but rather about the need for everyone to be able to participate in America’s democracy. Johnson had a way of getting things done and he was able to get this momentus bill passed by a vote of 73 to 27 in the Senate and 290 to 130 in the Congress.
An incredible amount of the credit for this should go to Johnson who in spite of his lies that that led to millions of deaths in Vietnam (50,000 of them American), he did use his influence to sway the large Democratic majority to change their votes and pass this important Civil Rights bill which Martin Luther King gave his life to have passed. However to imply that a few Republicans had the courage to stand with the Democrats is a huge bit of misinformation suitable for the history “correction” administrators found in the book “1984”. In truth in the senate after a 74 day filibuster put on by the Democrats the Senate passed the bill in spite of a no vote that consisted of 78% Democrats. In the Congress a similar fight took place but the bill was passed in spite of a no vote that consisted of 74% Democrats.
I admit that the Democratic Party of today has its problems but is no where near the racist group it once was, so I am not implying that a Civil Rights bill of today could not or would not be championed by Trump’s nemesis. However, come on, I am still trying to figure out how the Democrats transformed themselves into what they sell as the party of the minorities. And much to their credit, in my mind, the first African American President was a Democrat. 50 years ago it would have been considered impossible to have the party of the KuKluxKlan become led by Obama. But much to the Democrats honor and the Republicans shame the change did happen but I am sorry speech writer and giver, that is not how it was in 1964. Besides the bill about voting has very little to do with civil rights, at least in my mind. It is about whether the power over voting will continue to be under the power of the states or changed to be under the control of the federal government. My prediction is that if this were to pass it would give more power to the Democrats in the short term but once the Republicans eventually regain the power over the federal government, I suspect they will use this new power to make sure that it is a long time before the Democrats come into power again. Trump will find a way to live and be President forever.
Now aren’t you happy you wasted all of this time reading my rant? Might be a while before you do that again.
See you on the slopes, especially you, Steven Railey,
I hate to repeat myself on this page. They are already boring enough, but the following information really is worth knowing and the readers of Chuck’s page will have an advantage by following my advice.
Many of you have commented to me about the incredible amount of skiers and boarders that are showing up this year, especially on sunny days. The lift lines which are normally nonexistent have been up to 10 minutes. This is a whole lot better than the hour long lines seen at least one of our larger competitors but it is longer than what Hoodoo regulars normally experience. We are trying to do our best to keep the lifts turning and the lines shorter.
Of course the lift lines are meaningless if you can’t find a place to park and that is what this page is about. Here is the sad news. If the day is expected to have new snow with sunny skies as is expected this next week, the parking lot will fill up quickly. At Hoodoo we feel that our parking lots are full with about 1,000 vehicles which means about 3,000 customers. We have 6 sections to our parking lot. The main section in front of the lodges holds about 500 vehicles and on a sunny day and on most Saturdays fills up by about 9 AM. The next section that we fill on a big day is the area in front of Ed Chair. Many of you season pass holders who do not need to buy a lift ticket, prefer to park here in order to be near Ed. This section is often full by 9:30. If you park an RV over night this is where we would put you but it is hard for longer vehicles to get out of this section before 4PM. We can park about 100 vehicles here.
As we go along the vehicles that come in are encouraged to park along either side of the entry road. To some of you this seems like a long ways away so you go past our parking guides thinking that you will find a closer spot. However, since those closer spots were taken by those who showed up before 9 you will often go around and around only to come back and find that the road too is now full. The road which can park another 100 vehicles is usually full by 10 AM. The next section to be filled is the two tiered parking area just above the ski lesson area. If you are a season pass holder for cross country skiing this is your best place to park. You may park there at any time until it fills up which will be about 10:15. It holds about 50 vehicles.
At this point we send you to the Autobahn parking lot. This section is harder to find but is often a preferred area for those who like to start or end at the Ed Chair. This section is where our employees park on these big days. It is our second largest area and holds up to about 200 vehicles. Finally we encourage customers to park in the new parking area along the entry road to the Autobahn. This is the best parking lot for day only RV parking. This area which holds about 50 vehicles is the last of the Hoodoo free parking lots.
If you arrive after 11 on most Saturdays, you will find that our lots are full. My advice at this point is for you to drive down to Sisters, have lunch, do some shopping and enjoy the town. From about 11 to 3 parking is VERY FRUSTRATING for all of us. But people start leaving by 3 and we are still open for another six hours until 9 PM. You should be able to drive right up to the front after 3 and find a spot to park.
Many wonder if they are allowed to drive to the front to drop off. The answer is a heart felt yes. Please let our parking guides know that this is what you are doing. However, realize that almost everyone who drops off thinks they are clever and will find a place to park in front. If you are one of these lucky people who are part of the 20 cars circling he lower lot and do see an open spot, please take it, but in general parking for you will probably be back where those guys in the neon yellow coats are standing. Look for them for help.
When all of our spots are gone one of the guides then walks the lots looking for openings. If he finds one he calls up to the top to send someone down. If you are one of those lucky people, be happy but come earlier, if you can, next time.
At this point people start parking along the entry Forest Service Road. We do not have permission to stop you from parking on the right side as you enter, but please realize that you are no longer in a Hoodoo parking area. You should have a Sno-Park permit to park here. We do have permission to stop people from parking on the other side of the road. We will likely drag your vehicle away from this section if you are stopping the flow of traffic. There are two sections where cars do park on that side. Thy are both outside of Forest Service rental cabins and only they have permission to park there.
In summary, if you live in Bend or closer try to leave your house before 9 or after 2PM. If you live in the Valley, try to leave no later than 8 but realize that they are still logging that area from the fires of 2020. That could hold you up. If you can get through the area from 20 to 50 miles outside of the Valley before 8 you normally will not hit a flag area. If you just can not get to Hoodoo before 11 or maybe even 10 on certain Saturdays like MLK Weekend, consider dropping off the group and then the driver could enjoy Sisters before returning to park around 3. If you have to park on the FS road and you are in a Group drive up to the lodge. Park as close to the building as possible while unloading and then leave as fast as possible. Do not stop in the interior roads in the parking lot. Once you impede the flow of traffic we start having big problems. Also if you stop on one of these roads often someone will pull up next to you and park like in last week’s Chuck’s Page. Then we have to start dragging vehicles out of the lot. No one likes that! Also please do not think you are being clever by moving the cones so that you can get a closer spot. Last Saturday someone did that thinking they were not in the way but instead stopped the flow of two way traffic until we were able to drag the truck out of the way.
This advice is applicable on most sunny bluebird days except probably on Wednesdays when we rarely fill up. Friday is the next safest day and then Sunday. Saturday will usually fill up except in bad weather. Thursdays too can sometimes get very crowded. President’s Weekend is our most crowded time and Winter Carnival is also very popular. Please plan accordingly. Sorry none of this was funny!
See you on the slopes,
Many moons ago when I was in high school, I was a decent student. I always made the honor roll, but now many years later, I realize I could have and should have done much better. My mind normally wasn’t on academics but rather on football, working and girls. I loved football and was the co captain of our team. I really had no talent but I thought I did which made all the difference back then. I came from a family in which I never felt wanting, but if I needed anything extra I had to work for it, and I was always a willing worker. However, I never did make enough money to afford ski trips back then.
Finally like any other teenage boy I spent more time thinking and hanging out with girls than I should have. My time wasn’t all wasted though, I did find a girl friend who was willing to tutor me in Spanish and some other subjects in which I was lacking. I was a quick learner in some of those other subjects, but I never was very good in learning languages.
In college and later in the Navy I found that another language besides English and Spanish was often spoken. The language did not have many words to learn but the intonations were often difficult for me to master. The words interestingly all started with “F” unless they had the word “Mother in front of them. Basically the words were f__k, f
After a three hour drive, twice the normal trip time, I finally reached our entry road only to discover that not only had the road not been plowed by ODOT but to make matters worse they had pushed snow from the highway into our entry area making it a one lane road for about 1/8 of the last mile. The Hoodoo guys did try to clear this up earlier with our equipment but the situation got worse anyway by about 4 pm when everyone was trying to leave. I tried to turn in to go get help but there was no way to head toward Hoodoo as the road was blocked at the entry and there were hundreds of cars in line waiting to get out.
I felt there was little for me to do but get out on the highway and stop traffic in order to get things moving. Almost as soon as I started to do this a couple very kind and courageous men who were on their way into Hoodoo to pick up their children, stopped to help. I could not have done this without them. With a lot of generous understanding from most of the people who were already barely moving along on the highway, we were able to move all the cars out. I saw the best in a lot of people. This is why I love living in Oregon. There are states where this would have been almost impossible to accomplish. However, we did seem to have a few people leaving Hoodoo who must have been visiting from out of state. About a dozen in a line that eventually amounted to a few hundred decided that they didn’t want to wait in line so they pulled into the incoming lane and drove up until that lane no longer existed and then they cut into the single lane. Not only was that extremely selfish but it was also just plain stupid. One guy swung around the cars in front of him and then cut in line and got stuck holding everyone up once more. A guy who was behind him ran up furious. I thought he was going to slug the driver, I would not have blamed him, but instead he joined the rest of us who were trying to overcome the driver’s stupidity and get him unstuck. If the driver of that vehicle reads this, I would like to strongly encourage you to do a few nice things for people to make up for the kindness shown to you especially by the guys you wronged.
As I have already written, I hate lines too but I do not cut in front of people, especially like this where we were all in this together. The other bad part was that only about 1 out of 4 people were using their blinkers. So when they finally reached the front we had to waste our time running up to their cars to find out which way they were going so that we knew which lines of traffic to stop.
Eventually we got everyone out and received a lot of “thank yous” from the people who were helped. I would also like to give a huge thank you to the men who helped control the traffic and those who helped the half dozen or so cars that got stuck as they were trying to get out to the highway. If this happens again to any of you, and it has happened before unfortunately, if you can, call into the lodge so that we can get out to help. It was just lucky that I happened to get to Hoodoo when I was needed.
I spent the night at Hoodoo and got up about 3 the next morning to start our plowing early and to make sure whatever damage that had been done already in the morning at the entry had been fixed (although we did send out a blower to clean up the mess last night after we got most of the cars out in the evening.) However, I was surprised to find that our guys were already hard at work moving the snow from the roads (including ODOTs road) and parking lot. Today went well thanks to a lot of willing hands from guys who are putting in 12 hour plus days when they are needed.
The powder was near perfect and we even had a little bit of sunshine. We are expecting the days to keep getting better right up through New Years Day. So Happy New Year to all of you. Remember we are open all week from 9 am to 9 pm, but it is still best to pull in before 10 am or after 1 pm, although we have not had any parking problems yet.
No politics today. You need a break.
OPENING DAY AND WORKING TOGETHER
After I finished my circuit working in the parking lot this morning, I ran into my 17 year old grandson, Finney. (Actually his first name is Charles, named after me, and his middle name is Finney,) Finney and two of his friends showed off their “first tracks” masks and explained to me that they had gotten in line about 6:45 in order to win that award. I laughed and said you do realize that you are in a position to get up the lift before everyone else, don’t you? You could have had first tracks without waiting at all”, I reminded him. But he made me proud when he told me that doing that would not be fair. He wanted to earn his first on the lift and first tracks experience fairly.
I am often reminded by our Hoodoo Regulars that we have the best employees. (Hoodoo Regulars are people who seem to spend as much time at Hoodoo as customers as I do as the owner. They too take pride in “their ski area”.). Both Finney and his friends, and our employees have learned that most important rule, that is, it’s of paramount importance to treat others as you too would like to be treated. Using one’s position in the running of the mountain for advantage isn’t any more fair than treating our customers any differently than we too would like to be treated in the same position. I am proud of my grandson and I am pleased with our employees for understanding this all important lesson.
Here is where Chuck’s Page takes a political turn. Please stop reading this if you think knowing or reading Chucks opinion is a waste of time. I was listening to NPR on Oregon Public Radio and they were reporting Russia’s demands to have NATO and the US military pull their troops out of Eastern Europe if we wanted Russia to back off the Ukraine border. The NPR reporter sounded incredulous. “Of course America would never take a demand like seriously”, he said. I realize that my views can seem pretty right winged at times. I mean I still think that it is not too absurd to think that Trump might have been cheated out of his election. But I differ with Trump on his admonition that America must always be first. I think maybe it might be time for us to treat others the way we would like to be treated ourselves.
How would we feel if Russia and its allies kept troops or missiles on our Canadian or Mexican borders. Or as we found out 60 years ago we wouldn’t like them even to be in Cuba. So why should we with our NATO allies be keeping our troops on Russia’s borders or be angry when they threaten to expand their borders in order to protect their country. Treating others as we would like to be treated works on all sorts of levels. I agree we should Make America Great Again. I would like to be in MAGA country. I just disagree on how we should get there. This isn’t a football game. There can be, and should be two or more winners. Just like I like to think that Hoodoo owners, employees, and customers can all finish each day like today, as winners.
Dec. 12, 2021
Right when it looks like the new season at Hoodoo will never start, the familiar smell from my childhood that announces new snow fills the air again and then the white stuff starts to fall. I grew up in Wisconsin (home of the Hodag) and by high school age, I could tell you how much snow we were about to get from the smell in the air. Truly a 30” dump smells different than a few inches. It is great to have that smell return to our mountain. I don’t stay at the lodge as much as I used to so my smeller is not as accurate as it once was, but with over 30 inches already on the ground and another foot or so expected, I don’t need my nose’s abilities to tell you that it looks like the new season will start this next weekend.
The exact day of opening is left up to our general manager Matthew McFarland. He is the guy who wears those strange suits that Santa Claus probably wears when he goes to church. When you see him, you will know what I mean. Anyway, Matthew and his crew spent the summer tearing everything apart and then reassembling it to make sure we are safe with a minimum of breakdowns. Now our employees, mostly familiar to us, but some new to the Hoodoo family, have started to gather once more to take care of the last minute details like filling the freezers with food, shampooing the carpets, and waxing all the rental equipment.
Once again, at least on crowded days, you can plan on seeing me in the parking lot trying to make sure your experience will be a good one. I enjoy people saying hello and I am willing to listen to your ideas, compliments, or even complaints as long as you are willing to run from spot to spot with me as I try to help make the parking process go a little smoother.
By the way, those of you who live on the eastside of Hoodoo, this year we have opened Hillside Ski and Sport in downtown Sisters where you can more easily pick up rentals or get your season passes if you did not already order them on the mountain. Hillside is open for gift certificates, new skis, and winter clothing, all of which are perfect for Christmas presents. Hillside is very conveniently located on Sister’s Main Street on the southeast side of town. We are open for rentals by the season or by the day. It is well located for High Desert people headed to Hoodoo or for those of you from the Valley who are headed to Bachelor Ski Area (for those of you not familiar, Bachelor is our younger but bigger brother that many people go to before they discover Hoodoo). Even Bachelor renters are welcome to get their equipment at Hillside which should help make your ski experience there cheaper and with fewer lines.
Hoodoo Ski Area
THE END IS COMING! (THIS IS NOT A COVID PREDICTION)
Or maybe this is a Covid prediction since I am referring to the end of the Hoodoo season and hopefully next year this whole pandemic thing will be like a forgotten nightmare. This Chuck’s Page is the all and everything about what is happening over the next month before the 20/21, Year of the Covid 19, season is done. I will take you through this day by day.
But first I want to remind everyone with AnyCards, coupons or any type of freebie that these must be used by the end of this season. Don’t put off using them only to realize that it might be raining or windy or some other type of non-Hoodoo day. The weather this upcoming weekend is supposed to be spectacular with lots of new snow and then lots of sun. A great way to end the vacation and to almost end a great season.
Spring Vacation has been a return to normalcy, no parking on the FS Big Lake Road, no long lines and great new snow mixed with sun. This weekend in March, as Spring Vacation ends we will continue to be open from 9 AM through 9 PM. But starting next week there is something to watch for most every day. First of all don’t forget to take advantage of our spring sale on our 21/22 season pass that is also effective for the end of this season and through the summer at the Hillside Ski and Sports Store. You can even get a 10% discount on skateboards during the summer with your 21/22 season pass along with lots of other retail items at the store. (The passes will also be available at Hillside but buy them before the Spring sale is over).
This upcoming week, Wednesday, March 31 thru Saturday, April 3, marks the last of night skiing,. To kick off this weekend on Wednesday we are lowering our night skiing price to $25 (4 PM – 9 PM) INCLUDING your ski or board rentals. Even if you have a season pass you must know a friend who would like to take advantage of this more than half off sale. (adult prices). Then comes Thursday April 1. I know we have told you that Thrifty Thursday is over but April Fools! On April 1 the price for everyone from 9 AM – 9 PM is our ever popular $25 price. Then on Friday we are having some other kind of sale, but I was not told what it would be. Please follow Hoodoo on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for those updates on those specials. Then as I have already said, Saturday should be remembered as our last night skiing night. Sunday we will be open from 9 AM – 4 PM.
As usual we will be closed Monday and Tuesday, April 5 and 6, but then we will also be closed on Wednesday, April 7. On Thursday we do not have Thrifty Thursday but it is the La Pine Family Kitchen Day, when you can bring food amounting to four cans of food or something similar to be used at the La Pine Family Kitchen. The food will entitle you to ski 9 AM thru 4 PM. Season pass holders of course do not have to bring food but it might be nice anyway. I hope that the whole town of La Pine will show up to support the Kitchen! Oh, and by the way if you forget to bring any food we will accept a $25 donation to go toward the Kitchen. (Just like Thrifty Thursday only Hoodoo doesn’t keep the money!) On Friday once again I am kept in the dark, but I was told I could find out what is going on if I look at upcoming Facebook or Instagram page if I can figure out how. Saturday and Sunday will be normal except that on both days we close at 4 PM.
The next week in April we will be closed midweek but then open Friday through Sunday from 9 AM thru 4 PM. Sunday, April 18 is officially our last day of the season. I am sorry we will not have our popular Spring Fling this year, but make sure you are there next year! Monday, April 19 we are open for employees only. I hope all of our season long employees will be there or if you cannot be please let your manager know that you will not make it. Employees who have not left early will be eligible for a season long bonus. (Remember, we told you about that before the season started).
Finally, we believe that we will be closed after that. I know we may have 8 feet of snow and beautiful sunny days, but after mid-April it is hard to keep employees and customers. So assume we will be closed after mid-April and perhaps we might surprise you by opening the next weekend, but at this point it will be a surprise to me as well. If you show up to ski or board after Sunday April 17, please realize that the lifts will not be turning, the patrol will not be there in case of an injury, but on the other hand I won’t be there to kick you off the hill if you walk up and ski down (NO SNOWMOBILES,THOUGH.).
Thank you for a great season. We are already excited about and looking forward to next year’s season without masks and with the use of the lodge. We also plan to have about 100 more parking sites with the expectation that we will no longer have parking on the USFS Road going to Hwy 20.
Hoodoo Ski Area
Spring Skiing at Hoodoo is the MOST fun
Almost 20 years ago we took our oldest grandchild, Jordan (aka Dooba, thus Dooba’s Decent) skiing at Hoodoo. She was all of about four years old at the most, and after a day on the snow on skis she was asked how she liked the day. Her happy reply was “Skiing at Hoodoo is the MOST fun”. That phrase has been a family joke ever since. However, as I was thinking about what I wanted to relate this week, my main thought was about how much fun it is to ski anywhere (especially Hoodoo of course) under the warm sun. The snow can get sticky by the end of the day (and then great again at night) but it can be of great quality during most of the day. Part of what makes it fun and the irony of the season is that right when skiing gets to the best conditions, many of our customers take off to do something else in the early season like golfing or gardening, and thus no lines. It is the same thing for us in December. Even though conditions are usually not that good yet in December, almost everyone cannot wait to come up. The snow may be slim with an occasional rock sticking out in December, but skiers and boarders just can’t wait to get out. Now in March with great conditions and eight feet of snow on the mountain people start to golf in the snow or break up the frozen ground to plant their flowers way too early.
In order to encourage you to keep coming up, we have a nice incentive to make it worth your while to be at Hoodoo. Our 2021-22 season pass sale started today, Wednesday, March 17. If you are new to the pass, you really get a great deal because if you buy the pass now you ski the rest of this season for free with next season’s pass. If you pick up next year’s pass this spring, you get to skip the long line next year on opening day when you normally have to wait for your pass to be processed while you would much rather be out on the slopes. In addition, of course, most of you save a lot of money by getting your pass now. Adults and college students can get their passes for $479. For adults that is a saving of $220, almost 50%! Students save $70 only because we keep your rates lower all year, but it is still worthwhile. The junior (ages 8-12) price is $199 and even though their winter price is still low at $249, it is still worthwhile to plan ahead for the kids, especially if your child turns 13 before next season. Youth prices are still low, $399 in the spring and $449 in the winter, but buying early for your 12 about to be 13 year old is very smart. Finally, for you seniors like me we just keep your prices low the whole time at $449 because we seniors don’t like to plan ahead like we used to so our prices need to stay low the whole time (Yes, I know that was a bigoted statement, but give me a break, this is my page after all). Seniors are 65+ which is a nice deal because you really are not very old at the young age of 65. In fact, if you are in your 70s, you are still young enough to work in the Hoodoo parking lot or run for president or Oregon Governor although I do not guarantee performance by the 70+ crowd for any of those jobs.
You can purchase season passes in person at Hoodoo or buy them easily online at skihoodoo.com/season-passes and pick them up later.
So, prices are lower in the spring, new season pass holders get to ski for free this season and you get a great discount on retail items at Hoodoo’s Hillside Ski and Sports Store in Sisters or up at Hoodoo while we are still open. The Hillside will be selling new skis. A 10% discount could get you a $200 discount or more on your top of the line skis and boards, not to mention winter clothing for the mountain. You can also use your pass to get discounts at some of the local restaurants in Sisters. Ask when you go in or make your reservations.
There are other advantages to being a passholder as well. For instance, passholders are eligible to reserve their RV sites first and can get a multiday pass for an RV site. In general, it is anticipated that hookups will be $50 per night and dry camping will be $25 per night. Season passholders will be eligible to reserve their RV sites first. Details about reservations for RVs will be published soon, but on crowded holidays it is possible that only season passholders will be able to reserve a site for overnight parking in our parking lot. We are planning on increasing the amount of hookups for RVs, but dry camping will be limited to newly established sites only, as opposed to this year when our dry camping sites were somewhat unlimited. An exception to this is on the Big Lake Road area where we hope to expand dry camping for RVs and they will probably only be reserved out when we are crowded, like during the winter vacation time. If you are currently a season pass dry camper make sure you let us know that you want to be able to tentatively reserve sites for next year when you purchase your ski season pass. I know a lot of you are concerned that you might not get a spot. Since we will have more hookup sites and almost as many total dry camping sites we do anticipate that there should be room for all of you that plan ahead. (and have at least one season pass). One final item on RVs is that we are planning on having overnight parking by permit only in connection with your RV site. Any vehicle without a permit might be towed to Sisters by a towing company if it snows. Again RV people will get more information about overnight parking before the end of this season to make sure this does not happen to you.
I want to remind any of you who have taken advantage of getting a great rate on your rental skis or boards (or ski bikes!) for this last season. If you want to continue keeping your rental for late season skiing at other ski areas you can start your rental for next season now. If you want to keep what you are using let us know but you are welcome to turn them into us first to get them waxed and tuned (at Hoodoo or Hillside) before taking them out again. Also, if you really liked your skis or boards and anticipate keeping them for awhile you are welcome to ask about purchasing them. The rent you paid for this last season greatly decreases your purchase price. This can all be done at the mountain or at our new Hillside Ski Store in Sisters while you are purchasing your ski pass.
For those wondering about our daily prices next year, we are announcing our tentative price. We no longer will be selling an early day pass. Our pass will be good all day from 9 AM to 9 PM (except Sundays) with the tentative cost during non-holiday days of $65 for adults and $40 for juniors 8-12. This is actually a $4 DECREASE for all day skiing. I anticipate that peak pricing will be about $15 more. ($1 increase on total price). The night skiing only price will be $35 for adults and $25 for juniors (slight increase) with $10 more during peak times. We will also have a late day 1PM to 9 PM price. On Thursdays it is anticipated that our price will continue in the twenties at $29, more than a 50% discount off regular day pricing. Anycards, good for 5 daily passes for anyone will cost $310. We anticipate that they will continue to be sold at ski shops in Sisters, (Hiillside), Eugene, (Berg’s) and Corvallis (Peak).
Final word on this subject, Anycard holders for the 2020-21 season make sure that you use up your card. They are a good deal, but they are for one season only. Last year’s Anycards got carried over because we were closed unexpectedly, but you need to use all your days for this season.
For your calendars, our anticipated change ending the season starts after the first week in April. We do not anticipate being open Wednesday, April 7 but will be open the next day on Thursday (Sorry Thrifty Thursday is over) and through that weekend. The next weekend we will be open on April 16-18. If there is a still a demand we may also be open Saturday April 24 and Sunday April 25. Our April schedule will be further finalized after spring vacation. We’ll have updates for each individual date posted on our Events Calendar.
Driving and Parking Advice
For those of you headed to Hoodoo from the Valley side you may have experienced some frustrating delays on the highways. Please be patient because these workers are cleaning up the mess from the summer fires. I had to wait in line for at least a half hour today, but normally, if you get within a half hour of Hoodoo by 8 you will usually get past this area before the roads start to be shut down. This will get you to our lot by 8:30. For the most part the overflow parking on the Big Lake Road has ended and if you get to our lot by 8:30 you should be able to park in the main parking lot below the entry road. You will then be within minutes of your vehicle from the lodge. If you can’t get going that early and you do have to wait in line on the roads, don’t worry, the time of people parking on the USFS road or even in the Autobahn Parking lot unless you want to, seems to have ended.
See you on the slopes and next week,
Hoodoo Ski Area
Stay informed, read Chuck’s Page (and pad his ego)
There is some evidence that people are actually reading Chuck’s Page. The evidence starts with lots of you telling me that you do read it, although I am wondering how carefully you are reading the details since almost all of you have told me that you like it. Further evidence is the fact that people are starting to come into the parking lot either before 10 AM or after 12 PM as I have requested. Of course, most likely this is just a coincidence, but we have not had people parking on the USFS Road for a couple of weeks. This last weekend people parked in the main lot in front of the lodge and then quickly filled the Ed lot between the main lot and the shops. We then park people up the entry road and finally in the new Upper lot which actually is fairly close to the lodge and is the closest lot to the cross-country trails. When these four areas are full we send you over on the Big Lake Rd to the Autobahn Parking lot which is located just above the shops, but can be reached either from the Big Lake Rd or from the Ed lot. These lots have continued to mostly get filled before 10. But the last week it has slowed down. Around noon or so people start leaving the main lot making room for a few others. By 1 PM about as many people are leaving the main lot as those arriving making it so that no one needs to park outside of our lots. Thank you for making this an easier process.
This has been a great season. Mostly we suspect it has been so because of the almost ideal snow that has fallen since just before Thanksgiving Weekend. Of course, Covid 19 helped since kids for the most part did not have to be in school which freed up families to ski when they wanted, although it also hurt us badly because we have had to close the lodge which hurt food, beverage and retail sales. But overall it has been the best first three months ever at Hoodoo. Now people are starting to ask me how much longer the season will last. We normally try to keep things going at least until mid-April. If we have good snow (as we do now) the season could last until the end of April, but it rarely lasts longer because people’s interest starts moving on to other things and there is no longer the demand to stay open. So, my guess is that our season will last longer than usual but probably not later than the end of April when we run out of both guests and employees who start having summer commitments. After spring vacation which will end on the last weekend in March we start switching to running on weekends only. Again, this depends upon demand and our ability to keep employees. I am guessing we will be open on at least the first Wednesday and Thursday in April and maybe the second, but after that we will go to weekends only until we close. However, if the demand is strong we hope to stay open.
This is also when we start thinking about having a spring sale on season passes. One of the great attractions to this sale is that the passes are good starting the day you buy them. So, if you want to ski for free during spring vacation buy next year’s season pass early and we will let you ski on next year’s pass. For many of you this is not much of a help anymore since you may already be passholders. In fact we have a huge record of season passholders along with the dailies. But not everyone holds a Hoodoo Season Pass. You might mention this sale to any friends you may have that you are hoping to ski with next year at Hoodoo. Tell them if they will commit to buying a season pass for next year in the spring, then you will treat them to the rest of this year. Let them think you are a hero!
As usual season passholders get a bunch of add on advantages that soon will be listed on the season pass page on the website, but one of our normal add ons is your 10% discount on retail items (that is in addition to any spring sales!). This year that perk will be better than ever, because it will also be honored at our new Hillside Ski and Sports Store in Sisters. Not only will we be carrying our normal ski items like goggles, winter clothing and T-shirts, but we will also be selling new skis and boards plus a whole array of the new style of skate boards that can be propelled by a special padded stick. These boards are from 3 to 6 feet long and they are not your parent’s skateboards. Some of the best boards will be priced over $600 and so a gratuitous discount of 10% will be very helpful. We intend to keep the store open during the winter and summer and probably most of the spring and fall as well. From a financial point of view buying next year’s pass is always better in the spring due to its much lower price, but now there is more reason than ever with the pass good for a discount at Hillside. Make sure you keep your pass in your wallet though because the store will most likely NOT have a list of passholders to look at if you do not have your pass on you. Prices and more details will be out soon. The sale will start before Spring Vacation.
As for political quips this week, I am on vacation. Actually I am working, but at my real job dealing with real estate investment. This week I am in Phoenix staying at our office there. The early morning temperatures are similar to Eugene and Bend with about 40 degrees, but as the day goes on it reaches up to 80 while for me going to Hoodoo normally, the temps head down to the 20s. I love the snow, but playing golf under the sun isn’t so bad either.
See you on the slopes and next week,
Hoodoo Ski Area
P.S. I have found out that ski lift ticket prices are a bargain compared to golf prices which vary from $100 to $300 in Phoenix and that is for only four hours!
What are two things that driving and skiing have in common?
First both can be difficult to do in the snow. They need concentration and skill to go through the snow effectively without hurting yourself or others. Second, an accident doing both things is YOUR fault when you have been drinking. Someone runs into you – their fault. You have been drinking – your fault. Most people are smart enough and responsible enough to realize that drinking and driving is something like closing your eyes and shooting a gun in an arbitrary direction in front of you. That would be stupid and irresponsible. What about drinking and skiing? Fine for you. You drink, you ski into a tree and you die (sometimes). We in the ski industry see this happen way too often. It is sad for your family and it is sad for your local ski resort owner. However, you ski into someone else and kill or hurt them your life can be ruined which is perhaps worse than dying. You are forever in debt to the family you disrupted through your foolishness. I know you didn’t mean to, but you gave up any excuse when you took that drink that caused your accident.
Unfortunately, this pertains to way too many people this year. We have had to take away tickets from people skiing or boarding drunk at least once per week according to the ski patrol. I saw one idiot, drunk as a fool, at 10:30 AM. He was on his way out and of course wanted to fight all of us. Drinkers, he is your representation. Please, please do not drink and ski. This was not much of a problem before when drinking legally, had to happen in the lodge where we could watch over it. I wish we could do breathalyzer tests as you get on the lifts. If I can figure that out, I will do it, but meanwhile please just pretend that if you drink and ski you will get caught, hopefully before you hurt someone, when it could change your life. I wonder how many of you reading this are saying to yourself, “It is about time Chuck finally wrote this!” (Some of you are saying “Why doesn’t he mind his own business”, but this is my business!)
On to more pleasant things. You RVers are probably the ones drinking the most, but hopefully only after your day on the trails is done. And in appreciation for that, I am going to try to make your stay with us better next year. In 2000 we added about 20 new RV sites. We are going to take out 16 to 18 of those. We will replace them with long truck parking along the snow bank as you are going to the lodge. The main road into the parking lot will continue along the same path, but instead of going between the car parking area and the RVs it will now have trucks on the left and car parking on the right. Also we will continue to have long trucks parked at the back snow bank along with those of you who are in shorter vehicles and would like to put up a tent either behind your vehicle if there is room or up on the snow. Remember though please NO FIREWOOD when you are cooking or have a fire of any sort in or next to the parking lot.
We plan to install about 20 more RV hookups in the ED parking lot near the two shops. We will have 10 sites on each side. The sites will be wide enough to use pull outs without having to rent two sites and all of them will be equipped with a 50 amp hookup. Most of them will be about 40 feet long. We hope that most of you will have room to either keep your vehicle hooked up to your trailer or will have room to park your car or truck next to or sideways at your site. The cost of the sites may go up to $50 but you will not need two sites for larger rigs. We are also trying to locate the sites so that they will be easier to get into and out of for most of the day.
We will provide a few sites for overnight parking for your extra vehicles near these sites, but in general we will not allow any overnight vehicles outside of the RV hookups. Vehicles left in the parking lot will be towed to Sisters especially if it looks like we will need to plow. However, along with widening the parking near the shops for the RV hookup sites we will also be improving the parking along the road from our front gate to the entrance of the Autobahn parking lot. We put in those sites last year but this summer they will be enlarged and a road will be constructed going into the woods there. This inner area will especially be for employees staying overnight and perhaps for daily employee parking as well. We will put in a walk way from this area down into the main parking. This hopefully will give our employees better parking then they have now above the shop.
The sites along the road will be improved and enlarged for more overnight RV parking. Those sites will probably be for a nominal fee, but first come first served. We may ask for people wanting to use them to let us know so that we will have an idea if they will be full. If that does fill up overnight parking may be available at Ray Benson with the opportunity to move your RV to our ED lot during the day only. In general though the area below the new RV parking in the ED parking lot will be for four rows of cars and will be parked so that everyone can get in and out at anytime. Those extra car sites may be provided with power for future needs of electric cars.
Finally, the Autobahn parking may be enlarged for more vehicles and the area near the sledding hill will have about 20 more RV sites for hookups. All RV sites will be by reservation. These sites will probably cost less than the others because they may not be available until 4PM due to other cars being in the way. RV sites in general will be available from 4 PM to 3 PM. If you would like to come up earlier and your site is occupied, we are hoping there will be room for you either at our road side parking on the Big Lake Rd or at Ray Benson until you can move in at 4 PM.
It is our intention to encourage season long ski and/or board rentals that will be easily available from the Hillside Store in Sisters. Daily or weekend rentals will also be available. Daily rentals will continue to be available for Hoodoo or Bachelor and we will enlarge our inventory of cross-country skis. We will also be selling Daily tickets for Hoodoo from there for the next day. We may make Anycards available from there as well. We will enlarge the store use as much as possible until the store starts having lines. Everything we are doing is meant to decrease lines not increase them somewhere else.
Some changes that we have made for this year seem to be working well and may be continued next year as well. Selling food to those people who do not want to come in the lodge may continue from the windows but without Covid we will be able to put out more chairs. Lessons too may continue to be partially run from the outside area.
In most ways this has been a very good year for us, the best financially. It has enabled us to start filling many of the holes that previous year’s losses have dug. But sometimes one can have too much success. It happens in many businesses. We realize that the many who are faithful to Hoodoo are so because we rarely have lines, we are friendly and low key. They have never had to reserve a parking space and normally don’t have to walk far from their cars to the lifts. If Hoodoo can’t provide those things we may continue to be successful or not, but we will not be the Hoodoo that everyone loves and we are aware of that. We have already cut back on our marketing although that will be watched carefully. We will try to make improvements that cut back the lines and train our employees so that they can handle the pressure of more guests (this has been my most stressful year, by far!).
I really appreciate the many nice compliments that we have received from many people who talk to me in the parking lot. I realize that a lot of you know who I am out there, but many do not and that makes talking with you guys more fun for me. If you have ways that you think we can make Hoodoo better, I am willing to listen. The above observations about drinking came from a plea from a customer who understood my desire about cutting back on the swearing but felt the drinking and smoking were a much bigger problem and I have to agree.
See you on the slopes,
Hoodoo Ski Area
USFS Road problems once again
I am really getting tired of having to explain this, tired of experiencing it and tired of all the trouble this road causes. But I am not nearly as tired of it as are those of you who got in a traffic blockage that for some lasted over two hours! I realize that there is not much any of you can do about it, but maybe some explanation will help you be more patient if it happens again and knowledgeable of what you might be able to do to help. (First try to call Hoodoo 822-3799 so that you know we are aware of the problem. We can’t always do something about it, but we always at least try.)
I know this is a repeat for many of you, but it is worth repeating anyway. As many of you know the road that goes into Hoodoo’s gate and to Ray Benson Snow Park is a USFS road that is supposed to be plowed by ODOT. Up until recently Hoodoo was told that we could not have our equipment working on this road at any time. That changed a few years ago when ODOT which is paid to plow by your Snopark permit fees, just did not show up during a particularly bad blizzard. Luckily, that day not many people were coming up to ski, but those that did show up got stuck including about three FS trucks and a couple FS cars. We then, after a lot of pleas, finally got a meeting with ODOT, the FS and Hoodoo. We wanted to take over the road plowing but we probably were not really ready to do it at that time because we did not have the right equipment back then plus ODOT was totally against it, but they did agree that we could plow when we felt we had to, however, they would not pay us to do it.
So things starting getting better, but the large trailers hauling snowmobiles to Ray Benson SnoPark still caused problems when the road was not plowed well or when people going to Hoodoo or Ray Benson decided to park on the road. Although we were allowed to plow on a minimum basis, we were not allowed to conduct traffic. This changed three years ago when a Oregon Patrol officer was caught in a jam and did not like it all. He called Hoodoo and demanded that we get out and do something about this. We reminded him that I have been told specifically that I could not do that. He told me to get out there anyway and I did. Soon after that we were given permission to help solve traffic problems when they happened.
That is where we stand now. ODOT is supposed to plow the road. They get paid to plow it, but this year we have ended up plowing more than they have. For the most part all we really can do is to blow the sides of the road to keep it fully open in case anyone parks on the road. This year the road parking has happened more than ever before. I have devoted several Chuck’s Pages to this and we have addressed it in other ways too, but obviously not everyone reads this, nor pays attention if they do. This year if you arrive after 10 AM on Saturday or Sunday and sometimes on Thursday with nice weather, our parking lots where we have room for about 900 vehicles will be full. Our attendants stay at the Hoodoo entry to try to warn people that our parking lot is full. At this point people don’t want to turn around and go home, so they ask what they can do. Our response is that while our lots are full we do not have control over the parking on roads outside our boundaries. Parking is allowed on USFS roads (although we have been given permission to stop parking on the cabin side where it causes congestion, that permission is about three years old). However, in order to park on those roads wherever they are, you are supposed to have a SnoPark Permit. Without that you can be ticketed.
But we do not encourage you to park there. We would prefer on most days (except Sundays) that you go into Sisters and enjoy what they offer then return around 1 or 2 or even at 3:30 when night skiing starts and there is plenty of newly available parking in the lot. This last Saturday the snow from overnight was packed down by the time Hoodoo employees arrived in the morning. We plowed with our blowers but it did not take the snow off the road bed. That would take a grater which we do not have, nor need for our parking lot. Consequently, the road became very icy. When our lots filled up people started parking along the side as usual. We helped for awhile informing people about what they needed to do to get to the lodge. As more people came in we tried hard to discourage them and finally as the parking went further and further out we stopped helping because we did not want people thinking it was reasonable to park there.
Later in the day it became very hard to keep two lanes of traffic going with the parking there. When snowmobile trailers came in going to Ray Benson it became impassible. Finally starting around 2 and then off and on until 7 we had our crew out there trying to help with traffic but we were fighting a losing battle.
The end of the story and the morale is, if you have any influence with ODOT please encourage them to plow the Hwy 20 to Ray Benson road. The next thing you can do is to not park on this road. Try to get to Hoodoo before 10 on nice days. If you can’t, come at 2 and park in one of the many spaces that are now open. Remember on every day except Sunday you will still have 7 hours of mountain time before we close at 9 PM. We have around 900 vehicle spaces and many people only stay for a couple hours. Next year we will put in about 100 more spaces which we hope will end this issue. The other thing we could do at Hoodoo is to talk with the USFS and encourage them to ticket vehicles without Sno Park permits that are on the road, but we really do not want to do that. We have felt it has been nice of them to be so understanding so far.
See you on the slopes,
Hoodoo Ski Area
New snow takes us to 100 inches!
Each season as we get started we wonder at least two things about the snow that year. First, will we have enough snow to open by Thanksgiving? The answer to that one is normally “no”. In most years, in spite of everyone’s hopes, we normally don’t open until at least the next weekend. Then, of course, we worry about the conditions that exist during Christmas vacation which sometimes produces a third of our gross income. This year as many of you may remember, we had so many skiers and boarders that vacation week that people were parked almost out to the highway each day. This meant we had over 35,000 skier visits or more than the average yearly visits in the years before we took over Hoodoo. January was even better although this meant that the parking in the lots and the lines at Green were unusually difficult for Hoodoo and you. Many of the Regulars, at least at first, were excited for us, because they knew this demand would help the ski area in the future. Many of you started making suggestions about how we should spend the perceived profit. So far it has all gone toward paying off the loans from previous year’s losses, but we are headed in the right direction.
The other mark we watch for is the 100” base level. (Ten feet is also talked about but rarely reached). When our base reaches 100” it makes us think about a good spring vacation. I have never seen the snow disappear fast enough to go from 100” now to nothing before mid April (although as I am publishing this the base has dropped back to 8 feet). And there is more snow in the forecast which makes us hope for that 10 foot level.
Things have been good so far in February as well. It looks like we will finish with over 30,000 skier visits for the month. I believe this is the only second time we have exceeded 100,000 skier visits for the season and we still have much of the season to go. We haven’t even been able to open the tubing hill yet this year. Those visits also add to our totals. (I am hoping for next weekend though. Watch the tubing page if you would like to see this be opened.
So all of this good news means a couple things. First, we should have some money for improvements and second, we need to work on problems that a good year can bring about. I am going to outline a couple of the problems that we hope to solve and next week get into the details of the solutions so that you can comment on them if you would like. We are not doing anything too drastic yet though.
One problem this year has been lines everywhere, lifts, rentals, parking and food. More customers has meant lines. Much of that will be solved naturally next year when hopefully Covid 19 becomes a thing of the past and you will once again have access to our large lodge and will be able to load the lifts fully. This by itself will take away most of the lines anyway. A few of you, especially those of you who ski Bachelor as well, have mentioned a new high-speed lift would be nice. That could help decrease lines as well, but because our elevation is only a little over 1,000 feet it would not increase the speed as much as you might think. It would also drastically increase our costs since a detachable-quad costs about three times as much to install and to maintain as a fixed grip like the ones we already have. Many of you have asked why Bachelor charges so much more than Hoodoo does for lift tickets. The cost of the lifts is one factor. So for now that is on the back burner, but it is being discussed for the first time in about 15 years.
It would be nice to open more terrain as well, but that too is not very realistic. There have been some future plans made to develop the Sheep Springs area behind the top of Easy Rider, but that terrain does not seem like the best and it rarely has enough snow. However, we will look at that again too. We have also thought about territory on Hayrick which is mostly outside of our boundaries at this point, but that too does not seem like a good option. So for now the discussion is more about opening more terrain at night and being open on more days. Most of this though will have to wait until we figure out whether the good 20/21 season is an anomaly due to Covid and certain decisions made at other ski areas. But we are hopeful that our hard work has finally been noticed and that this year might happen again with some good snow. This is what we are planning on addressing this summer to be ready for next year.
One of the big changes that is already happening is the opening of Hoodoo’s Hillside Ski and Sports Store in Sisters. The store is now open but we have been slow to announce details because we are still waiting to get more rentals in the store. We are very hopeful that this store will help cut down on rental and lift ticket lines. More details will be coming out soon but meanwhile you might stop over there and say hello before or after your mountain visits. Check out how the store might be of help to you. It’s the Victorian building at 411 E Cascade on the main street.
Two years ago we added over 100 new parking spaces. We intend to add probably that many more again this summer. By next year we should have about 1,000 spaces in our various parking lot areas. We are hoping that we can keep the parking off the Highway 20 to Big Lake Road and in our lots that are part of the Hoodoo lease. More about that later.
RV parking has gotten to be more and more difficult for us and for our customers. We have decided to end reservation paid overnight dry camping. (At least we think so). We will also be moving most of our RV Hookups and expanding them from 32 to about 50 or more, mostly with larger spaces and 50 AMP hookups. At the same time we are planning to expand the long bed truck parking which should make parking easier for everyone. Again I will give you more details on all of this next week
So, the idea is to prepare for another good year without spending the kind of money that will put us in trouble. We will provide more and better parking for employees that stay overnight and at the same time move employee parking so that there will be more guest parking easily accessible.
Sorry, this is way too long. You have to be dedicated to read my nonsense below.
I told you last week that I believed that I am not a racist, however, these days the definition seems to have changed so while in the old sense I am sure I was not and am not a racist, in the new sense, I would say probably that writing this blog proves that I am to someone.
In the new sense which has a much lower or just different bar, I too have been the subject of racism many times. One time I remember is when I first visited the South and stopped at an ice cream store. When I ordered my cone, the smiling black women just ignored me. When I tried again she again ignored me and as I became increasingly confused she just walked away. Finally, a white women came over to take my order. When I asked her if I had done something wrong. She just shrugged her shoulders and said she would help me. I was a young college kid wearing a Harvard sweatshirt. I thought maybe my age or clothes offended her, but I was not obnoxious or unkind in any way. Maybe she just wanted to treat me the same way she had been treated in her life.
In the old sense of racism it usually involved two people of different races, but these days it is more about doing something involving police or involving some sort of perceived unkind treatment and therefore the meaning of “racism” has been polluted. As a youth in middle school and high school, I would often after a party, walk my girlfriend of the time home to her house on the other side of the town where I lived. This would sometimes mean a walk in the dark of about 2 miles after I dropped her off. If a policeman riding past saw me walking along in this residential neighborhood, he would normally stop me and ask me why I was out so late (10-12 PM) at night. This happened often and I got used to it over a period of time. I know that many people would say that if I were Black the outcome might not have gone as well. Maybe that is true, I don’t know, but while today that stop would be considered racist, then it was normal even if you were white and maybe it still is.
I know it is hard to believe now if you see me without my hat in the fullness of my bald head, but once upon a time I had hair, in fact I had hair that fell past my shoulders. Around 1970 my wife and I moved to Eugene from Madison, WI. At the U of Wisconsin long hair and a beard were somewhat normal if you wanted that “rebellious” hippie look. But in the Northwest and in Oregon at that time seeing someone like that was still unusual. I remember driving through Utah where everyone still looked respectable and watching many stare at me as I went past. I wondered if this is what it was like to be black, driving through the south. (The movie “Easy Rider” had just come out and I was somewhat concerned as I travelled through the Midwest and Northwest. If you have seen that movie you know that I wasn’t about to travel in the south).
Soon after moving to Oregon, in our early 20s, we purchased some land in the Cascades and started building our new life. For $2,000 we built a small home out of used lumber and other used materials. We put in a garden that would eventually feed a commune of 10 plus give us food to contribute to the Rescue Mission. We were living the life of “Turn On, Tune In, and Drop Out”. We were able to purchase acreage for $200 an acre which was enough for five families and gave us the ability to stay away from others for the most part. However, we did see a lot of helicopters flying over. I will let you make your own conclusions about that one.
One day my wife and I decided to stop at a restaurant as we drove through the small town of Harrisburg north of Eugene. We sat down and studied our menus. We didn’t realize that while everyone was watching us, we were at the same time being ignored. Finally, after enough time went by to memorize the menu, I finally said to the waitress as she quickly walked past that we were ready to order. “That’s nice,” she said, “but you are not going to be served here”. As everyone continued to stare at us, we walked out. The happy end of that story is that the restaurant went out of business not too much later and I am still around, although my shoulder length hair and scraggly beard are long gone.
Back then things like the incidents I have described happened and they may have been wrong but they were far from being racist incidents. We as a people tend to sometimes act unkindly toward others who are different than we are. That unkindness is not OK, but it is not necessarily racist either. I am constantly amazed though that even though real racism isn’t anywhere near as bad as it used to be (yes, I know any racism no matter how small is not good), the term is used more than ever. The other day one of our parking lot attendants went up to a group of young adults and let them know that they could not set up their tent in the middle of our road in the Autobahn. They were impeding the flow of traffic as cars went past. They were informed that they could move the tent to behind their vehicle and next to the snow but they did not want to do that. The attendant could see that it was useless to continue arguing but stayed in the area showing them they were in the way as cars went through. Finally, after about 20 minutes they left rather than moving. It turned out that they were not there to ski or board anyway.
The next day I got an email from one of them, a woman, saying that our employee was a racist and should be fired. I knew that one of our guys had had a problem at the Autobahn that day, but I had not heard anything that made it seem like a racist incident. I was concerned. I emailed back and asked what happened especially in the way of racism. “What race are you”? I asked. She wrote back and told me that she was white but her husband and her friends were Mexican-American. She told me being asked to move was due to racism and she did not appreciate her husband being told to go back to his own country. We emailed back and forth again. I did soon realize they really should have been told to move their tent. (others too were told to move that day, mostly by me) However, even though I was getting an idea of what our attendant went through that day from the tone of her email, I still did not think it was at all appropriate for our attendant to tell her husband that he should go back to his country. That would be bigoted at the least.
I asked our attendant about the comment. He denied saying it. I still felt I should investigate further and so emailed back and asked her specifically about that comment. “Well he didn’t exactly tell my husband that, but I have been around when it sounded like someone was saying my husband should leave this country and I did not like it”. So, it turned out that I had emailed back and forth several times worried that one of our Hoodoo employees might be acting inappropriately and might have made racists comments. In the end it turned out he was acting as he should have and was using his time to try to make the day better for others in the lot. The only thing that made him a racist was that her husband was Mexican-American and in her mind anyone asking them to do something she did not like, was a racist. My guy was not paying attention to their race and quite frankly he told me that the husband too did not seem very interested in the arguement. The term “racist” is becoming wasted though over and over misuse. It is similar to the boy crying wolf. If you use this enough, people will stop paying attention when it counts. I would however, very much be interested in talking to a nonwhite person who feels he or she has been the subject of racism at Hoodoo. I am usually out in the parking lot on Saturdays at least and often other days as well. Please come talk to me if you feel we have mistreated you in any way.
As I have mentioned in other places seven of my eighteen grandchildren could be considered minority. Three of them are African -American. Because of them the subject of racism has become very sensitive for me. People talk about systemic racism. This is racism that is not necessarily overt but exists in the background causing problems for people of all races. Today, as I have said before, in Oregon I don’t really think Blacks are treated differently than Whites. I am sure unkind things are still being said, but that happens everywhere to all races. Young and old people tend to bully one another. In Oregon I believe due to the fact that Blacks are such a small minority that they have become part of the white race. I know that if you are Black and you want to keep your racial differences you may not like that observation. However, things have changed. When I was a kid in Milwaukee the difference between being of German descent or Polish descent was huge much bigger than white vs black at least in my neighborhood. In most places including in Milwaukee today, I bet, that difference means nothing. We have come a long way. I have never seen my black family members treated poorly because of their race. In fact they are probably more popular with their friends than my other grandchildren are. This does not mean that racism is done, but it certainly should not be overused either.
I am going to end with a story about systemic racism that has caused me to think about this subject over my lifetime as much as my story about the boys and the game in my last page. Have any of you ever read Tarzan books? The author, Edgar Rice Burroughs is the worst example of systemic racism that I have ever come across. When I was a youth, after school, I would come home and watch afternoon movies that were aimed at kids. One of my favorite types of movies were Tarzan movies. I am not talking about the more recent Greystoke movies. I am taking about the old Johnny Weissmuller films from the 30s and 40s. I loved the adventure and excitement, but as I got older and started going through puberty I noticed something strange in the films. When Tarzan would get captured by the evil African tribes the natives would usually dance and the black men and women would normally be topless. This was also true at times on National Geographic when an adventurer would happen into the jungles of Africa or South America but this was different. These were not real people dancing I realized, they were actors. You would never see white women dancing topless, that would have been considered pornographic, but it was OK to show black women actors topless. After all they were only Black. That is a great example of systemic racism. When my grandkids were born, I decided to go back and read some of those Burroughs’ books to see if they were like those movies. They were much worse. Eighty years ago these racist books were written for youngsters. It is because of things like this that movements like BLM (as it first started) are still needed.
Finally, something to think about concerning BLM. I was listening to NPR recently when a black female author came on. She had lived in Portland during the “protests” this last summer, but said she moved out in disgust. Her claim and her book concerned whites (women mostly, but that might be her prejudice) who were trying to take over the BLM movement. It was the white egos, she contended, that were doing the speaking, thinking that they knew what the black experience was. According to this author, the problems that were causing controversy with the BLM movement was not about the Blacks that it supposedly represented but rather about the whites who seem to think that they should be the spokepeople. She for one did not like it. I understand what she was saying and agree with her. In no way am I trying to represent anyone’s views here except my own. I am just making sure that you understand my political leanings so that NO ONE is tempted to vote for me for governor.
See you on the slopes,
Hoodoo Ski Area
Hoodoo’s Hillside Ski and Sports Store is now open in Sisters on Main Street
We opened our new store quietly last Wednesday. We have hats, coats and a few other items for sale including some skis and boards, but our inventory increases daily. Today, I got myself the Hoodoo hat that my granddaughter recommended. We also are now able to rent skis and boards to anyone heading to either mountain, Hoodoo or that other one about an hour past Sisters for those in the valley who don’t mind driving long distances. We are also selling Hoodoo daily tickets. The address is 411 Cascade. It is the Victorian building near the end of town as you travel to Bend. Our store is next to the Edward Jones office.
It was nice to get all the new snow this last weekend. We have just eclipsed the seven foot base mark, which usually indicates a great spring vacation if there is such a thing when the kids don’t have school. Also this new snow should mean that our Autobahn Tubing Area will open Friday, Feb. 26. Please look on our Tubing Page for more details, because these days I seem to be out of the loop, no wonder Hoodoo is doing so well! December and January set skier visit records of almost double our best in the past, but February has calmed down some. We still expect to have a record February, but the lines have become manageable and the parking has been mostly in our parking lots. Still your best bet for no lines is on Wednesday and Friday. And I still recommend that you try to arrive before 10 am or after about 2 pm when we have night skiing (not on Sundays).
We are really sorry about our lodge situation. I have not heard any complaints, since most people understand that we have no choice about our use of the lodge. In fact we feel fortunate to be open at all, but I still feel bad that we cannot allow more than 50 nonemployees in the lodge at any one time. However, we were closed down last year right around this time so at least we are open. Our lack of lodging has caused problems for all of us. Many of you have taken to eating at your vehicles which makes sense and in the sunshine it is a lot of fun. However, on heavy snow days many of you are putting up tents. We do understand why you want to do that, but please understand that on Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays our parking spots are at a premium. If you put up a tent in a parking spot that is one more vehicle that has to park outside our Hoodoo boundaries. We don’t mind tents put up in the snow as long as they are not in the ski runs and tents on the back of pickups are fine as well. If you have a short vehicle with a tent behind it when you park near the snow bank, that sometimes works as well although we might ask you to move to a better spot in some cases, but you cannot put up tents in the roads or in someone’s potential parking spot. Also remember NO WOOD FIRES!!! The wood that gets left behind has caused damage exceeding $30,000 to the blowers when gear boxes are ruined and have to be rebuilt or new ones installed. I hope this gives you some understanding about why I might get so mad at you when you build a wood fire anyway, and then tell me that someone said it was OK. It is not. Do not bring firewood to Hoodoo. Propane grills, however, are fine as long as they are kept up off the parking lot. Melting the top of the parking lot also causes damage in the hundreds of dollars each time.
Saturday, I decided to continue acting on our no swearing policy. The recent email comment from a mother who told me that she did not plan to return to Hoodoo because of all the swearing really got to me. I know that I cannot control everything, but when you brag about how the resort is aimed at families, I guess one ought to make it so that mothers and kids feel comfortable being there too. Today, when I heard two truckloads of young men and one truck load of young women yelling f— you to one another, I decided to politely request that they do not do that anymore. I asked them if they had skied at Hoodoo before. All of them told me they had not. I explained we were trying to be different. Every one of them was very nice in return and told me they understood what I was trying to do. Thanks guys, you are getting ready to be Hoodoo Regulars
Finally, we are taking racism out of math instruction in Oregon Middle Schools
If you don’t know what my headline means, I would encourage you to research it but if you do we would have proof that you are a racist so I suggest you just read the next few lines instead. For many years I have been considering protesting this obvious problem with mathematics, but now happily our state politicians have alertly headed to California for ideas to fix the problem that every Oregonian on LSD knows, math is racist because it teaches objectivity and the absurd assumption that 2+2 only equals 5 (or is it 4?) Happily our intellectual leaders who most likely moved here from California to begin with (making fun of Californians is not racism, its bigotry) realized that this form of math is clearly racist and they are working on changing this in middle schools. You can get more information on this by doing what I would never think of doing, research the subject with the words “Oregon Math Racism”. But if you do, just remember to bury your mother board somewhere where progressives like me will never find it and have proof that you are a racist. In a previous Chuck’s Page, I made the bold statement that I am not a racist. However, I do think that systemic racism is still a problem (not in future Oregon math instruction though, thank goodness).
I owe my self proclaimed nonracist status to my heritage and a very fortunate incident that happened to me when I was about 8. My grandmother and myself went to the Wisconsin State Fair one summer. While my grandmother sat on a bench talking to other grandmothers, I wondered off to where a group of boys were laughing and playing with an interesting game. The boys were encouraging others to shake the hand of a mechanical device. They were mostly of the ages 10 to 12 (almost adults from my perspective) and all darker than me. At that point in my life I had not fully figured out why. They were very anxious to draw me into their game and I felt honored that these older guys were paying attention to me at all. So, I wondered over and they started explaining how I should shake the hand of this device. Suddenly a younger member of their group grabbed me and stopped me. “They are trying to electrocute you, don’t listen to them”. I was really confused since “electrocute” was an unknown word to me. However, he explained to me that if I grabbed the hand I would get a shock and it would hurt. The other boys laughed and I soon realized from this younger boy and a later explanation from my grandmother that this was a trick game that you often find at a fair. Shaking the hand gives the person a shock and causes everyone to laugh, but in this case considering my age and the situation, it would have hurt me slightly physically, but big time emotionally. I realized that this young kid had reached out to me to save me from a huge embarrassment that would have left me crying, with the old kids laughing, and me running back to my grandmother. This was my first introduction to a “black gang” and thanks to that kid, it was a very positive experience. I laughed with the kids after my salvation and probably joined them trying to get some other sucker to grab the hand. After almost 65 years I still remember this experience well and have always been thankful for the kindness of that little kid.
But as I grew older I learned that racism was not to be part of my life experience. I don’t think anyone taught me it was wrong, but my family lived a loving life when it came to kindness to others different than ourselves. My great grandparents, Albert and Mary Norton spent their lives working with very dark-skinned natives in India. They were introduced to one another and then encouraged to marry by the President of Oberlin College, Charles G Finney. Finney was a well-known abolitionist during the Civil War and an educator who encouraged many blacks before the war and the newly freed slaves after to come to Oberlin to be taught. Oberlin of Ohio was one of the first colleges in the country to accept blacks and women (including my grandmother who graduated in 1872) to attend. Finney and the school were instrumental in making the Underground Railroad work.
Because of the huge impact Charles Finney had on the lives of my great grandparents, they named my grandfather, Charles Finney Norton, after him. I am named after my grandfather, Charles Norton Shepard, and my grandson Charles Finney McFarland keeps the thread of this great man, Charles Finney running in our family. Three generations of Nortons worked in India helping to save thousands of children from cholera and famine. I was fortunate enough recently to return to the church and school that they founded in 1898 in Doond, India about 100 miles east of Bombay. It was also a giant “coincidence” since the parishioners didn’t know that I was arriving, nor did they know of my existence, that because of the timing of my trip I was able to attend a celebration at the Norton Memorial Church for my great grandparents and I had my picture taken with over 500 of my relatives by adoption, some of whom still went by the last name of Norton. Their grandparents had been adopted by my great grandparents Albert and Mary.
In 1966, I had the good fortune to work with Father Groppi, a Catholic priest in Milwaukee. If you are old enough you might remember him as one of the best known white civil rights advocates. I really didn’t do much of anything noteworthy with him. Truth be known, I started spending time at his church because the girl I was dating at the time volunteered there, but that experience volunteering to tutor black high school kids in math (so you can now understand why I am glad we are taking racism out of our math instruction) did help form me as a person.
Why am I wasting your time with this? Mostly because I want to make the statement that all white people are not systemically racists as was claimed by the mostly young white members of the Black Life Matters marches of last summer. When I saw marchers go into restaurants and force white people to admit that they were racists, it touched a nerve. And I wanted to tell you something about me and where I am coming from before I write next week’s blog about racism in today’s Oregon.
See you on the slopes,
Hoodoo Ski Area
Note to you younger Hoodoo Regulars and Regular wannabes
When I first bought Hoodoo over 20 years ago I knew that a lot of marketing was needed. As I spoke with people in Eugene, where I lived at the time, many people at first asked me if Hoodoo was still open. I realized then that I needed to do a lot of marketing in Eugene first, and then all around western Oregon. In my generation, those that learned to ski in the 1960s and 70s, Hoodoo was the place where they started. But time had taken its toll. I spent a lot of money in the early years to get the word out once more and I made a lot of improvements. The marketing experts told me that my advertising had to be aimed at teenage boys. Where they wanted to go I was told was where their parents would go. It was the KNOWN way to reach my ski/board market. But I didn’t want a lot of wild kids around that I had to babysit. I knew what I had been like at that age and I wanted something different.
So with the help of Harold the Hodag we tried to reach the younger audience. I took advantage of all of my years of watching advertisements on Saturday morning cartoons and went after kids who I then hoped would spread the word to their parents and the rest of the family. I knew things were going well when at my second ski faire in Portland I heard one little girl say to her father, “Hey Dad those people over there are from Hoodoo, that is the place I have been telling you about”. Since then we have tried to aim almost everything at families. The lodge was designed for family use, the Winter Carnival put in games for the younger nonskiing members of the family as well as the older. Most recently we have added in the Magic Carpet to help those who are not quite ready for the lifts, plus a lot more has been done over the years.
This year Covid 19 and some decisions by other ski areas have increased our skier visits by almost double. We love the increase on our bottom line, but the atmosphere is starting to change at the same time, and I am hoping that I can curtail any change that might interfere with Hoodoo being known as the family destination. I know a lot of you are new to Hoodoo. I hear it everyday. “This is our first time at Hoodoo, could you tell me where ….”. We would like all of you to come back and become Hoodoo Regulars but there are certain standards that we expect from our customers and our employees. What is accepted on other mountains is not necessarily acceptable at Hoodoo.
I am sure this is a little thing to you young adults and teenagers, but swearing is not appropriate. Please use the same language at Hoodoo as you would around your table at Thanksgiving when your grandparents (the old guys my age) are visiting. I realize that you and your friends like to talk a certain way. I loved the freedom to act young when I was in college and almost never saw anyone younger than 18 or older than 25. My language with my friends was a lot different than what I used in front of my parents. But at Hoodoo you are around a lot of parents, children and even a few old people like me. Let’s try to act in a way that makes us all feel comfortable. Be kind to others and remember Hoodoo is not your typical ski area, nor do we want it to be.
However, parents with little ones or even you old guys, remember what it was like to be young, so try to be tolerant as well. I try to keep in mind that I run Hoodoo for everyone. In the parking lot I used to talk to anyone I heard swearing and let them know that if they wanted to continue maybe they would be happier somewhere else. I have rarely done that this year because there are so many newbies with habits developed elsewhere that it is more difficult to talk with everyone. However, when someone was talked to last week and he continued to yell profanity, we took his pass and told him to leave. I don’t want to have to continue that, but I also want Hoodoo to be a mellow area.
But it is not only the younger people. I have never had so many arguments with people in the parking lot as I have this year. More people has created more problems. We have dedicated people working in the lot who are trying to park many people quickly on most mornings. It is unbelievable to me how many times drivers will not park where we are directing them because they want to be closer to a certain area. This morning a guy made a big deal over wanting to be four spaces closer to the lesson window. If you are parking in the main parking lot, it is probable that you will not be more than a 30 second longer walk to where you want to be from one space vs another. Is it that big a deal to hold everyone behind you up so that you can be 20 feet closer to the ticket window or lesson window? I do realize that some of you have legitimate reasons for parking in certain areas. You might want to set up a tent on the snow bank or be close to a friend. We really do not mind parking you where you would like to be, but please understand that the parking lot guys are sometimes dealing with a line of cars that starts at the parking space in front of you and ends somewhere out of the highway. We are trying hard to not hold people up. Please work with us.
In general, we are trying to park the longer trucks along the back wall so that they can get out of their spots easier and they don’t block cars in the center. When cars rather than trucks take these spots it makes the center of the lot more congested for everyone. We try to get all vehicles to park about 3 feet away from one another, about the distance you would park from another vehicle at any retail store lot. We ask you to park where we are working because in the majority of cases those who go elsewhere end up taking up two or three parking spaces. You may not realize you are causing a problem it at the time, but stick around and see what happens when you go off and park on your own.
I have had a complaint recently from someone concerning all of parking on the USFS access road. We try our best to keep all of the parking within our parking lots, but it takes everyone’s cooperation to make that happen. But please realize that we cannot stop people from parking along the side of the access road. We did get permission a couple years ago to control that traffic and keep the parking from interfering with the flow of traffic, but our parking lots end at the middle of the road to Big Lake.
For those of you who don’t know what a Hoodoo Regular is, let me explain. It is someone who feels and takes ownership of Hoodoo. The owner may have to pay the bills (and in certain very special years, makes a profit), but it is those who keep coming back that really make Hoodoo what it is and they understand that. I wish some of the new people could hang around with me some Saturday in the parking lot. Listen to all the people who know me by name saying hello and then let me know how much they appreciate our work. They are trying to make Hoodoo a better place for themselves and for their children and friends. They are proud of the place. Once upon a time their friends might have made fun of them for their loyalty to this little ski area. But they understand what is so special about Hoodoo and the ownership has little to do with what makes it their ski area. Mostly it is about how everyone treats one another. If that relationship leaves, Hoodoo is only like any other place no matter how much the owners try to make the mountain better.
So please younger and older, remember that we are all on the mountain to have fun. Be tolerant of the mother with three screaming kids. Let’s help her out. I realize that teens and some of you 20 somethings like to blow off steam, but try to pretend that those around you are thinking “Wow that group of young people sure are nice, I wonder what makes them that way”? And then keep giving them a reason to admire you. Hoodoo needs the kind of financial success that is happening this year to keep it going, but if the cost of success means we have to lose the special feeling that happens at Hoodoo, it is not worth it.
Hoodoo vs Global Warming
These days when something goes wrong there are three reasons given, global warming, racism, or at my house it must be Chuck’s fault. If someone wants to run for governor of Oregon, the first thing he needs to do is to make sure no one really has any idea of how the candidate stands on the issues except to say you are against them (or for them, it sort of depends, but don’t hold me to that). It is with this in mind that I thought I would tell you how I stand, just in case you are still thinking of supporting me in the upcoming election.
The environment happens to be on my mind now so I think I will address that one. 21 years ago I was listening to a program on public radio (KLCC). I often have that station on in the background as I travel from place to place. On this day long ago the radio guest was talking about the imminent problems that were about to happen due to global warming. It wasn’t as bad as this last election when we heard that our world was going to end within 10 years if we didn’t do something drastic. (like make sure Trump was not reelected). But he did say back then that there would soon be some major changes in the environment. This sort of rhetoric runs on public radio all of the time. It is sort of like playing the top 40 tunes on the popular AM station.
Still I liked listening to that sort of stuff (and still do) as I traveled back and forth to Hoodoo. Public radio has great programing none of which is influenced by liberal or conservative views. How else except by truthful moderate reporting would I have found out how terrible Trump was along with anyone who voted for him if I had not listened to this honest down the middle reporting? On this day, 21 years ago, the speaker was telling us that all hell (literally) was about to happen if we did not force corporations and all of their greedy corporate officers to change their ways along with contributing lots of money to “save the environment” causes. I was subconsciously cheering along while not really listening to anything he was saying until the topic turned to me!
He started telling the reporter about the misguided fool who has just purchased Hoodoo. (At least someone knows that Hoodoo is still around, I thought). He went on saying that I should have done my homework (exactly what my mom used to tell me!) If I had, I would know that Hoodoo would not be open in 20 years. Global warming, he told the audience, meant that the snow would no longer be as low as Hoodoo’s elevation. It has been true over the last 20 years that we have had a few years with not much snow, mostly though I have learned that the snow depends upon a couple little Spanish kids (La Nina and El Nino) not global warming. At least not yet. (Please no comments telling me how stupid I am).
This year, so far, thanks to one of those kids we are having one of our best snow years in the last 20 years. We have had a lot more snow in some years. We have had over a 10 foot base in some of them, but we have had many years worse as well. This year’s average right now of about five feet is ideal for a nice mix of snow and sunshine and has helped explain the crowded parking lots.
So now as a gubernatorial candidate I am wondering if everything wrong is really caused by global warming (and me)? Remember the population explosion controversy as told in “Zero Population Growth” which explained the world would end through famines and starvation by the end of the 1970s? When the fires of this last fall hit we were told that they were caused by global warming. What else could it be? But then my mind wondered back to the 1970s when we decided that saving the home of the spotted owls was more important than saving Oregon’s economy. I have lived in Oregon all of my adult life and have seen the change from 3 logging trucks going past carrying one old growth tree to now seeing many smaller trees in one truck heading to the chipping mills. Don’t get me wrong, I was not a logger nor did I own a lumber mill so I was all for saving the forests. I lived next to an old growth forest and didn’t want to see those trees go. (However, they were cut quickly when the politicians started talking about curtailing logging.)
It was easy for the reasonable person to read between the lines, this was not really about saving the owls, it was really about saving the trees so that guys like me could wander through the old growth forests and wonder about the majesty of it all. And the tree lovers won out even though the industrialists warned that it would mean a huge increase in forest fires and other dire consequences. Their methods, like clear cutting used to cut the Douglas Firs were actually good for the trees, the industrialists tried to tell us but to no avail. Who trusts those greedy capitalists anyway. So over the years the forest fires in Oregon have gotten worse, but conveniently, enough time has gone by so that no one mentions that those logging company advocates might have been right, now instead of the lack of logging, it is about global warming.
If you are wondering what I am thinking, it is that I am glad that we cut back (pun) on logging. It has changed the Oregon economy and caused a lot of the predicted problems, but we have adjusted. However, I wish that we could be honest about the issues. When it was argued that the forest fires might get worse, I thought that would probably be true, but maybe that was the price that would be paid to save a beautiful resource (easy to say when it is not my house getting burned down). Today though too much history has passed and now instead of those earlier arguments being reopened, we now have changed the blame to the new conflict of the day.
And in passing, are any of you old enough to remember being told that if we did not clean up the environment we would experience global cooling and the ice age would reappear? I guess I was busy raising kids, but it seems like the enlightened conversations amongst my intellectual friends went from worrying about global cooling to global warming without me even realizing the change. I should have done more homework.
Yes, I have become an old cynic, but global warming or not, or famines now or later, one thing I am sure of, our world and its population does need our help. Forty years ago I remember following a car of old women (about the age of my daughters now). Suddenly I saw them open their car windows and throw out all the trash from the car. This was not unusual. People did things like that then. I was in Spain about 30 years ago with my three oldest daughters. We were wondering through a fairly crowded park full of people and trash. The four of us decided to spend an hour putting junk in the nearby trash barrels while the locals looked and laughed at us. But things have gotten better. I never see people throw trash out of their cars anymore. Most people take pride in the cleanliness of their parks. The Green Revolution is feeding most of the world’s population and while famines are not a thing of the past it is better now than when my great-grandparents went to India 150 years ago to try to feed the starving children there.
We need to be environmentally conscious and we need to be aware of the needs of others, but be a little leery of the words that come from a politician who flies a private plane half way around the world to accept an award for caring about the environment. Tom McCall, a Republican governor from Oregon by cleaning the Willamette River, started a movement here that spread throughout the US and gave Oregon a reputation as an environmentally conscious state. His actions influenced the cleaning of the rivers in many of the major cities. As a youth in Wisconsin, I remember watching condoms and turds float under the bridge as I watched the Milwaukee River flow past. Today kids swim in that river.
You don’t have to believe that we need to shut down the economy to stop global warming or even that mankind is causing warming. What should be obvious to us all though is that we, as individuals, can make a difference. We don’t have to wait for the industrialists, the celebrities or the politicians to do whatever they do. We, by not throwing trash out of our cars or boats, can help clean our environment. If you believe that cow farts are ruining the world, then stop eating meat, but that doesn’t mean that you have to wait for everyone to see it your way.
After 20 years Hoodoo is having its best year by far. Global warming has not closed us down yet. Furthermore, individual actions of kindness, good habits, patience, and other good deeds can continue to make Hoodoo a fun place for us all for as long as those little Spanish kids allow.
See you on the slopes,
Hoodoo Ski Area
Saturdays and now Thursdays remain crowded. Best to arrive before 10 am.
Starting around 8 am, a line of vehicles forms from about Hwy 20 and into the Hoodoo main parking lot. We have room for about 500 vehicles before the main lot fills. So don’t get nervous if you see a bunch of cars in front of you before 9 am. It does take a little while for us to get everyone in, especially since so many of you want to park on the opposite side of where we are trying to park you. Rather than getting annoyed, we just try to deal with it by adding another parking person to the area where we are not parking people, but where you go anyway. However, try to be reasonable, we are trying our best to park people without having to park vehicles out to the highway later in the morning. Each day we get about a dozen guests who ask why we leave so much space between cars and some of them with small vehicles squeeze in those small spots. This leads to hard fillings when you come back to your car or truck only to find that you can’t open your door.
We are trying to get each vehicle to park about a door’s width away from the other vehicle next to them. This allows each side to open their door if they don’t both open their doors which are across from one another at the same time. Like at a grocery store. Please try to help us if we are not there parking you by parking about 3 feet away from the vehicle next to you. And do not park in the middle of an area where no one is parked. This is a sure way to have someone parked a foot away from one of your sides. Please park where we are helping.
Speaking of parking in bad spots, some of you who pull in late are taking up some of the access roads within the parking lot. Please do not move the cones. If you feel there is room for your vehicle, come and find one of the guys in a yellow coat and we may agree with you, move the cones and help you park there. I have helped people do that at least a dozen times, but do not do it yourself. The other bad problem we are having is when you see the RV spots open and decide that even though the parking lot is packed, everyone else must have not thought of parking there and it is OK for you to do so. Yesterday we did work with a few people like that by charging them $40 (the RV hookup fee) to park for about 4 hours if they gave us their cell phone numbers so we could have them move if the RV that belongs in that spot arrived while they were there. We do not like doing that, but I really do not like fighting that fight either. Normally when I say “sure you can park there, all you have to do is give me $40 or you could park for free by finding another spot” they end up looking for the free spot. Yesterday, three people gave me $40 instead of moving and I was left with my mouth hanging open. Rather than having these heated discussions with people, we will start using “boots” when we find vehicles parked illegally, which includes parking overnight without a permit. That will start next week.
Things like the boots and the short term $40 are short term, this year’s solutions. Our long-term solutions include putting in 12 more RV hookups at the Autobahn parking and 20 more up near the maintenance shops. We will add these 32 sites but remove 16 current sites and replace those sites with free vehicle parking. We will also be adding another parking area above that is entered from the Big Lake road. That area will be mostly for employees and overnight parking. Also, next year we will not allow any overnight parking in the main lot unless it is connected with the RV hookup sites. This means that all overnight parking in the future will be in the parking area off Big Lake Road where we will have about 100 sites. Parking overnight there will be free. We expect parking in the hookup sites to cost about $50. Details on this will be available in the RV section of the website.
We have started to set up our new Hoodoo’s Hillside Ski and Sports Shop in Sisters at 411 E Cascade (Hwy 20) in the Cascade Station. We have ordered new skis and boards along with lots of boots to rent equipment from this new shop. It will also be a retail store where we will sell ski paraphernalia. Our long-term objective is to make it so that Hoodoo and Bachelor guests can rent their equipment either on the way to the mountains or the night before. You will save yourself from having to stand in line for rentals at either mountain. In the future, we will be selling Hoodoo lift tickets and season passes at this spot so that you are ready to go when you reach the slopes. Our planned grand opening will be Feb.8, but that depends upon when all the equipment arrives.
The following is meant for politicians, to help them solve the immigration problem.
Chuck must have been in a bad mood, the following is not very funny!
Immigration during the Trump reign meant lots of accusations of racism, bigotry and child endangerment. Facts were hard to find. People weren’t important, letting all of us know how terrible Trump was took over all the political rhetoric. But immigration problems did not start with Trump or Obama or even George W. Bush. Ironically, immigration problems got out of control (at least in the modern sense, bigotry existed before with the Chinese, the Irish and so on before this) with the politicians’ desire to be kind (maybe) to those immigrants who were pouring in from Southeast Asia after the War in Vietnam. Those of you who are historically and politically in tune will be able to correct me with some of these details or at least argue with me, but please hear me out and look at the overall problem, not the specifics.
During the Vietnam War, the US used many of the Vietnamese and Laotians to help them fight and spy on the communist enemy. When Nixon finally realized that we were on the wrong side of this fight and it needed to be ended quickly, many of those “friends” who we left behind were killed or jailed. Remember how the allies during WWII saw the French Vichy who helped the Germans hunt down the French Resistance? Those people, regardless of their intentions, were seen as traitors after the war ended. This is how many of our “friends” were seen by the winning communists who poured into South Vietnam. The Vietnam Vichy needed to get out fast and many got on boats in an effort to escape. These people became known as the “boat people”. They were our allies who we just left behind in spite of promises given. This story about these people was in the news for a long time and many Americans tried to think of ways to help. The government, the churches and other charitable organizations encouraged us to help.
My church, the Latter-day Saints, encouraged its members to sponsor families who were caught up in this boat people tragedy. My family with the active help of my LDS ward (congregation) adopted a Laotian family. It was a large family and the father had served in the police helping the US soldiers keep control over the population. When the US moved out, their lives were ruined. My family and my church made plans to bring this family to Coburg, Oregon where we lived ( and Hoodoo’s organizational office is still located). We provided a home for a very small rent (but not free), contributed about $10,000 as a beginning fund, and helped find those old enough, jobs. Doctors in the ward volunteered to help with with medical needs and many others helped in other ways.
Our group was not the only group doing this in the Eugene area. There were probably a dozen sponsors who brought over individuals and families. After a few weeks I was able to find all the adults jobs and a couple of the teenagers worked for me in Coburg. Life for them was not perfect, but they were on their way to becoming another successful immigration story. Over the first month “my” family started meeting other immigrants. The oldest daughter found someone who had been in America for awhile and a marriage was arranged. It was a lot of work for me and my wife along with many others, but we felt really good about what we were accomplishing. Eventually a meeting was held for all of the sponsors and their families. I hoped to find out how the other sponsors were making the lives of these families better. I hoped to get some ideas. Instead the whole meeting was about how to get the families on welfare, how to get free housing, food, and medicine from the government. “Wait a minute,” I foolishly said, “We volunteered to sponsor these families, the government and the tax payors did not volunteer to do this.” But I was worse than ignored. My family learned how they could get everything we had been helping them get without working. They learned they could get a bigger house. They no longer would have to depend upon doctors that I found for them. It turned out that being a sponsor to everyone else meant they volunteered to be liaisons for the welfare system. All of the families soon were wards of the state and, at first, pleased with their lives.
But the welfare system soon meant that the government now controlled their lives. After a year or two when things started going wrong and their teenagers were members of a gang rather than working for me, they came back and apologized for the decisions they had made in spite of my pleas and explanations. But I was no longer able to help as I had nor willing to help them with their welfare problems. The family moved to Southern California. One of the sons was killed in a gang fight and over the years I lost track of them. This story happened over 40 years ago, but it and other stories like it left a shadow over the many immigrants who still want the freedom and riches that they are told are available to everyone. They are taught in their lands of origin that life in America is easy. You don’t have to work to be assured of a good life. The government will make sure you are cared for. Many of us want to be good Christians or good Jews or just good people by offering sanctuary to these poor people from outside our borders. But when it comes down to it, we want to help by having the government provide the help along with the never-ending largesse available to all. But how many of us are willing to help on our own? The Lord has asked us to give 10% of our income to help Him provide for His children. How many of you give at least 10% to charity? That is the money that should at least partially be used to help immigrants. If you don’t donate 10% of your income, it is not fair for you to force others through their tax payments to provide for those you personally are not willing to help.
I looked at the tax schedules of many of the politicians who provided them to the news. Of all the Democrats who talk the big talk, only one in one year paid 10% to charity, and that was Biden a few year ago when his income was over 10 million. Almost all of them had incomes over a million and with this one exception none of them were willing to help with their own money. The Republicans, as we know, did not provide their taxes but I assume their story is the same. Don’t tell me that you support the immigrants when you don’t personally help. Helping does not mean making some rich person who pays 50% taxes provide the money needed. And please realize that promising immigrants things that you personally are not willing to provide does not make you a good person. You parents, are you doing a good job by teaching your children how to get on welfare, but you are not willing to provide for your children yourself?
Politicians, change the expectations of the immigrants. Don’t stop them from coming in, but help them realize it will not and should not be a free ride. Life can be rough and will be rough if you are not willing to put in a lot of work. If immigrants do make it in, I am willing to provide a job, but I don’t pay a living wage until they learn how to groom a mountain or become knowledgeable diesel mechanics. I am willing to provide them a home but not without the rent and a deposit. I believe that immigrants of all sorts help strengthen America when they understand what it took our ancestors to succeed and then they too will help make this a great country.
See you on the slopes,
Hoodoo Ski Area
Jan. 25, 2021
ONCE AGAIN I WOULD LIKE TO SAY THAT PARKING ON SATURDAY IS GONE BY 10 am.
I have written the above in my loudest writing because this last Saturday at about 11 am when I told someone who drove up the road and had to park about ½ mile from the lodge that he should look at my advice on Chuck’s Page, he told me that I said that parking was fine. I was incredulous. I have spent the last three weeks warning people that the parking situation on Saturdays has gotten out of hand and here he was telling me that I said parking is “no problem”. So I looked at last week’s Chuck’s Page again and this is what I said “I once again want to emphasize that if you want to be sure to park near the lodge try to arrive before 9AM. Parking is not a problem” and that was the end of the first line. The second line finished the sentence by saying “on Wednesdays and Fridays.” I then continued the paragraph by warning the readers that on bluebird Saturdays parking is gone by 10 AM. The guy I was talking to had not bothered to read beyond the first line. He didn’t even finish the sentence. So, for that guy and any of the rest of you who see Chuck’s Page as a waste of time, I am hoping that you read at least the first line today.
It is hard to tell you this but no matter how greedy the owner of Hoodoo is and no matter how (please forgive the upcoming swear word) much he wants to actually make a pr- – it this year even the owner of the place does not believe it makes sense to park a half mile or more from the lodge only to be told after making that walk, that Hoodoo is out of size 10 ski boots rentals. I don’t like lines and I don’t like to see you frustrated, so my plea for you is that if you don’t want to miss a great day at Hoodoo and you can’t get there before 10 (9 would be a lot better) then wait for our late day or even better our night skiing time. Night skiing costs a lot less and you can still get in 5 hours of fun. By about 1:30 or 2, many guests have started leaving and by 2 PM more people are leaving than arriving. As they leave their rentals get turned in and we get them ready for our next guests.
We are embarrassed and apologetic about the rental situation. Hoodoo has had an incredible demand for both board and ski rentals this year. To improve the situation that has been building year after year, we have decided to open a ski shop in Sisters, hopefully by February 1 or soon on the southeast side of the main street. Our eastside guests or Black Butte resort guests will be encouraged to stop there on your way up to Hoodoo to purchase your tickets and pick up your rentals. In order to get a rental inventory we have basically purchased the last of the rental fleet available from the manufacturer. You will be able to rent and purchase tickets on the day before as well so that you can still get up early and get the best parking spot. And to show everyone that we are not only looking out for our Hoodoo Regulars, we will also be open to those of you who for some reason have decided to head to Bachelor instead. We will rent you skis and boards and maybe even sell you tickets if you insist, but good luck in getting Bachelor to accept a Hoodoo lift ticket. Watch for more next week or sooner.
To finish this off, on Saturday try to arrive before 10 or even 9 if you want to park in the main parking lot. You do not need to arrive before 8 AM. The parking guys aren’t there to help you until about 7:45. After 10 or whenever the lots are full, we do allow parking on the USFS road that comes from the highway, but be aware that we do not control this road except to have permission to haul off cars that park on the wrong side of the road. Sno-Park permits are recommended.
On Thrifty Thursdays and Sundays parking also starts around 8 AM and the main parking lot is usually full by 10 AM, but on those days we still usually have more parking left at the Autobahn Parking lot. If you can manage it, arriving on Wednesdays and Fridays is strongly encouraged. On those days you will not have a problem getting rentals of any size and there should be no lift lines. Even better you should not have to park more than about a minute from our ticket office.
I hate to do this but I want to remind you that dogs must be on a leash. Please, PLEASE pick up after your dogs. You would not believe how many people don’t do that and therefore give all dog owners a bad name. Last week when this happened an alert guest said “Could you please pick up your dogs feces?” (I would have phased it differently”). The response was “F- -k off” What a clever thing to say! Your dogs are not allowed within 20 feet of the lodges. Do not take your dog with you when you get your tickets, rentals, or lessons, Please. We have huge areas where your dogs are allowed behind the parking area (not on groomed runs though), but dog shit is never something that should be left behind. We don’t mind if you deposit it in one of our outside garbage bins provided.
I hope that you read beyond the first line above, but the rest of this is just an old man trying to pass on his wealth of knowledge, except to school history teachers. The following is mandatory for you teachers to read if you want to continue to be first in line for vaccines or if you want to park near the lodge. It came to my attention this week that President Biden put a bust of Cesar Chavez in his new office. I thought this was pretty incredible knowing Chavez’s stance on illegal immigration. Chavez was born in Yuma, AZ the son of Mexican-American forebears. He spent much of his life non-violently fighting for California and Arizona farmworkers who were often mistreated and underpaid because farmers could easily hire for less other workers who had illegally crossed into America. Because of his disdain for the farmers, especially grape growers who did this, he fought hard to prevent the influx of illegal immigration and became the darling of the Democratic Party which supported his fight to keep out illegals from south of the border. It is for this reason that I am surprised but pleased that Biden would be bold or ill-informed enough to support someone like this whose name was synonymous with preventing illegal immigrants from taking the jobs of those who had worked their way through the system.
I have especially wanted school history teachers to read this because it has come to my attention that most of your students (like any other politician, I know what most Americans know or want because I spoke with two of them) have no idea of who Cesar Chavez was. Ask them and report back. Oh, and by the way they don’t know who Booker T Washington was either. However, in future Chuck’s Pages I intend to use this lack of knowledge about Chavez as proof that our school system, our teachers and many of us are bigots. That right, I said it. However, that does not mean we are racists. I am not a racist (I know, in today speak, that means I AM a racist), and I knowingly have never met a racist although I admit that I probably have without knowing it. You teachers and the country have made sure that we know who Martin Luther King was but not Chavez, why, because Mexican Americans are OK to discriminate against. Not really OK, but accepted anyway.
This is my request of school teachers at every level, ask your students who both BT Washington and Chavez were. If they don’t know, teach them, at least teach them why a parking-lot attendant thinks that reading a book like “Up From Slavery” is so important and why a president whose party has recently so strongly defended illegal immigration, has been bold enough to nonetheless put of bust of Chavez in his office. And if you teachers of any sort don’t know who these guys were, find out. Then before you get your vaccine or ski at Hoodoo again, I want you to report back and tell me how you did. (Your school not being open due to Covid will not be taken as an excuse.) My next Page will be about immigration and why it is a problem. If Biden reads Chuck’s Page, which I assume he will, he will be on a path to getting this straightened out.
See you on the slopes,
Hoodoo Ski Area
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,
Hoodoo Ski Area
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.
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.
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,
Hoodoo Ski Area
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.
See you on the slopes,
Hoodoo Ski Area
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,
Hoodoo Ski Area
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,
Hoodoo Ski Area
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,
Hoodoo Ski Area
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, firstname.lastname@example.org or talk to one of the parking lot attendants. One of them might be me.
See You On The Slopes,
Hoodoo Ski Area
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 email@example.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,
Hoodoo Ski Area