Willamette Pass is a little resort southwest of Bend boasting a modest 5 chairs, 555 skiable acres, a peak of 6,683 feet, and lift tickets at a mere $49. Finding variable conditions at Crystal, it was decided to head toward this little Mom and Pop resort to wrap up a whirlwind of a trip to the north. After driving on some of the slickest roads for the least amount of snow (new snowfall varied from .25″ to 2″ en route), Dave Greenleaf and I arrived to a very small, very quaint, and very closed Willamette Pass Resort.
It turns out that actually reading the content of these smaller resorts web pages can be very beneficial (as it will reveal such info as the resort only being open midweek). Despite the closures we still got a decent tour and taste of what Willamette has to offer. To start things off, the base area is quite expansive for such a small hill. Newly renovated, the base lodge looked to be roomy, warm, and cozy (at least as we peered in through the windows of the locked doors). From the base, there is a high-speed six pack to whisk you up 1,500 vertical feet and at that point your day is ready for blast off.
The terrain at Willamette is surprisingly steep and playful. Off the top of Eagle Peak Accelerator you can ski in any direction. The backside offers a mellow blue wrapping back to the front of the resort as well as access to the Peak 2 express. To the skiers right of the chair there is a face that is steep – we’re talking nearly West Face steep, and sustained for approximately 800 vert. To the skiers left of the Peak Accelerator there are a number of runs comparable to the Shirley Lake Tree runs at Squaw, only steeper and more sustained.
Current conditions are a bit heinous at Willamette , but given pow conditions the best part of the resort would hands down be their tree skiing. The main runs are bordered by beautiful glades, with tree spacing that looked quite heavenly. These trees harbor hideaways to be milked for days after the storm has passed. If you’re looking from a break from the gnar, head over to Willamette and enjoy some cheap tickets and fairly fun skiing!