In spite of late snow, slopes open at Ski Bluewood

Andi Wolff, 7, from Tri-Cities was all smiles during snowboarding lessons on the beginner hill.

Andi Wolff, 7, from Tri-Cities was all smiles during snowboarding lessons on the beginner hill. Photo by Greg Lehman.

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Ski Bluewood’s regular winter hours are Thursday-Sunday from 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

Lift tickets are $44 for adults, $38 for students and seniors and $5 for children six and under.

Package deals for rentals, lessons, multi-day lift tickets and groups are available.

For more information and current mountain conditions, visit bluewood.com or call the Ski Bluewood office at 509-382-4725.

Snow fell later and less than usual this winter, but that hasn’t stopped ski enthusiasts from hitting the slopes. Ski Bluewood, which opened Christmas Eve, drew a modest but enthusiastic crowd Thursday, full of beginners looking to take advantage of the softer snow.

Seven year-old Darin Repp had been skiing only a handful of times before, but appeared to be having fun on the beginner slope with his mother, Dana. The two traveled from Dusty, Wash., with a handful of friends from school.

For Darin, the best part of skiing is “jumping,” although after a skeptical look from his mother, he conceded, “I haven’t done these jumps,” pointing to terrain features at the side of the platterpull.

Dana said she wasn’t a big skier herself, but enjoyed watching the next generation learn the sport.

“Watching the kids learn it, that’s the most fun,” she said. “I only come to bring them.”

At the top of the mountain, veteran skier Jim Cornelius said he was enjoying his first trip to Bluewood this season. A retired Walla Wallan, Cornelius frequents the slopes Thursdays to take advantage of the ski area’s two-for-one lift ticket deal and nonexistent lines for the lift.

Generally, he enjoys skiing the tree runs, where there’s often good powder, but the lack of snow had left those areas closed. Still, he said the soft snow was perfect for getting back in shape for ski season.

“I don’t have a favorite (run). They’re all well-groomed. They’ve done a good job for the condition of the snow,” he said.

Bluewood invested $250,000 in capital improvements over the summer, including new rental equipment and a new snow grooming machine.

This season, the slopes will feature the second annual King of the Mountain, Butter Bash and Old School Half Pipe competitions, all held on Saturdays in March.

The backcountry area and tree runs remain closed, but with more snowfall over the weekend, staff are optimistic that the full mountain will be open soon.

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