Summer skiing still hot in Oregon, B.C.
Can’t let go of the snow? Then head to Mount Hood or Whistler-Blackcomb.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Skiers and snowboarders who didn’t get enough winter fun can cool their jets by carving up the slopes at resorts in Oregon and British Columbia.
Timberline’s Palmer Snowfield, at 8,540 feet and above the tree line at Mount Hood, is a hot spot for summer snowboarders and skiers clad in T-shirts.
“Summer skiing is going great,” Jon Tullis, Timberline’s director of public affairs said. “Lots of top athletes in the world are here training. We have good snow (coverage), but we’re losing a bit to the heat.”
The terrain is for advanced intermediate levels and above. Most of the snowfield is accessible to the public, but some private “lane” space is reserved for camps.
The Mile Jumps and Pipe were being rebuilt last week. They’re open daily from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Lift rate is $60 for adults.
Snow seekers can also head north to British Columbia, where Whistler-Blackcomb Resort’s Horstman Glacier is open daily until July 28.
The Wizard Express and Solar Coaster chairlifts take riders up the mountain. Then it’s a short bus ride to the 7th Heaven Chairlift to the glacier’s two T-bars. The terrain is suited for beginner to intermediate levels and above.
Lift access is 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., and the glacier is open from noon to 4 p.m. Lift rate is $61 for adults.
Word on local sockeye
The highly popular Baker Lake sockeye fishery opens Wednesday, and anglers should be happy, as a good number of fish are milling in the shadows of Mount Baker.
“Everyone is getting excited, and we’ve already got about (1,476 sockeye) in the lake,” said Brett Barkdull, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist. “The fish trap counts are ahead of where I expected us to be.”
Through July 3, a strong early return of 2,528 sockeye had arrived in the Baker River fish trap, a 54-mile journey from the Skagit River’s mouth. The preseason forecast this summer was 21,557 sockeye.
“The million-dollar question is: Are the sockeye early or just abundant this year?” Barkdull said. “Our average peak date for Baker sockeye is July 17.”
Since the 1920s, returns had averaged about 3,500 before dipping to an all-time low of 99 in 1985. The first Baker sockeye fishery was in 2010, when 14,239 fish returned. Sport fishing seasons followed in 2011 and 2012. Last summer, an all-time high of 48,000 sockeye returned (35,366 was the forecast).
The increase has been attributed to a state-of-the-art hatchery and an upstream trap-and-haul facility and an improved juvenile fish collecting system.
Lake Washington sockeye returns are also being closely watched, with hopes of possibly having a fishery. Daily counts show no sign of letting up at the Ballard Locks fish ladder. The updated run size of 117,251 sockeye through July 4 compares to a preseason forecast of 96,866. Those numbers are well ahead of those from the same time frame in 2006, the last time a sport fishery was held on the lake.
A return of 458,005 fish in 2006 provided 18 days of fishing, the most since 1996, when it was open 25 days. Other dates fisheries were held were 2004, 2002, 2000 and 1996.
Last summer’s return of 145,815 waxed the preseason forecast of 45,871.
State and tribal fish managers will meet soon to provide an in-season run size update. The peak return time is July 4 to 12.
At this point, the forecast falls well short of the 350,000 spawning escapement needed before any fisheries can be considered. Some say this summer’s will fall between 200,000 and 325,000.
There have been active discussions between state and tribal fisheries managers about possibly lowering the spawning goal.
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