Winter sports enthusiasts set up for a run at Eaglecrest Ski Area. (Courtesy photo / Eaglecrest Ski Area)

Winter sports enthusiasts set up for a run at Eaglecrest Ski Area. (Courtesy photo / Eaglecrest Ski Area)

Maybe it’s raining at sea level, but Eaglecrest is chillin’

Get up there. Good weekday conditions precede a rough forecast for the weekend.

While a rainy winter has kept snow off the ground at lower altitudes, Eaglecrest Ski Area is up and running with alacrity after its slightly delayed start this season, said a spokesperson.

“It’s a winter wonderland. Ski patrol measured, like, 20 inches of snow since Sunday,” said Charlie Herrington, Eaglecrest marketing manager. “It’s not super light fluffy powder, but exactly the kind of snow we need to fill in some holes. It’s nice pasty powder.”

The solid snowfall has made up for a Dec. 19 start which opened rapidly into the regular schedule on Jan. 10, Herrington said.

“Thursday will be a great day. Get it before the weekend,” Herrington said. “The temperature is supposed to be warmer. People should definitely get up here rather than waiting.”

Eaglecrest’s coronavirus mitigation policies are proving effective, though there are some inconveniences, Herrington said.

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“We’ve just been humming with our outdoor-only operation plan,” Herrington said. “There’s some tradeoffs. You have to come in for your pre-fitting appointment, but once you have it you just call ahead. The other inconvenience is treating your vehicle as your lodge.”

A skier makes their run at Eaglecrest Ski Area. (Eaglecrest Ski Area)

A skier makes their run at Eaglecrest Ski Area. (Eaglecrest Ski Area)

Herrington said those precautions will remain in place, even as the City and Borough of Juneau relaxes its caution level somewhat.

“We know the city went down to Level 2. We’re happy here at Level 3,” Herrington said. “We’re humming. We’re happy where we’re at. The guests are happy. We’re just gonna keep pace and have a good winter.”

Despite possible inconveniences, lots of Juneau residents are making the trek up the mountain.

“On our busiest days this season, 1,200 to 1,500 people will be here. Even on those days, we have no lift lines,” Herrington said. “There have been virtually zero chairlift lines since we’ve been running Black Bear (Chairlift) every day, which spreads people around the mountain. It’s been firing.”

Eaglecrest is also offering a Sunday First Time Special each week, Herrington said, which includes a lesson beginning at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, limited lift ticket and equipment rental for first-time skiers or snowboarders, Herrington said. The whole package is $40 and a reservation is required. Herrington also mentioned Eaglecrest’s relatively new Flex Pass, which allows part-time enthusiasts to get a better deal.

Chairlift hours are currently 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., extending to 3:30 p.m. beginning on Jan. 20.

• Contact reporter Michael S. Lockett at (757) 621-1197 or mlockett@juneauempire.com.

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