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Ski area opens for first time in three years after heavy snowfall

Laura Knowlton / staff photo Fresh powder and blue skies created perfect skiing conditions for the avid skiers who spent the past weekend at the Sitzmark ski area.

NORTH COUNTY – For the first time in three years, Sitzmark Ski Area has opened the nostalgic ski resort for business.

Nestled in the hills near the community of Havillah, the Sitzmark Ski Area, a mostly volunteer-run ski operation with a double chairlift, has eagerly opened for the season, after two years without snow and a year of COVID restrictions .

“It was one of those great days you dream of. The snow was perfect. You could ski powder and it was perfect. Saturday and Sunday were like that. We had sunshine. When you got to the At the top, you could look down and see the ocean of fog in the valley. It was really awesome,” said Sitzmark Ski Club board member Sandy Sutton.

Sutton said after a few years without snow, this year just after Christmas the hill gained 20 inches of snow in a week.

“It was really dry, we couldn’t prepare it at all. Then it got very cold and dried the snow more. The last two weeks it’s been a little warmer and it’s been just the right temperature and the snow has settled in properly,” Sutton said.

Photo submitted Last Saturday, novice skiers Noah Harrell, Madison Fox, Gunnar Harrell and Nataley Harrell were excited to try something new on the hills of Sitzmark.

Photo submitted Last Saturday, novice skiers Noah Harrell, Madison Fox, Gunnar Harrell and Nataley Harrell were excited to try something new on the hills of Sitzmark.

For the opening weekend more than 100 people each day joined the track. Residents and travelers from out of town enjoyed the optimal conditions.

Due to mandatory restrictions, inside the rental store, masking is mandatory, according to Sutton.

“The state also requires, if you are in line, that you have some sort of face covering or mask. When you’re on the slope, you don’t have to wear a mask,” Sutton said.

Although it’s early in the season, Sutton said skiers can expect plenty of activity on the slopes this year.

Sitzmark’s famous “No Alibi Race” will be announced soon, but the board has yet to set the date for the event. Sutton said the event will take place in late February.

“You get a run down. It ranges from six to 65+,” Sutton said.

The winner of each age group will receive a trophy.

A five-week course program is scheduled to begin this Saturday, January 29.

“You can sign up for Saturday classes or Sunday classes,” Sutton said.

She said even if you are 100 and want to learn to ski, they can give you a lesson.

“We don’t really limit it,” Sutton said.

She said last weekend they had two two-year-olds on skis and they loved it.

“It was so fun to watch,” she said.

Skiers can enjoy a day of family fun on the hill and warm up in the clubhouse area, while enjoying a hot meal, choosing between a burger, hot chili or hot dog. Other snacks are also available.

“We appreciate the people who come because without them we cannot exist. It is truly a voluntary organization. We have employees during the season for the elevator operators and in the kitchen, but the patrol is completely voluntary. The instructors are all volunteers,” Sutton said.

She also said that coming to the slope soon will be innertubing.

“In the next few weeks, we are going to put this into action. You will need to use our tubes. We have certified tubes that people can rent. There will be three or four routes people can take,” Sutton said.

During the season, Sitzmark Ski Hill is open Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. The Ski Hut and the Lodge are open from 9:00 am. The ski lifts are open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.