Late snow arrival surprises Central students

Colt Sweetland, Staff Reporter

This winter, Ellensburg and the surrounding region did not receive snow until mid January, which caused some concerns for students at Central.

Tom Potter, a graduate assistant at Outdoor Pursuits and Rentals (OPR), said that snow usually arrives in December and the resorts begin to open around that time.

“Winters have been progressively getting later and later, and everyone kind of panicked when there was no snow,” Potter said.

According to Potter, the mountains currently have plenty of snow on the ground, so now is a good time for students to go out and enjoy it.

“Even though there is snow at the mountains, when there is no snow in Ellensburg, people aren’t really in the winter mood,” Potter said.

There are plenty of trips going out to the mountains, now that students have realized the snow is back, according to Potter.

“Our ski bus has been very popular,” Potter said.

According to Potter, there was not really an impact on hours getting cut back from employees at OPR.

Devin Dykes, a senior environmental studies major and a trip leader at OPR, said that he had more time to go skiing at other resorts that opened on time, since there weren’t many people signing up for excursions at OPR until the snow finally arrived in Ellensburg.

According to Dykes, the snow usually starts falling during later months of winter—around February or March.

“I read a good quote the other day, ‘There’s only two types of snow: there’s the good snow, and a bad attitude,’” Dykes said.

Dykes said that the snow is back at the resorts, and students should get out and have fun.

“If students are going in the back country, they better be careful,” Dykes said.

There have been deaths at Stevens Pass and at Crystal Mountain in the past few days, Dykes said, so it’s important for students to be careful when they go out.

“I think more from a personal level people have been impacted because they want to go ski deep powder, and there hasn’t been much of that until now,” Potter said.

Aaron Johnson, a Snoqualmie Pass chair-lift operator and an electrical engineering tech undergrad, said that he had expected to start working in early to late December, but did not start work until  mid-January when the resort opened.

“I was hoping to use the money towards my senior project and some new snowboarding gear, but of course with the late season I had to live the life o’ramen for a bit,” Johnson said.

It is difficult to find work in Ellensburg, and since Johnson works with his best friend, he didn’t want to get tied up in another job and lose his position at the resort.

“I wanted to get new equipment and get better at snowboarding this season,” Johnson said.

Missing out on a month of work at the resort cut out part of Johnson’s expenses, but he also said that having weekends to do homework and have down time was nice.

“Our hours have gone from about zero to 20 hours per weekend, which has kind of gotten in the way of schoolwork but helps with the bills,” Johnson said.

By the end of the week, it is predicted that the resorts will be at 100 percent capacity, Potter said.