Normal snow for Hoodoo ski area: 60 inches. Needed to open: 30 inches. On ground: 7 inches

HOODOO SKI AREA, Ore. - Brown tufts of grass poke up through white snow on slops that should be buried under 5 feet of snow this time of year.

While 60 inches would be normal, Hoodoo needs 30 inches to open. The ski area has 7 inches of snow - where there's snow.

Further south in the Cascades, the lifts hang idle at Willamette Pass, where only 6 inches of snow remain on the ground.

Many Oregon ski areas find themselves dealing with one of the worst snow years in memory. It doesn't matter how swift the lift or steep the slope: If there's no snow, no one will go.

That means no work for seasonal employees, who missed out on December and now wonder when - or whether - they'll go to work in January.

And skiers and snowboarders who planned to get their money's worth out of a season pass are stuck: none of the shuttered ski resorts have announced any plans to refund or extend the passes into next year.

Ski report | Hoodoo website | Willamette Pass website

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