Snow on the ground at Hoodoo ski area

Snow covers the slopes at Hoodoo Ski Area November 17, 2016. (SBG)

SISTERS, Ore. -- With the holidays around the corner, many people are looking forward to hitting the slopes.

We checked out how ski season is shaping up at Hoodoo Ski Area Thursday.

CAMERAS | Check out Hoodoo in real time | Santiam Pass cameras

Right now there are about five inches of snow on the ground. Officials say in order to open the slopes they need about thirty inches of snow at least.

"We’re a little ahead of schedule, hopefully," says Leif Williams, Hoodoo Ski Area spokesman.

Officials say every year they prepare to open on Thanksgiving day.

"The truth is we never really know what's going to happen until it happens," says Hoodoo office manager Daidre Streeter.

"In the last ten years I think we've opened Thanksgiving weekend twice," adds Williams, but this year he says they expect to open around the December 15.

Right now they are seeing a warm November, but they already have snowfall on the ground.

"It's one storm,” Williams says. “You kind of have to look and see what the next seven days are predicting." He says they use the National Weather Service to predict their opening day.

"A couple of years ago we were open for ten days, so yeah, that was a tough year."

Last ski season was predicted to be an El Nino, or unusually warm year, but it brought in a pleasant surprise:

"We got a big snowstorm the first weekend in December,” Williams says, “and then it just kept coming and coming and coming."

So far, this year looks to be different, and could match NOAA's predictions of a dry November and cold December.

"There were a lot of prayers answered and snow dances danced," Williams says. "Sales are up and people are excited. We've got a new fleet of snowboards, so you've got to get all of the bindings mounted on those."

There are 35 ski runs and 60-thousand square feet of lodging at Hoodoo.

"If we could open before the holidays, that's ideal,” says Streeter. “I mean, Christmas break and New Year’s is half of our revenue."

Fleets of rental snow gear and months of planning are expected to keep everyone entertained.

" Finally, I'm just excited to like, kind of see all of that come to fruition,” Williams says, “and see all of the happy faces get to experience all of that."

Excitement surrounds opening day, but employees remind anxious skiers they are at the mercy of mother nature.

"You hope for the best and plan for the worst, or however that goes," Williams says.

The ski season usually runs through mid-April. Season passes and "any card" sales are running up until next Saturday.

For more information visit the Hoodoo Ski Area website.

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