In most years around this time, skiers and snowboarders at the University of Portland can be found enjoying the tail end of spring season on Mt. Hood. This year, it’s different; record low snowpack has made this traditional activity close to impossible.
According to the U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service, this year’s snowpack is 28 percent of an average year’s snowpack. Some students that hoped to hit the slopes frequently this winter accepted the fact that this season would be subpar, but others are clinging to the hope of one more day on the mountain. “I’ve only been up to Mt. Hood a few times this year,” said Peter Luciano, a junior, “ I’ve been snowboarding my whole life and this is the worst season I’ve seen; it just wasn’t worth it to go up to the mountain.”
Lucien Brockel, president of the UP Ski and Snowboard Club, said that even though the season wasn’t ideal, the club looked beyond Mt. Hood to find some better snow . “We made the best of it and went to Mt. Bachelor, which had a decent year and is a better resort for spring conditions,” he said.
The low snowpack has further implications than just a poor skiing and snowboarding season. Streams and rivers that rely on snowmelt will be lower earlier in the summer. The drier environment poses a risk for potential wildfires. People reliant on water from snowmelt will mostly likely face water shortages later in the summer as well.
While the past few days have been filled with rain, the forecast for Portland is filled with warm temperatures for spring. Students disappointed with the lack of snow can begin to take advantage of other outdoor activities to help get over the disappointment of the snow season.
Portland forecast for the rest of the week:
Wednesday: Partly sunny with a high of 61
Thursday: Mostly sunny with a high of 68
Friday: Mostly sunny with a high of 69
Saturday: Mostly cloudy with a high of 70
*Forecast as of 4/13, courtesy of KATU.com.