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Ski slopes get gifts wrapped in white.

Byline: Greg Bolt The Register-Guard

'Twas the day after Christmas

And all over the pass

Skiers were swooshing

And having a gas

On a day when the wrapping paper and bows were a pleasant but fading memory, it was still Christmas just about anyplace with snow. Particularly so if there's a nice vertical drop to go with it.

That's one reason Northwest ski areas are gearing up for a strong week after Christmas, considering that most got what they wanted for the holiday.

"It snowed a foot on Christmas Day," said Chuck Shepard, president of Hoodoo Family Recreation, which operates Hoodoo Ski Area on the Santiam Pass. "That was my big Christmas present."

But he wasn't the only one enjoying a white day-after-Christmas. Diana Roofener of Scio joined some cousins and brought the kids up for a chance to use the new sleds they got as an early Christmas present but hadn't used yet.

"He just loves it," she said, watching her 4-year-old son, Cole, giving the new sled a workout along with his sister, 5-year-old Amelia Spilde.

Sledding hills are one way ski resorts have sought to expand their customer base as the number of skiers and snowboarders began to plateau. In addition to the Snow Bunny sled hill, Hoodoo has the Autobahn tubing hill with its own rope tow.

That's where Diane Broad of Corvallis and her 4-year-old daughter, Aubrey, spent the day. Aubrey pronounced it a successful outing and knew exactly which was the best part.

"The part where you go down," she said enthusiastically. "I screamed."

Expect plenty more screaming in the coming days. Although the day after Christmas is typically a good but not especially crowded one, the real holiday week crest is yet to come.

"The 28th is the day we'll just get rocked," said Shepard, explaining that the crowds peak about three days after Christmas. That just happens to fall on a day when the sun is expected to break out after one more blast of snow today.

"We'll have four times as many people as today," Shepard said.

That's making for a merry holiday at many ski areas, and the Hoodoo resort is no exception.

With its annual New Year's Eve party - complete with a band, night skiing and fireworks - Shepard said the old year will go out with a record-setting bang.

"This will be a record month for us," he said. "It will be our biggest month by far."
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Title Annotation:Recreation; Winter resorts are expecting some big crowds this week thanks to a snowy Christmas
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Dec 27, 2006
Words:408
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