NORTH COUNTY — For the first time in three years, Sitzmark Ski Area opened the nostalgic ski hill up for business.
Nestled in the hills near the community of Havillah, Sitzmark Ski Area, a mostly volunteer operated ski operation with one double chair lift, eagerly opened for the season, after two years of no snow and a year of COVID restrictions.
“It was one of those awesome days that you dream about. The snow was perfect. You could ski the powder and it was perfect. Both Saturday and Sunday were like that. We had sunshine. When you got to the top, you could look down and see the ocean of fog in the valley. It was really awesome,” said Sitzmark Ski Club board member Sandy Sutton.
Sutton said after a couple years without snow, this year, right after Christmas, the hill gained 20 inches of snow in one week.
“It was really dry, we couldn’t groom it at all. Then it got really cold, and dried the snow out more. The last couple of weeks, it’s been a little warmer and it was just the right temperature and the snow set up correctly,” said Sutton.
For opening weekend over 100 people each day joined the slope. Both locals and out of town travelers alike took advantage of the prime conditions.
Due to mandated restrictions, while inside the rental shop masking up is mandatory, according to Sutton.
“The state also mandates, if you are in the lift line, you should have some sort of face covering or mask. When you are on the slope, you do not have to wear a mask,” said Sutton.
Although it’s early in the season, Sutton said skiers can look forward to the many activities coming to the slope this year.
Sitzmark’s famous “No Alibi Race” will soon be announced but the board has yet to set the date for the event. Sutton said the event will be held sometime at the end of February.
“You get one run down. It ranges from ages six to 65 and older,” said Sutton.
The winner of each age group will receive a trophy.
A five week lesson program is set to begin this Saturday, Jan. 29.
“You can sign up for Saturday lessons or Sunday lessons,” said Sutton.
She said even if you’re 100 and want to learn how to ski, they can give you a lesson.
“We don’t really limit it,” said Sutton.
She said this past weekend they had a couple of two-year-old children on skis and they absolutely loved it.
“It was so much fun to watch,” she said.
Skiers can enjoy a day of family fun on the hill and warm themselves in the lodge area, while enjoying a hot meal, choosing between a hamburger, hot chili or a hot dog. Other snacks are available as well.
“We appreciate people turning out because without them coming we can’t exist. It’s really a volunteer organization. We do have employees during the season for lift operators and in the kitchen but the patrol is all volunteer. The instructors are all volunteers,” said Sutton.
She also said coming soon to the slope will be innertubing.
“In the next couple of weeks, we will get that going. You will have to use our tubes. We have certified tubes that people can rent. There will be three or four lanes that people can tube,” said Sutton.
During the season, Sitzmark Ski Hill is open Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday. The Ski Hut and the Lodge are open beginning at 9 a.m. Lifts are open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.