Juneau’s Eaglecrest Ski Area will remain open at limited capacity this weekend

The Porcupine Chairlift runs on Opening Day at Eaglecrest Ski Area. (Photo by Adelyn Baxter/KTOO)
The Porcupine Chairlift runs on Opening Day 2017 at Eaglecrest Ski Area in Juneau. (Photo by Adelyn Baxter/KTOO)

Juneau’s Eaglecrest Ski Area will be open at a limited capacity again this weekend, with only the Porcupine chair running. That lift services the mountain’s easiest trails. 

Staff members were hoping to open more of the mountain going into this weekend, but the ski report this morning confirmed that Hooter, Ptarmigan and Blackbear lifts will remain closed. That means no access to the upper mountain. 

“It was 35 degrees at the base Wednesday morning. And it was raining all the way to the top of Hooter,” said Marketing and Events manager Kristen Strom. “That kind of set us back for a bigger opening this weekend.”

Temperatures this week were warmer than expected, with several days above freezing.

Eaglecrest hosted a soft opening last weekend. Strom said a steady flow of visitors came out to enjoy the easier trails.

“It was kind of a nice, slower opening for us. And then this week, we were predicted to have a lot of snow,” she said.

Strom said safety considerations guided the decision to keep some trails closed. The base of the mountain has a relatively thin snowpack, which exposes skiers to early-season hazards. 

The other consideration is snowmaking. Eaglecrest relies on a durable snow base that can last throughout the season. In recent seasons, they’ve relied more and more on man-made snow. This year, temperatures have not stayed cold enough for snowmakers to cover the base of the mountain.

Strom said that a slow rollout is not uncommon for Eaglecrest, and they’re hopeful that the whole mountain will be accessible by Thursday, Dec. 15. 

The National Weather Service forecasts clear skies with below-normal temperatures this weekend.

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