SANTIAM PASS, Ore. - A powerful winter storm took aim at the Oregon Cascades Friday night, proving to be trouble for drivers. There was much less snow in the Bend area -- but trouble there, too.
Near whiteout conditions hit Santiam Pass late Friday evening, with drivers reporting very poor visibility. With all the new snow, ODOT was requiring drivers to have chains or traction tire if they are headed over.
Along Highway 20 near the summit, at least two cars had slid off the road and remained in the ditch as passing motorists moved slowly around them.
As the National Weather Service continued a winter weather advisory into Saturday, a wet mix of rain, then snow caused trouble around the Bend area and points south and east, with a lumber truck rolling off Hwy. 20E toward burns, a pickup off 27th Street north of Highway 20 and reports of several semis sliding and backing up southbound Highway 97 at Lava Butte, a traditional trouble spot.
But up at Hoodoo Ski Area, the chairlifts were still turning. Old Man Winter's return was unable to stomp out the spirit of die-hard skiers and boarders.
"This is what we live for -- I mean, you can go as fast as you want and not have to worry about getting hurt," Sean Joice said.
"You can get a nice smooth good turn in, just dig your board in and eat it and your good to go! It's great!" Aaron Marlia said.
The storm did prove too much for the ski area's longest lift, the "Green Machine," which was shut down due to 50-60 mph winds.
With nearly two feet of new snow expected by Saturday morning, mountain staff say this is just what they needed.
"It's kind of nice to get a nice fresh dusting, and you know, get everyone excited about winter again," Hoodoo Mountain Manager Jim Follis said.
As the snow continues to fall, everyone enjoying the mountain says to be safe if you plan to come up and play.
"Just take it slow. There are crazy drivers out there that drive fast. It's not fun," Marlia said, "just take it slow."