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Sliding into its 90th year, Summit Ski Area plays it cool

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Pioneering resort celebrates time in operation by doing business as usual


After 90 years of operation, Summit Ski Area is keeping it casual on the celebratory front. The oldest ski area on Mount Hood, Summit prefers to age gracefully, doing what owner Charles Wessinger says it's always done best: serve the learning demographic.

As an act of customer appreciation and as kind of a "throwback to years ago," the ski area will be selling discounted lift tickets of $10 on Fridays throughout the year.

"We're not doing any big celebration," Wessinger says. "We've got our niche and we're sticking to it."

Summit arose in 1927 as the answer to a need for a safe winter recreation site on the mountain, following a long search for lost skiers during a storm in 1926, and that's just the tip of the iceberg in terms of its history.

As Wessinger says, "it's a lot of fun, and a lot of history."

The ski area sits at 4,000 feet in elevation and has changed hands several times in its near century of operation.

According to the Summit website, "the current vision is to ensure an affordable introduction to winter sports activities."

Wessinger has owned the wintery attraction since 1991, and he says the role of the area has always been and will remain "catering to the novice."

"The way we've operated has always been as a family friendly, novice ski area," Wessinger says. "We cater to people who aren't as familiar with skiing or the snow. We do a good job of introducing them. Everybody's about Meadows and Timberline. We prepare people to go to those areas … We'll just continue what we're doing."

The Summit lodge is open every day at 8:30 a.m. The Summit Tube Hill is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends. The Snow Bunny Tube Hill and the Summit Ski Lift are only open on school-sanctioned holidays and weekends from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Summit Grill is available on weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on weekends from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

For more information, visit www.summitskiarea.com or call 503-272-0256.