Most of Upfront's friends have given up their snowdance routines out of frustration and re-focused their energies on other more productive activities like tree trimming, recreational drinking and couch surfing, but we have word from reliable sources that snow is in fact on the way - finally.
While the powers that be at Mt. Bachelor say they still don't know if they will be able to open this weekend, they're planning to hold a "Snow or No Snow" party from noon to 4pm Saturday at the mountain with all pass holders receiving a free beverage and a chance to hit the tubing or rail jam parks - snow permitting. It's been a frustrating non-start to the season for the mountain's staff and legions of seasonal employees who are still waiting to start work.
"Things are going as good as one could hope considering we and the jet stream don't seem to be seeing things eye to eye," said Bachelor spokesman Alex Kaufman in a recent e-mail exchange with Upfront.
According to Kaufman, this is only the second time in the past 30 years (when Bachelor moved to a November opening) that the mountain hasn't been open by December. The other time was the winter of 1994-95.
If the snow does appear, skiers and boarders can look forward to the second annual Dirsken Derby, a festive and costumed fundraising "race" event scheduled for Sunday, Dec. 14 that features tons of gear giveaways from pro-rider and organizer Josh Dirksen and his sponsors. Last year's inaugural event was a benefit for Tyler Ecklund, a young local rider who was paralyzed while training two years ago in California. This year's event will also serve as a fundraiser for Cole Ortega, who temporarily lost his arm when he was run over by a fishing dory while surfing on the Oregon coast. Tickets are $25 and available at Side Effect, Skjersaas and Exit Real World.
Speaking of Skjersaas, the shop hosts its annual rail jam on Friday night. Where they'll get the snow from, we don't know. Kick(er) off time is 4 p.m. The event is open to the fist 60 participants. Entry fee is a ten-can food donation.
A Slimmer Trimmer Bulletin
What readers need. Readers of Bend's daily newspaper may or may not have been aware of the paper's plans to cut its Monday business section, replacing it with a "Pets" section, which Editor in Chief John Costa outlined in his weekly column a few Sundays back. But anyone who picked up the paper on Monday was greeted with a front-page note about the changes and a revamped paper with, as promised, no business section and a new Pets section. The Bulletin is pushing the move as a way to better align the paper with its readers' interests, but the Oregonian lumped the move in with a trend by other Northwest papers to cut back on printing and production costs at a time of falling revenue. That would also explain why the paper, which has always prided itself on appearance, at least, of professionalism has taken to selling ads on the front of its local business section.
As far as the Pets section goes, Monday's maiden voyage included a feature on why dogs and cats need shelter, and not just decorative sweaters in sub-freezing temperatures, a wire piece about a museum that is asking kids what kind of dog the Obama family should have in the White House, and a profile of a local pet, Zorro the Pomeranian.
Obama's Achilles.Speaking of Obama, Upfront caught just a snippet of his interview with Tom Brokaw on Meet the Press this past Sunday. Brokaw finished up his interview with the president elect by telling Obama that he had dodged a question in a recent interview with Barbara Walters about whether he had resumed smoking. Brokaw asked if it was true that he had taken up smoking again and, if so, how he would manage in the officially smoke-free White House. In a moment of surprising candor Obama confessed that while he was doing very well, he had "fallen off the wagon" on a few occasions.
Our money is on Obama kicking the habit, but if he doesn't Upfront wonders if he will go down as the president that you would want to have a smoke break with, much as GeeDubya is known as the president you wouldn't mind having a beer with - a label that of course overlooks the fact that G.W. has been dry since his legendary hard drinking days in the '70s and '80s.
Despite a frenzied push to get the urban growth boundary finished before the end of the year, the Bend City Council deadlocked last week over a final version of the proposed expansion, which now sits at just under 9,000 gross acres and include plans for a new bridge across the Deschutes River north of the current city limits that one planner described as similar in design requirements to the Hwy. 97 bridge over the Crooked River gorge north of Terrebonne. The bridge is a critical piece of a plan to carry a new sewer line across the river to serve the additional growth that the city has planned for the west side around the back of Awbrey Butte. City officials have said they plan to spread the cost of the new bridge and the sewer lines across the entire tax base because it would not be fair to ask developers to shoulder the entire cost of the project that is so clearly of benefit to the whole city.
Yeah, and if you believe that, we have a bridge over the Deschutes River to sell you...
In the meantime the city is expected to resume their discussion of a few minor details regarding the UGB later this month before passing it on the Department of Land Conservation and Development - an agency that has already expressed significant reservations about the scope of Bend's unprecedented growth plan.