Snow on the mountain, shovels in Sisters

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      SISTERS, Ore. - After a mostly dry winter, late season snow has more people returning to the Cascades to enjoy the final few weeks of winter.

      And Sisters is a small mountain town with big charm.

      Heavy snow is a welcome sign in the Cascades.

      The elusive snowfall has been a late arrival this season.

      "It was just killing us, from November, almost through the end of January, the snow finally showed up and it's just been fantastic ever since," skier Erik Hoefer said. Hoefer drove from Stayton to ski at Hoodoo.

      After mammoth-sized snowfall in February, it's ski season on the mountain, but construction season in the town of Sisters. The town is undergoing a project to repave Highway 20.

      "We're just really thrilled that we have shovels in the ground and we're ready to get going," Erin Borla said. Borla is the executive director of the Sisters Area Chamber of Commerce.

      "It's probably 80 percent weather driven," Corrie Ortner said referring to winter tourism in Sisters. Ortner works at Angeline's Bakery and Caf, which offers vegan and gluten-free food.

      Shop owners admit they've limped through December and January, but are still managing to pull in plenty of late winter foot traffic.

      "It hasn't affected us as much as you'd think it would, just because of the loyal customers we have," Ortner said. "We're really thankful, we see a lot of people every day."

      At Hoodoo, a lack of snow forced them to push back the opening until February. But with a base of about five feet of snow on the mountain, the staff, along with skiers and snowboarders are making up for lost time.

      "I would see that they'd have no problem running easily into April," Hoefer said.

      The official start of spring is still a few weeks away, but the town and the ski area are clinging to every bit of precious snow.

      "Oh my gosh, I wish I was a weather man," Borla joked.

      "If we get winter into mid-June, that'll be fine with us," Hoefer said.

      With plenty of shopping and skiing, Sisters is more than just a one-horse town. And you can see it all in a day's drive. Hoodoo is open Thursday through Sunday, but will be open the entire final week of March for spring break.