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Willamette Pass joins Purgatory’s orbit

Mountain Capital Partners welcomes first Pacific Northwest resort
Mountain Capital Partners will begin operating Willamette Pass Resort in Oregon this season, making it the 10th ski area on its Power Pass. (Photo by Cody Leish/Willamette Pass)

Mountain Capital Partners, operators of Purgatory and Hesperus resorts, announced Tuesday that it has agreed to enter into a joint venture to operate Willamette Pass Resort in Oregon.

This collaboration marks the 10th resort for MCP, the Southwest’s largest ski resort management company, and the collective’s first Pacific Northwest ski area.

For more than two decades, MCP has strengthened its position in the Southwest by acquiring, building, developing and growing nine resorts in New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, Utah and Texas. While Willamette Pass Resort’s location introduces a new geographical region to the company, MCP managing partner, James Coleman, said the skiing is fantastic there and the opportunity to carry on the tradition of Willamette Pass made the decision an obvious one.

Mountain Capital Partners will begin operating Willamette Pass Resort in Oregon this season, making it the 10th different ski area on its Power Pass. (Photo by Rachel Canada/Willamette Pass)

“Over the last 22 years, we’ve focused on growing skiing in the Southwest region, but our company's purpose, give people the freedom to ski, knows no boundaries,” Coleman said. “Willamette Pass Resort's unique terrain, incredible snowfall, operations that often extend late into spring, and its authentic community of local PNW skiers and riders will be a perfect addition to our family of resorts.”

Located 66 miles southeast of Eugene, Oregon, and operating on Willamette and Deschutes National Forests, Willamette Pass Resort is known for steep terrain; the resort’s high-speed, six passenger detachable chairlift, the biggest and fastest chairlift in the state; and its annual average of 430 inches of snow. Founded in 1941, the resort has been family owned and operated for generations and features 29 trails and five lifts across 555 skiable acres. The resort also has an 20 kilometers of cross-country skiing.

When the Wiper family purchased and began operating Willamette in 1982, Tim Wiper helped the ski area make improvements including its base lodge, snowmaking system, back side expansion and the six-passenger Eagle Peak Accelerator chairlift. Coleman said MCP looks forward to building upon and growing that success in close collaboration with Wiper and his team.

“Tim is a pioneer, not just for Willamette Pass Resort, but for our entire industry,” Coleman said. “He has championed so many firsts: the first six-person, high-speed detachable chairlift and magic carpet in Oregon; the Northwest’s first snowmaking system and express rental program, and more. Willamette Pass Resort is a success today thanks to Tim’s vision and bold willingness to try new ideas no one else was doing. Our team is thrilled to partner with him and his entire team to bring even more successes to this great mountain community.”

“Since this resort’s founding in 1941, this has been a family business and, together with our incredible staff, we’ve put in this work for one reason: our love for skiing,” Wiper said. “Mountain Capital Partners clearly shares our undeniable passion for this sport, and they are the right partner to not only lead Willamette Pass Resort into the future but also work together with us to carry on our remarkable legacy.”

The Willamette Pass Resort leadership team and all support staff will remain in place. MCP expects to bring meaningful upgrades to resort operations starting this winter, including a new season pass lineup that’s headlined by MCP’s flagship product, the Power Pass. All Power Pass and Power Pass Select guests will enjoy unlimited access to Willamette Pass Resort for the 2022/2023 winter season. Power Kids, the no-strings-attached-free season pass for kids ages 12 and younger, will also include access to Willamette Pass Resort.

For more information, visit mcp.ski or willamettepass.com.