Operations in full swing at ‘family oriented’ Spout Springs

By Dick Mason, The Observer December 31, 2010 12:33 pm

Many Northeast Oregon residents will hit the dance floor tonight as they celebrate the final hours of 2010.

Others will hit the ski slopes.

At least they will at the Spout Springs Ski Resort.

Night skiing begins this evening at Spout Springs. It will be offered from 5 to 9 tonight and each Friday and Saturday for the remainder of the ski season.


Spout Springs is the only site in Eastern Oregon that annually offers night skiing. The Spokane area is one of the nearest places where there is evening skiing.

“It is a big-city amenity,’’ Spout Springs owner John Murray has said in the past.

Murray finds that people enjoy skiing under the lights for a variety of reasons.

“There is a lot of excitement and exhilaration,’’ he said.

Spout Springs, which opened Dec. 11, has been drawing a solid number of cross country and alpine skiers and snowboarders this winter.

Nordic skiers use a 40-kilometer network of trails, many of which are groomed. Alpine skiers enjoy a system featuring 16 runs and two double-chair lifts. The snowboarders use a terrain park featuring at least four rails and six ski jumps. The terrain park is larger than it was last winter.

“We try to expand it a little each year,’’ Murray said.

The snowboard and ski areas are monitored by members of the Spout Springs Ski Patrol. The patrol has been recognized several times in recent years for outstanding service by the National Ski Patrol.

Indoor facilities now operating at Spout include a rental shop, a ski school center, Spout Springs Mountain Inn and a clinic where first aid is provided.

Murray, who bought Spout Springs in 1999 with his wife Nancy, runs the resort with assistance from family members.

“It is family owned and operated. It has always been,’’ John Murray said.

Spout Springs’ staff accordingly caters to families.

“It is very family oriented.’’

Murray also takes pride in Spout Springs’ rich history. He notes that the U.S. Olympic Nordic ski team trained at Spout in the 1950s and in the 1960s Norway’s Olympic ski team practiced there.

The U.S. Olympic Committee earlier recognized Spout Springs’ connection to the Winter Olympic Games. It did so by granting Spout permission to fly the Olympic flag, Murray said.

Spout Springs, 15 miles west of Elgin on Highway 204, owes part of its successful heritage to a decision its original owners made in the 1920s. They moved the Spout Springs ski area about four miles east to a point they had determined received substantially more snow. The solid snowfalls Spout Springs receives have allowed it to continue operating many years since then through March.

Information on Spout’s schedule and conditions is available at its website, www.spoutspringsskiresort.com, or by calling


Following is Spout Springs schedule for the remainder of the winter:

• Saturday, Jan. 1 — 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

• Sunday, Jan. 2 — 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

For the remainder of the ski season after Jan. 2 Spout Springs will be open every Friday through Sunday. Friday hours will be noon to 9 p.m., Saturday hours will be 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday hours will be 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.