Meadows Blog

Update: February Drops 134" of Snow

Adding today's accumulation through Friday morning February has served up 134" including Friday morning's 11"! We received FIVE FEET in FOUR DAYS!

Feb 20: 17" Feb 16: 9” Feb 12: 6” Feb 8: 9” Feb 4: 3”
Feb 19: 13" Feb 15: 7” Feb 11: 5” Feb 7: 8” Feb 3: 3”
Feb 18: 17” Feb 14: 7” Feb 10: 1” Feb 6: 0” Feb 2: 0”
Feb 17: 4” Feb 13: 1” Feb 9: 9” Feb 5: 2” Feb 1: 2”
51" 24" 21" 19" 8"
Check out this awesome video by Pierce Hodges shot Tuesday.

Powder at Mt. Hood MeadowsIt may be the shortest month, but so far it has delivered the snow conditions we’ve been waiting for. Through this morning at 5 AM - February has delivered 6 feet of new snow - that’s right - 72”! There’s only been two days in February where we didn’t get any accumulation the previous 24 hours, and the current storm has dropped over 2 FEET of fresh in the past 72 hours!

See photos posted on our Social Page!

During this storm cycle the Heather lift opened delighting powder riders from Twilight down. Private Reserve opened and we reached 92” snow depth in the base area. Winter is on - we're at full operations! Thanks February. 

Reaching the Century Mark at Mid Mountain

In previous seasons, we reported a mid mountain snow depth. This was done largely by guess - either some of our on snow folks making an educated guess, or by extrapolation - adding a certain amount or percentage to our base area snow depth. We never really had an accurate reading for ourselves or to share with our guests.

Earlier this season our snow safety team scouted out some locations on the mountain to place a stake that we could record mid mountain depths. We needed to find a spot that was relatively undisturbed, didn't snow load or get wind scoured, was accessible for our grooming or patrol crews to read regularly and was representory of our middle mountain conditions. The preferred location was near the top of Roach Bowl at the 6,250 foot elevation. Our NWAC telemetry (our official measurement) is located at the 5,380 foot elevation.

Initially the snow stake was 110" in length. It's first measurement, way back in December - was 31" when we had 22" in the base. Turns out 110" probably won't be enough stake, as we reached the 100" mark today. Our snow safety team spliced an extension on to the stake so we will be able to continue to measure and report at mid mountain - and compare to our base area depth.

Adding length to the snow stake at Mt. Hood MeadowsSnow stake reaches 100

 So this is cause for a little "unofficial" celebration. We hit 100" at mid mountain. Hurray! And with our base depth at 75" and winter kicking into gear, we're hoping to celebrate reaching the century mark officially soon!

Portland Ice Storm Warning Affects Buses and Programs Sunday

It's one of those Good News Bad News things. The good news is this storm is just pounding Meadows with powder and Sunday's conditions should be outrageous! For those that can get here...

And now the bad news.

Ice Storm Warning in Portland will Cancel Sunday Buses

The National Weather Service has issued an Ice Storm Warning for the Portland Metro Area through 10 PM Sunday evening. And with roads already becoming treacherous this evening with freezing rain, we're canceling our Portland buses for Sunday. That's tough, since the snow is so good at Meadows, but we feel that is the right thing to do. 

February Sunday Programs Postponed

Sno-Blasters, Trailblazers, High School and Adult programs scheduled to start Sunday, will be postponed one week. However, if you come from an ice-unaffected area, check in at ski school and we'll give you your option to take your lesson Sunday. Otherwise, everyone should look at Sunday, March 9 to be the make good day. You can also email ski school with questions or to arrange your make good on another day. 

Park & Ride Cancelled

We won't be running our Park & Ride buses Sunday. We will be contacting those who purchased seats or packages to reschedule your ride or get you a refund. Or you can contact our Portland Office at 503.337.2222 Monday with questions. 

Again, we hate doing this when the snow is so good. But considering the warning we feel this is the best course of action.

See you on the mountain - soon!

Chill Temps Means Fine Light Dry Powder

Randy Boverman Video - Blower Snow

But baby it's cold outside - yeah and the snow conditions are AWESOME! Dry, flaky, powdery snow, usually reserved for the Rockies, or Alaska or other locales with frigid temps. With 16" of new snow this past week, and temps which will be diving down to zero (that's Fahrenheit, not Celsius) the surface conditions are a definite treat. From our snow report today:

"Groom is light fluffy powder, packed powder, and machine-tilled groom. Off the groom is deep blower powder, packed powder, hardpack, moguls, and powder stashes."

Here's a slide show of some shots leading up to these epic conditions:

And from our friends at - here's some tips for staying warm in single digit or below zero temps. 


Remember to layer. You can always take off or put on more layers depending on how cold it is outside.


On cold days not as many people are skiing or riding so you can take a break to warm up and then head right back out to the slopes.


It is still early in the season so you may or may not have the stamina for a top-to-bottom run.? However, skiing or riding top-to-bottom will warm up your muscles and keep you warm as a result.


After your muscles are warmed up, keep them warm by making quick, small turns.? The quantity of the turns will make your muscles move and could be burning by mid-run.


Using hand and feet warmers or boot heaters, you can keep your extremities warm.? Usually, your hands and feet are the first things to get cold since they are further away from your heart

Fresh Snow Will Likely Fill Oregon Snow Parks This Weekend

Here comes another big weekend for Oregon winter recreationalists. This isn't just the skiers and snowboarders, it's snow shoers, cross country skiers, family sledders, tubers and those just wanting to see the beauty of the snow. It's a huge attraction and part of the beauty and appeal of the Northwest. Now - the challenge - getting everyone to the mountain, parked efficiently and back home again swiftly and safely.

Here are 8 things you can do, or you should know, which will help make your weekend recreating on the mountain more enjoyable.

1. TAKE PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION - the best way to avoid having car problems is not to bring it in the first place! In addition to the programs buses Meadows runs, there are several other shuttle services, including:

  • Park & Ride - With three pickup locations in Tualatin, Beaverton and Gateway, there's a convenient pick up location from Portland. Try to make your reservation by 2 PM to assure you get a seat.
  • Sea to Summit - Picking up at the Portland REI (check their schedule) or you can book them to take you direct to the mountain.
  • Aspen Limo Tours - Book them to pick up from your home.

2. CAR POOL - Hook up with others and fill all the seats in your vehicle. You'll reduce your fuel cost, create some social opportunity and reduce the number of vehicles needing a place to park. You can register at DriveLessConnect to find others to car pool with to the mountain AND have a chance to win prizes this weekend by taking the Drive Less Connect Challenge!

Don't Be That Guy - Be Prepared for Winter Driving

3. If you're driving - MAKE SURE YOUR VEHICLE IS PREPARED FOR WINTER DRIVING! This is actually the biggest issue we have on the mountain when there are winter conditions. It only takes one vehicle to spin out on the highway or the access road to clog the road for everyone. DON'T BE "THAT GUY."

  • Carry chains or adequate snow tires - and put those chains on before you need them. Not familiar with when to put those chains on? Then it's probably already too late. Here's a link to the TripCheck chaining requirements. And you need only look for the highway signs to know when you need to pull over to put the chains on. 
  • Use the TripCheck highway cameras so you can see who is already on the road, what the road and weather conditions are.
ODOT has a Winter Driving Tips page that addresses this topic more thoroughly. Give it a read and share it with others.

The importance of chaining up when Traction Tires are required. This is a great report News Channel 8 KGW aired last season:

4. GET HERE EARLY! On these busy days the main lot can fill before 9 AM - with the Sunrise lot filling within an hour. HRM can fill by 11 AM. So if you're leaving Portland at 9 AM - you're probably not going to find a space in these lots. 

5. TAKE THE HOOD RIVER ROUTE - While it's further in distance, the "end around" is often the fastest way to Meadows. Highway 26 from Portland has all the traffic for the other winter recreation areas including the ski areas on Mt. Hood. While those others are stuck in a line of traffic the Highway 35 traffic from Hood River is usually flowing much smoother. If there's going to be a traffic issue it will most likely happen at White River. So while you're backed up behind "That Guy" who spun out because he didn't have chains, our parking lots are being filled by those who came through Hood River. 

6. REMOTE PARK YOUR VEHICLE - On anticipated peak days Meadows offers remote parking in Welches and in Parkdale (see locations in this Blog post) and offers free shuttling. When you see our signs indicating our lots are full - USE THE REMOTE LOTS. 

7. PLAN TO ARRIVE LATE - Everybody heads to the mountain between 7 and 10 AM. So why not leave a little later and stay a little longer? Spaces begin to open up in our lots around noon leaving space for your late arrival. Your shift pass is valid until 6 PM so there's not rush to get down the hill. Stick around, let the others get caught up in the congestion. Then leave later after the traffic is flowing smoothly again.

8. STAY CONNECTED - We mentioned TripCheck for road conditions, cameras and incidents. Our conditions page also has parking lot status and road condition information. You can also stay connected through our MHMLifts Twitter updates.

Feel free to add to the list - your comments below will educate and help us all get to the mountain as planned.

See you on the mountain!

Powder Thursday Good Friends and Awesome Riding

Hello winter! The storm lived up to it's promise of dropping 4 - 8" Wednesday into Thursday (much more higher up on the mountain). And that's all it took to revive the mountain and get everyone stoked for some awesome riding today. We'll admit - it was a much needed snow, AND it was just what we needed to make for some really fun skiing.

Even with the less than average snowfall this refresher put a spring back into our snow. Meadows terrain is like a backyard trampoline - you just love to bounce all around on it. The new snow put the bounce back in as well as the cushion for some pillowy soft landings. After storm recovery, Vista was opened for the afternoon - surrendering first tracks to late arriving guests, and those who got here early and were thursting for more. 

The storm continued to drop snow Thursday evening, and the forecast says an another 4 - 8" could be deposited through Friday morning. Enjoy the Pierce Hodges video - get stoked. Then get some for yourself! We'll see you on the mountain!

Awesome Video Shows How Great the Conditions Are

It's amazing what last week's storm did to provide coverage on our slopes. We received four feet of snow in the base area where our settled base is 51" and more mid mountain where we have 78". The storm allowed us to open Hood River Meadows so we now have bottom to top high speed quad service. All six of our express lifts are scheduled to operate this MLK weekend.

Most amazingly is the quality of the surface conditions. A beautiful groom and packed powder. The warm sunny days are not affecting the snow pack the way it does in the spring - that's because the sun is much lower and not beating down directly on the snow. It really is great skiing and snowboarding. The video was shot Thursday, January 16 by Pierce Hodges. Enjoy - and we'll see you on the mountain soon!

Cascade Storm Recovered

Cascade Express towers following 4 foot snow storm
That's the picture our lift maintenance crew rolled up on this morning. That's Cascade - all frozen up from the storm that brought us four feet of snow this past few days, but also saw the freezing levels yoyo up and down creating our infamous Mt. Hood rime ice.

Rime ice on Vista TowerAnd this is after several hours of deicing the Vista lift which was opened to public at 10:16 AM, following storm recovery, dig out and chair launch. That deicing actually started yesterday as the storm was pushing out. Take a look at this tower and imagine trying to climb it!

No sweat. Well, actually - a lot of sweat.  Eight climbers, hammering ice off the tower ladders, then perching atop each lift using brass hammers to free the haul cable of the caked ice over a foot in diameter. Hard work - but something our crews are very good at.rime ice on haul cable at Mt. Hood MeadowsRime ice 1 foot in diameter on haul cable

Cascade Express towers and lines with rime iceCascade tower begin deiced 

And the results of their hard efforts is your reward. Cascade opened to public at 12:45 today. And that means with the high pressure and sunshine we're seeing this week, we expect the lift to be operating daily. Here are some photos taken by Brian Robb and our own Jay Chrisman.

So now we have high speed access from the bottom of HRM to the top of Cascade - 2,777 vertical feet. That's one of the best vertical drops with good coverage found any where in the country. And it's yours - here at Meadows! See you on the mountain!

Fifteen Inches of Fresh Powder!

Hello old friend. It's been a while. How you doing? Are you still as much fun as you used to be? Let's dance. Let's tango. Let's slam! Powder made it's triumphant return to Mt. Hood Meadows - and YOU got to play in it. More snow fell on this mountain in the past 24 hours than anywhere in the country. And while this storm may just get silly (with yoyo freezing levels and some winds) it should also provide for another dazzling powder day before it blows through after the weekend. So come on up. Let's dance!

Pierce Hodges Video

Freshies on a Friday

It's amazing what just a little snow will do for you - but then it's been that kind of season. Meadows received 2" of new overnight - with blue skies Friday morning. Mid mountain received 3" - and our stellar grooming crew made the most of it! So did our guests who chased powder lines all day, hitting some spots with 8 - 12" of wind loaded powder beneath the ridges.

While we have a most promising forecast this week for a good dose of winter weather - it's still fun to hit up some freshies in the sunshine, as this video from Pierce Hodges shows.

Meadows Has 63" Base at Top of Star Snow Stake

No wonder the snow conditions are so much better at Mt. Hood Meadows - especially on the upper mountain. The snowpack measured at the top of Shooting Star - about 6560' elevation - is 63". That's right - more than five feet of snow at the top of Star, which by the way, is the same elevation as the top of Mt. Hood Express.

Shooting Star snow stake at the 6560 foot level at Mt. Hood Meadows Ski Resort 

This is a reporting station that our patrol has been monitoring on a regular basis. Today we planted an actual snow stake there so we can report mid mountain snow depth. You'll see that now on our conditions page and our daily snow pack reports.

Full disclosure - this is in a location that can collect snow drift, but it is representative of where we ski. There can be wind swept areas with much less snow. It is still early season conditions, and you may find grass poking through on the lower part of Star Ridge, Apollo and Mercury, so as always be aware of unmarked obstacles. We just wanted to show that higher up on the mountain the snow pack and the conditions are much different than what is being officially reported at our telemetry at the bottom of Mt. Hood Express.

So while others are focused on the base area depth of 24" - our guests are enjoying the conditions on terrain served by Mt. Hood Express, Shooting Star and Cascade Express. Pretty awesome, huh?

Here's a great video from a guest "SnoringZoe" that he submitted through our video channel. If you haven't made it up you'll see what you've been missing!

Three High Speed Quads and Awesome December Powder

As promised we opened up Shooting Star this morning - which delighted (emphasis on the "light" hint hint) crowd that braved the cold temperatures to find their favorite terrain covered in exquisitely light powder. First tracks on Shooting Star - first of the day and the season. Could it get any better?


Following two days of heroic storm recovery, Cascade Express boarded passengers who were treated to the foot-and-a-half of fresh (in some cases more) deposited by Monday's storm. Sweet goodness - a wellness day on the mountain for sure.

Thanks to Pierce Hodges for the video - it's a playlist so you can see Tuesday's treat as well!

Mt. Hood Express Scheduled For Tuesday

Mt. Hood Express is scheduled to operate Tuesday. The quad provides high speed service out of the base area, and accesses more advanced terrain on the front side of the mountain. Meadows lift crews have been working (feverishly) to deice Mt. Hood Express, performing storm recovery in the middle of the ongoing storm!

Speaking of the storm - it deposited 3 to 5 inches at the base area level after turning to snow late last night. But higher up on the mountain - like at the 6600 foot level - we received 16 inches of new snow. It's been snowing and blowing all day, freshening and refreshing the runs. Since the terrain Mt. Hood Express serves has yet to open, Tuesday should offer some great powder turns.

Keep in mind we have early season conditions, be aware of unmarked obstacles and other riders as runs narrow near the bottom. So now that you've been officially warned, we'll see you up here Tuesday 9 AM - 4 PM.

Also scheduled to operate Tuesday are Easy Rider, Buttercup and the Ballroom Carpet. Cascade Express is also scheduled, pending storm recovery and weather permitting. Wouldn't it be awesome if.....

Adult lift prices will be $59 Tuesday - Juniors (age 7 - 14) are $39 but remember the family deal that up to two Junior day passes can be purchased for $19 each with the purchase of an adult day pass. We'll continue to equipment rental discount of $30 for adults, $20 for juniors.

We'll post our scheduled lifts and any changes on our conditions page.

See you on the mountain!

Burly Storm Riders Dip Into Some Powder

The weather is throwing some of it's nastiest early season storm conditions at us - and the burly storm riders are loving it. That storm - you know the big one with all the potential - well, it finally got cold enough to transition from rain to snow - around midnight in the base area, but much earlier higher up on the mountain.

With the high winds today, and storm evaluation and recovery efforts underway, Tuesday's lifts were limited to Daisy and Buttercup, with some beginners coming up for lessons in the Fun Zone. Not a bad idea considering the Ballroom Carpet over-the-snow conveyer is covered - a nice shelter from the storm! Those taking the plunge - if you can call 3 - 5 inches plungeable, received free refills as new snow and light wind-drifted powdery flakes filled their tracks. Cold - yes. Windy - yes. Crowded? No. Dress for the storm conditions, and enjoy the Daisy runs.

Thanks to Temira in mComm for the photos. And thanks to our guests who braved the conditions - we're sure your reward was in the fresh early season turns you can brag about to your friends!

Limited Operations Sunday 9 - 11 AM

The major winter storm has arrived and as expected it has a lot of moisture in it! It's wet and windy and it is affecting our lift operations today. Buttercup will operate from 9 - 11 AM and then we will be closing early and getting ready for Monday.

The forecast is promising - with the freezing level dropping and having the potential to drop a lot of snow overnight:

  • Tonight Rain before 11pm, then snow. The snow could be heavy at times. Low around 25. Windy, with a west wind 47 to 49 mph, with gusts as high as 70 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New snow accumulation of 17 to 23 inches possible.
  • Monday Snow showers. The snow could be heavy at times. Temperature falling to around 21 by 5pm. Windy, with a west wind 28 to 33 mph decreasing to 22 to 27 mph in the morning. Winds could gust as high as 50 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New snow accumulation of 6 to 10 inches possible.
Daisy, Buttercup and the Ballroom Carpet are scheduled from 9 AM - 4 PM Monday. With this forecast Cascade most likely won't operate due to wind and visibility. There's a lot of prep work before we can get any of our other high speed quads operating. Remember we had an 17" snowpack before this storm hit, so we need to let the snow settle a bit before we can get cats on it. Tuesday is more likely than Monday for additional lift operations and added terrain.

Keep checking our snow phones, condition page, Facebook and Twitter for updates.

Meadows Officially Open for the Season!

We have some wild weather coming in – a winter storm that has a potent precipitation punch and freezing levels bouncing up and down like a yoyo – eventually dropping to surface levels where they’ll stay for the week. The good news is both elements for some great snowpack building are there - precipitation and cold weather. Depending on when it gets cold enough we could have snow starting Sunday – or Sunday evening – or early Monday morning. Regardless we are going with our daily operating schedule - 9 AM - 4 PM for now - expanding terrain and lifts as we receive more snow. It’s awesome - the season has officially begun!

Sunday Operations

Timing is everything with storms at Meadows. This particular storm system may or may not affect our scheduled lifts operations which at this time is Cascade 9 AM – 3 PM, and Daisy and Buttercup from 9 AM – 4 PM along with the Ball Room Carpet. Cascade Express operations could be affected by high winds and low visibility. With the variable freezing level we could see all that happening at the same time – snowing up above and raining down below. We’ll definitely be riding out the storm right along with the many adventurous storm rider souls who live for riding these powerful systems. We invite you to come on up and join us!

We have all the great Holiday Weekend Specials going on including:
$39 Adult Lift Pass and $29 Pass for ages 7 - 14
$30 Adult Equipment Rentals and $20 for ages 7 - 14
Winter White Weekend Sale specials - with up to 70% off merchandise in our sport shops!
2-for-1 Learn to Ski or Snowboard special for ages 13 and older
And some great Culinary specials:
Apres Ski Menu (special Beer, wine and food pricing) will be available ALL DAY in the Alpenstube
Alpenstube Bar fabulous hot or cold specialty drinks prepared fresh for you by our master mixologists
  - Special pricing from $3.75 to $6.00 (reg. 7.25-9.25)
Lunch at the Alpenstube featuring our new Hot and Juicy Grilled Black Angus Burger…the very BEST Ski Burger on Mt. Hood! 1/3# fresh from the Northwest all-natural beef with no added hormones or antibiotics.
   - Hamburgers - $4.95 (reg, 6.50)
   - Cheeseburgers - $5.95 (reg. 7.25)
   - Bacon Cheeseburgers - $6.95 (reg. 9.25)
SCHUSS GRILL For Breakfast - Our Famous Meadow Muffin Breakfast Sandwich - $3.95 (reg. 5.95)

Meadows Parks will offer Shipyard and The Zoo.

Our Nordic Center will not operate Sunday - we’ll evaluate conditions for a possible Thursday opening.

As always - check our conditions page for the latest lift operational schedule and snow conditions.

Now, looking ahead this week:

Monday Operations

We expect to be full on snowing and blowing Monday morning – we just don’t know how much new snow we’ll have. So please stay tuned to updates on the website, snowphone and our Facebook, Twitter and other social media feeds. Llift operations will most likely be a Daisy, Buttercup and Ballroom Carpet day, although Cascade Express is still scheduled (weather permitting). We’re extending all of the great holiday specials, including lift pass pricing, rental pricing, the Culinary service specials, and the Winter White Sale in our sport shops. This is an awesome opportunity to purchase the best gear at the lowest prices - not to mention holiday shopping for your friends and family.

Tuesday Operations

Mountain Ops will be working hard throughout this storm cycle to open up more terrain and lifts as quickly as possible. We’ll have a much clearer picture once we get through Sunday’s wild weather so stay tuned for regular updates.

And by Wednesday...

We are shooting for normal operations by Wednesday. The 10 day is forecasting cold temps and more moisture moving in later in the week. That should set us up nicely for some awesome December turns and additional park features.  The Winter Brewfest is Saturday - we’re definitely looking forward to making a toast to the season at that event.

It’s great to see the weather lining up to bring us snow. And it’s also great to have a crew that’s committed to making the most of whatever the weather brings us. Most of all we’re Thankful this holiday for you our guests. We thank you for your patience, which we believe will be rewarded soon.

We'll leave you with this photo Natalie from mComm shot on the mountain today!
Mountain Rainbow @ Mt. Hood Meadows Ski Resort

See you on the mountain!

Daily Operations Planned

A major storm is blowing in this weekend which has the potential to dump lots of snow. We're planning on operating daily from 9 AM - 4 PM beyond this holiday weekend. So yes, we plan on being open Monday, Tuesday, and every day the rest of the season. Now what will be open and what lifts can operate will be determined by the storm and snow conditions. We'll update operations on our conditions page.

thanks for all your prayers and snow dances. We'll see you on the mountain soon!

Making Use of Lots of Snow

Meadows has received a foot of snow since Friday afternoon - with a forecast indicating it could continue into Sunday. While this isn’t enough for us to open (yet) - we do see good things in the forecast. So much so that we are harvesting the snow from the parking lot to put to use on the slopes.

Meadows rents a Marooka snow cat snow dump truck to transport parking lot snow to the base area

For this purpose, Meadows rented a high capacity snow hauler - a snowcat with a dump truck box bed. We rented it last season as well to load snow from the parking lot. The snow is transported to base area lifts to build the load ramps. It is especially important at the Mt. Hood Express to build out the load area to accommodate our RFID gate mazes. We also use the snow to build features in Shipyard so we can get a Freestyle park open early in the season. 

We have a very creative and industrious grooming and vehicle maintenance crew, which teamed up to build a trailer version of the snow hauler The trailer is retrofitted from an old snow cat. The box bed is built on the chassis and the cat tracks provide the over the snow ability to transport the snow. While it takes more expertise to haul the trailer, it carries more snow per load.

Our crews are working hard to make the most of this snowfall, in anticipation of an opening soon, hopefully by Thanksgiving. Mother Nature needs to cooperate, but we’re doing everything we can to make the most of what she gives us.

Two new Piston Bully Snowcats arrive at Mt. Hood Meadows Ski Resort 

We also received two new Piston Bully 400 snow cats. We’ll use these for general slope grooming, replacing older models as part of our plan to keep our grooming fleet state-of-the-art, and one of the most advanced in the Northwest.

Photos by Steve Warila

Winter Weather Conference Forecasts a Good Winter

The Oregon Chapter of the American Meteorological Society presented it’s 21st Annual Winter Weather forecasting conference at OMSI. The takeaway for the season - it’s a neutral year with a slight leaning towards La Nina - which should bring average to above average snowfall to the Cascades. Meteorologist Jim Little’s forecast will delight skiers and snowboarders - with above average snow fall predicted and opening before Thanksgiving. Hydrologist / Meteorologist Kyle Dittmer - sees a decent winter of snow with a great ending - lots of snow activity in March and April! 

Watch the movie for details - and then join in the Snow Dance at the end of the video. #SnowGetDown

Keep an eye on the Oregon AMS web site for the detailed presentations.

The Prinoth BR 350 Has Arrived

Mt. Hood Meadows already has the most advanced grooming fleet on Mt. Hood. Tuesday, the first of three new snowcats for this season arrived - the Prinoth BR 350. It's an elegant machine - but don't let looks fool you. It loves steep mountain slopes, and massive volumes of snow, particular challenges. 

The new Prinoth BR 350 Snow Cat arrives at Mt. Hood Meadows Ski ResortThe powerful Prinoth BR 350 at Mt. Hood Meadows

The BR 350 is a nimble power pack for perfect grooming, even under extreme situations. Powerful, reliable, hardworking. Just like our grooming crew!

It's a real climbing freak. The BR350s unique snow surface conforming suspension gives this class leader extraordinary climbing performance, even in extremely difficult snow and terrain conditions. The POSIFLEX tiller gives perfect results - no matter the snow conditions.

The business end of our new Prinoth BR 350A look into the Cab of the Prinoth 350 snowcat at Mt. Hood Meadows

It's the number 1 groomer in North America for the past 7 years! And we're proud to have it in our fleet!

October Snow

The snow from Monday and Tuesday grew to half-a-foot in the base area. It most likely will be gone by the weekend, but even so the fresh taste tends to bring out the most passionate enthusiasts who want to hike for some turns. That's OK, but please keep this in mind: We are in the transition period from summer/fall maintenance and projects to active ski season preparations and set up.

Up until the time we begin active set-up for winter operations i.e. track-packing/grooming, ramp building, chair seat installation, avalanche mitigation efforts, running rope/closures, tower-pads, etc. we will not enforce our no up-hill travel policy that is in place throughout the winter.

  • There is currently no patrol or other assistance available.
  • There is no hazard marking (low snow conditions create unexpected and barely visible hazards).
  • Visitors are on their own and we strongly encourage that they go elsewhere.
  • Once we start set-up we will no longer allow up-hill travel.
  • As always sledding is not allowed (there are many other areas on Mt. Hood that accommodate that activity).

If you do come up our Sports Shops are open from 10 AM - 4 PM Wednesdays - Sundays, and you can get your season pass picture issued (or purchase a pass as well). Those who have their 2013/14 pass (or have renewed last year's pass) will receive 20% off all the new product in our sports shops!

Deep Snow Skis will be needed for this Ski Season at Mt. Hood Meadows 

Check out our Deep Snow ski selection - according to George Taylor's season forecast - you're going to need them!

George Taylor Forecast - Lots of Snow and Open by Thanksgiving

Early snow and a lot of it. That's a great winter forecast. Former State Climatologist and President of Applied Climate Services addressed the Oregon AMS chapter Wednesday evening. He shared his winter forecast which he says should be a good one for Mt. Hood Meadows.

Taylor found five "analog" years - past years that are tracking similarly to this year leading up to winter. Four of those five years saw snowfall totals substantially above average - 50% or more! The measurements are made at the Government Camp weather station at the 4,000 foot level. Snowfall totals are amplified at Meadows higher elevation (between 4500 - 7300 feet). 

Snowfall in analog years 

Taylor also notes those seasons started early, with openings by or before Thanksgiving. So this is great news for winter enthusiasts.

Taylor won't be presenting at the AMS "What will winter bring" meeting October 26 at OMSI. But several other noted climatologists will make their presentations with the benefit of one more month's worth of weather data. That's an event we are definitely looking forward to!

Powder Break - Spring Break off to an Outrageous Start!

It's a sneaky storm - dropping 44" of snow this week. The best of it fell Thursday - when officially we received 13" in the base area. But the top of Star had 21". And the powder runs are amazing. Looking for some SloMo - MoJo? Try Nettie's run, which has a shallower pitch. But the thigh deep untracked powder was so light that you could slowly float down Nettie's. Untracked. Untouched. Just you and the snowflakes. Nice!
Enjoy the slide show - pictures by Krissy Fagan of mComm!

Heather Canyon Closed Thursday due to Recent Avalanche Activity

To keep our valued guests in the loop, here is some information on why Heather was closed Thursday, and will likely not be open Friday. Evaluation and Hazard Reduction are continuing.

We expect 100% compliance with our boundary lines as rope ducking will not be toleratED, and could have potentially fatal results.

 This debris field was found in the Clark and Heather Drainages Thursday morning during one of our Hazard Reduction Routes, and directly following an artillery mission.  The debris was fresh, but is unknown at this time where this avalanche actually originated from.  When the weather clears we will have a better opportunity to fully evaluate the continuing avalanche hazard.

On March 10, 2011 we experienced a major avalanche in the Canyon. Here is a link to that original blog post, and another link to the patrol investigation.

Powder Alert - Winter Storm Welcomes Spring

Matt Zaffino Powder Alert
March is STILL my favorite month for skiing. Yeah, I know it's been 60-degrees in the valleys and near 50-degrees on the mountain. Whatever. The days are long, the base is deep and we STILL keep getting fresh snow! We're about to, anyway.
That's the pre-amble, here's the... amble:
Snow levels in Oregon will drop dramatically tonight and be down around 4,000 feet Saturday morning on Mt. Hood, and around 5,000 feet for the rest of the state. By Saturday night, it should be snowing in Bend at 3,000 feet as the snow level continues to drop to about 2,000 feet on Mt. Hood by Sunday morning.
Snow will be flying Saturday at the resorts. We should see 2-4 inches new during the day Saturday on Mt. Hood, and I'm leaning more toward the four. Another 2-4 inches falls Saturday night into Sunday morning, so if the flakes fall right, we could be skiing 8 inches of fluff Sunday morning.
Sunday is my powder pick for the weekend, but Saturday will be good too. With all the warm weather lately, make sure you gear up for winter conditions in the mountains. Cold, snow, wind.
If you can ski Monday too, you'll be treated to some sunshine and calm winds, and mid-winter conditions. Except for the strong almost-spring sun. It's super important to remember sunscreen this time of year, now that the sun angle is higher, you can burn really fast and severely. Snow, especially new, freshly fallen highly coveted snow, reflects the suns burning rays onto your pasty-white winter face. Protect it. The sunshine continues into Tuesday.
Spring begins Wednesday at 4:02 am PDT. It should be dumping again by then. The snow level will rise ahead of the Wednesday storm to 5,000 or 6,000 feet, but by Wednesday afternoon it's back down to 3,000 feet. Major dumpage Wednesday night should lead to some brilliantly awesome first-full-day-of-spring skiing Thursday. Which is not to be confused with spring skiing. Because it'll definitely be mid-winter conditions. At this point, I'm thinking another 8 inches of fresh joyful powder in the Oregon Cascades Thursday.
After that, spring skiing conditions are likely to set in, at least for a while. Which simply means it's time to get corny. As in corn-snow bring it on. If you've read any of my ski-scribes, you know I'm more than capable of that.
In the meantime enjoy March Madness, mountain-style!
Happy Trails and Turns,
Matt Zaffino
(Matt Zaffino has been forecasting powder days in Oregon for over 25 years. An avid back-country telemark skier, he’s hit the slopes of Oregon from his previous home near Mt Ashland to secret powder stashes in the Wallowa’s, while logging as many runs as possible at all of the resorts in the Oregon Cascades.)

February Freshies

On the heels of a storm that dropped 30" of snow heading into the weekend, 13" fell Monday, so intensely that the upper mountain was socked. Vista and Cascade couldn't run due to visibility. Tuesday awoke to bluebird skies and more than a foot of fresh, delightful powder some of the best of the season.

Storm recovery crews arrived early, and launched Vista on schedule at 8:55 AM and Cascade just 20 minutes later. The day was filled with powder runs as the entire mountain was covered in this powder goodness. Krissy Fagan captured some of the day for you to enjoy! We added some photos taken February 27 to satisfy your appetite for great mountain shots!

Meadows now has a base of 120" in the base area and is setting nicely for spring. Great conditions, clinics and fun family events make for a great time on the mountain. "Our future's so bright we gotta wear shades" - and sunscreen - great advice for today's bluebird powder happy guests! 

Major Winter Storm Powder Blasts Meadows

It's the storm we've been waiting for - and it arrived midweek but kicked up its ferocity Friday, with driving winds and dumping a foot of powder. So far the storm has deposited two feet of snow, and it's forecast to continue to drop another foot or more through the beginning of next week.

Storm Riding Video by Pierce Hodges

The pent up demand for powder was expressed Saturday, as for the first time this season our parking lots reached capacity. Our parking crews are shoehorning cars in as they leave, and we expect that there'll be plenty of parking opened up for night riding after 2 or so. Wind, visibility and storm recovery is keeping Cascade and Vista from operating (looking ahead to some awesome riding after storm recovery). Avalanche reduction operations continued in Heather (although lower Heather was open Friday) and Private Reserve was open. High winds were affecting lift speed on Shooting Star, Hood River Express and Stadium Express.

Heads Up - Sunday Looks Like a Peak Parking Day

Sunday is setting up to be another peak park out day, with snow forecast throughout tonight and better weather on Sunday. There may be some partial clearing and our lift crews will be conducting storm recovery efforts as soon as the weather allows (it will be an early start for sure)! On days like these it is best to plan on arriving before 9:30 AM, or arrive later (after 1:30 or so) to avoid the time frame when turn aways due to parking capacity most likely occurs. We recommend carpooling - or taking a Park & Ride shuttle from Portland.

Kudos to ODOT the Media and to YOU!

The storm was well publicized by all the news stations, which discouraged anyone driving to Mt. Hood unprepared. This very important message made for a very orderly commute to the mountain this morning (no major incidents or accidents reported). ODOT crews were ON IT with snow removal, plowing and keeping the road way driveable. We want to thank all those guests who prepared themselves and their vehicles for the drive. 

Deep Snow Safety

Finally, as you enjoy the great conditions and all this POWDER - we want you to exercise good judgment and be aware of deep snow safety hazards. Avoid tree wells - they can trap you. ALWAYS ride with friends and keep them in view. If you're going into gated access we recommend you have a beacon, shovel and probe.

We'll see you on the mountain!

Matt Zaffino February 19 Powder Alert

Matt Zaffino Powder Alert
The storms of winter are about to return. Just in time, I've been getting a lot of whining and complaining, which generally goes like this: "I want freshies!" or "I want freshies, DAMMIT".

And freshies you shall have. The relatively quiet weather pattern of the last several weeks is about to change. Right now we're under a split flow with storms diving south off the coast, sending the freshies far south into the Sierra. But by Friday, the split flow consolidates into a northwesterly flow that aims right at Oregon, replete with heavy mountain snow and strong winds. Saturday is my powder pic, as there should be a foot or more of new snow on Mt Hood with the snow level dropping to the sweet spot of about 500 feet. Sweet because it's not snowing in Portland, which prevents panic in the streets and local media.  But it also means it'll be COLD on the mountain, with temperatures in the teens at 5,000 to 6,000 foot elevations. A foot or more should fall on Mt Hood Friday into Saturday and it'll still be snowing on Saturday. Snowfall will be less as you head south to Mt Bachelor and east to the Wallowas, but Bachelor will still likely see a foot or so and Anthony Lakes should be approaching a foot from the storm. If you prefer better weather conditions with less wind and a few sunbreaks, then Sunday's your day. Either way you can't go wrong.

Winter Storm forecast from NOAA. 

And this storm isn't a one-shot deal. It'll be preceded by a splitter on Thursday, which means southern areas like Mt Ashland may be able to squeeze 3 to 6 inches out of the system as it drops south along the coast, while an inch or two may fall on Mt Hood.

Following the break in the weather Sunday, another cold storm drops in Sunday night bringing more powder with the snow level remaining around 500 feet. While this storm won't bring as much snow as Friday's, it should come with less wind, so the snow may actually lay down better for Monday morning riders and skiers. Mt Hood will likely see 6 to 8 inches from this baby. Monday would be powder pick number 2.

The last in this series of storm seems slated for Wednesday. This storm will be weaker than the previous two and also come with a higher snow level, but only up to about 2,000 to 3,000 feet, so still good quality snow. The heaviest snow from that storm will be from Mt Hood north, with 4 to 6 inches likely in the northern Oregon Cascades.

We've been patient, now, be ready to go forth and carve.

Happy Trails,

Matt Zaffino
(Matt Zaffino has been forecasting powder days in Oregon for over 25 years. An avid back-country telemark skier, he’s hit the slopes of Oregon from his previous home near Mt Ashland to secret powder stashes in the Wallowa’s, while logging as many runs as possible at all of the resorts in the Oregon Cascades.)

Seven Inches of Refreshing Snow - Delightful!

Last week we had every kind of weather known to this mountain thrown at us. It's kind of nice to have a kinder, gentler storm softly dropping five inches of new snow - with three inches of that overnight (read: untracked since we closed at 4 PM Tuesday). This is the essence of midweek skiing at Meadows. Check out the new snow. Now look at the parking lot. Open slopes. No lift lines. The promise of more snow for tomorrow. See you Thursday?
(Updated Thursday, 2.7.13 - enjoy the slide show!)

Above the Clouds at Mt. Hood Meadows

The bounties of a wild end to January - above the cloud skiing and riding on a 100+ inch base at Mt. Hood Meadows.

On the heels of a five-day storm which dropped three feet of wind driven powder and almost every other kind of precipitation imaginable, from freezing rain to icy pellets, the last day of January could  be the best day the month offers. With our base depth topping 100 inches, and a groom on most of the runs, outdoor enthusiasts are celebrating their passion on the upper mountain. Fantastic groom, awe inspiring views and socializing with friends. This is NW skiing at it's best!

Enjoy the slide show - pictures taken by Krissy in mComm at Mt. Hood Meadows.

Matt Zaffino January 8 Powder Alert

Matt Zaffino Powder Alert
The week begins with warmer air and snow levels rising above 5,000 feet. But keep your powder dry for dry powder, because that's what's on the way.
A strong cold front will drop through the Northwest tonight. The mountains will get plastered with snow with the front Tuesday night and Wednesday. There will be new snow to ride for sure on Wednesday, but it also looks like a nasty day weather-wise on the mountain, with strong winds and increasing colder temperatures. BUT.. it ALSO should be one of those awesome days when you make a run, and by the time you make your next run your old tracks are covered over with new snow. Gotta love days like that.
My powder pick this week is Thursday. Lots of fresh snow from Wednesday, probably 6 to 10 inches new on Mt Hood and Mt Bachelor, with the coldest temperatures of the week. Snow showers will be adding light layers of fluff throughout the day as the sun comes in and out of the clouds, and the winds will be lighter. This may be a champagne edition powder day, if we get enough snow at the colder temperatures that arrive Wednesday night.
For Friday and the weekend there will be a little new snow, maybe a few inches from snow showers. But it'll stay COLD, keeping the snow in great shape. And there will be sun, at least at times.
The long range forecast shows a massive ridge of high pressure developing offshore next week. That will keep the Oregon mountains dry and mainly sunny, with gradually, slowly, warming temperatures. So there won't be much new snow next week, but it'll be a great time to enjoy the deep snowpack at the resorts and take in our awesome alpine scenery.
Matt Zaffino
Chief Meteorologist

KGW Media Group

Republished from SkiOregon.Org Powder Alert
(Matt Zaffino has been forecasting powder days in Oregon for over 25 years. An avid back-country telemark skier, he’s hit the slopes of Oregon from his previous home near Mt Ashland to secret powder stashes in the Wallowa’s, while logging as many runs as possible at all of the resorts in the Oregon Cascades.)

Meadows Surpasses 100" Base

Major winter storm dumps 87" of snow in last 10 days at Mt. Hood Meadows including 17" on Christmas Day

Meadows surpasses 100 

MT. HOOD, OR (Immediate Release) – Mt. Hood Meadows Ski Resort celebrated reaching the 100" base mark on Christmas Day - but the gifts just keep on coming! The resort has received 87" of snow in 10 days, including 17" on Christmas Day alone. The forecast has another 12 to 18" forecast through tomorrow.

The early season storm has allowed Meadows to open all of it's terrain, including the legendary Heather Canyon which opened last Saturday. The powerful storm has gifted holiday skiers and snowboarders with an abundance of light powder. The resort is advising guests to be aware of deep snow safety hazards - to avoid tree wells, ride with a buddy and always keep that person in sight.

Here's a slideshow of pictures submitted to us Monday. Pretty awesome!

All lifts are scheduled for the holiday period, weather conditions permitting.

Matt Zaffino Ski Oregon Powder Alert

Matt Zaffino Powder Alert

Powder Alert - Dec 14, 2012

Greetings, skiers, boarders and lovers of sweet sweet powder.

It’s going to be a really good weekend. In fact, it’s been a good start to the season… gradual increases in the snowpack, no long dry spells even if we’ve not had any huge snowfalls.

We’ve got a weak storm bringing a few inches Friday, so there may be a little new snow to play with Saturday. But a stronger storm brings the goods Saturday night and Sunday, for 4 to 8 inches of fluff. Maybe more. And it keeps coming after that. A strong storm Sunday night and Monday promises more powder Monday into Tuesday. That one may create an outbreak of the “foot new flu”.

Right now, I’d pick Sunday and Tuesday as the best days: deepest new snow and lowest snow levels, about 2,000 feet Sunday and 2,500 feet Tuesday. For that matter, nothing wrong with Monday’s snow, it’ll just be a little windier and stormier.

Check out these photos from the last week of snow storms at Meadows!

Later next week, we see a dry day with light winds and good visibility Wednesday, so that’s as close as we get to a bluebird day in the next week. Then, the coldest air of the season arrives Thursday, dropping the snow level down to 1,000 feet. We’ll probably only see a couple inches of snow that day, as we may be transitioning into a bit if a dry spell. So get those turns in while the snow is fresh!

Happy Holidays,

Matt Zaffino
Chief Meteorologist
KGW Media Group

(Matt Zaffino has been forecasting powder days in Oregon for over 25 years. An avid back-country telemark skier, he’s hit the slopes of Oregon from his previous home near Mt Ashland to secret powder stashes in the Wallowa’s, while logging as many runs as possible at all of the resorts in the Oregon Cascades.)

December Starting Off Right

Video by Pierce Hodges shot Sunday 12.2.12 @ Mt. Hood Meadows

The change from November to December was punctuated with a powdery winter storm that dropped a foot of fresh at Meadows through Sunday morning. The storm continues to dump at a rate of an inch an hour, making for some exceptional early season powderr skiing! Photos were taken Saturday before the brunt of the storm hit. Photos by Temira @ Mt. Hood Meadows! Enjoy!

The welcome storm has bolstered Meadows base depth to 38" which is expected to grow as the storm continues through Sunday. Early season conditions still exist so you'll need to be aware of unmarked obstacles, but it's certainly the best conditions we've seen so far this very young season.

We'll be evaluating conditions once the storm rolls through (expecting higher freezing levels on Tuesday) - we'll see how we "weather that weather" and determine implications for night operations, Hood River Meadows and Nordic Center operations at that time. Keep doing your snow dances - they're working!"

Matt Zaffino's Season Outlook

Matt Zaffino Powder Alert

Matt Zaffino's has issued his first powder alert for Ski Oregon. Check it out!

Skier, boarder, and lovers of mountain snow… here we go! Welcome to Ski Season 2012-2013.

But what about the season overall? Every fall I get asked “should I buy a season’s pass this year?” People just cut right to the chase. What I want to say back is “I don’t know, will you use it? Will your wife/husband/SO get mad if you do? Will you get mad if you don’t?” All things I can’t answer and really don’t care about, and besides, I know what they really mean is…


To which I say, this year, YES! I think it will be a good year for the Northwest snowpack and for the West in general.  Maybe not as strong as two years ago, when on April 15 Timberline had 203” of snow, but then again most years aren’t.

What’s happening? First, the El Niño that seemed to be developing in late summer and early fall has stopped developing. I wasn’t too worried about this anyway, because indications were that it would be a weak El Niño, and we’ve seen some amazing snowfall in years with weak El Niño But the fact that it’s not developing and is not expected to developing the months ahead, is generally good news for Northwest skiers. There are some other patterns of climatic variability I look at, but El Nino/La Nina seems to have the best correlation to northern hemisphere winter weather. But here comes the disclaimers, and no it's not about calling your doctor if it snows for more than four hours.

Each El Nino, or no Nino in this case, is unique. And, there are probably other climatic patterns that we're missing. And perhaps the biggest disclaimer is that skill in long range winter forecasts isn't great.
That said, I see no reason to believe this won't be a good year.  I expect our typical amount of variability, meaning we can go from big snowfalls with a 1,000 to 2,000 foot snow level, to pineapple express and ski slope rain. Hey we all know it happens, and there's no reason to believe it won't this year. Warm happens even in a “cold” year. Likewise, even in a “warm” year, and I'm not saying this winter will be a warm one, but even in a warm winter there can easily be a two to three week period of excellent skiing.
Full disclosure... we're planning on taking a trip to Whitefish, MT this year on the ski train. Not that I think that will be THE only place with great snow. But I don't see any reason it'll be a bad year for the northern Rockies. Or for the great Northwest!
Moving forward I plan on issuing powder alerts when the storms begin to line up, in hope of helping you plan your outings for primo conditions. I'll also post when there's anything interesting to report. And you can follow me on twitter @Zaffino, where I tend to post more immediate tidbits regarding weather and skiing.
Happy Trails and Turns,

Matt Zaffino
Chief Meteorologist
KGW Media Group

Celebrate Earth Day Saturday

April 22 is Earth Day - but really, shouldn't every day be Earth Day? Sustainability is one of our core values at Mt. Hood Meadows. We are proud of these initiatives we have taken to and are committed to to operate as sustainably as possible.

Saturday (April 21) we've invited the Quartz Creek Drummers and Dancers and Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs Chief Delvis Heath to present a thank you to Mother Earth ceremony on our Sun Deck. With a forecast for sunshine and spring skiing both Saturday and Sunday, we truly have a lot to be thankful for!

The Ceremony will begin at 2:30 PM with a prayer of thanks from Chief Heath.
Quartz Creek Drummers and Dancers ceremony @ Mt. Hood Meadows Ski Resort

Midweek Operations End April 23 - 27 - Special $25 Lift Ticket

We're heading into our last week of daily operations, and offering up a terrific deal on midweek lift tickets. You can purchase your 9 AM - 4 PM lift ticket for only $25, Monday - Friday next week.

This week the weather has been brutal - as April showers have been keeping you away. As we look at next week, we may need to limit operations depending on the forecast, such as not operating Hood River Express or Shooting Star on days that the weather just doesn't warrant it. We'd prefer to save our resources to operate on days when you want to come out and enjoy the weather. We'll try to give as much advance notice as possible - by the afternoon or evening before - if we anticipate changes to our scheduled lift operations.

Weekends in May

We're keeping an eye on this warmer, wetter spring weather pattern. We're hoping the rainy days stay away in May, and that we get sunny skies for our weekend operations. However, check our conditions page as we approach each weekend. We may alter the schedule depending on the forecast. So we may announce that we won't operate on Saturday (if it's going to rain) but be open Sunday that weekend only.

Meadows Extends Season on Weekends Into May

MT. HOOD, OR (Immediate Release) – March precipitation set records in Portland – more than double the monthly average (and the most in 81 years!) Likewise, Mt. Hood Meadows received a heaping helping of March snow – more than 15 feet – growing the resort’s base snow depth to an impressive 174 inches. The resort has received 527” of snow (almost 44 feet) this season, most of it since mid-January, well ahead of its 430” average.
Lifts Operate Daily through April 29 - then Weekends in May
With lifts already scheduled to operate daily through April 29, the resort has announced it will extend the season on weekends into May, setting May 20 as the current end date for the season. May operations are dependent on good conditions and turnout, but the amount of snow and coverage should not be an issue. May hours will be from 9 AM – 2 PM Saturdays and Sundays, with Mt. Hood Express, Buttercup and Cascade Express scheduled to operate. Scheduled lifts, conditions and lift ticket prices will be presented on the resort’s conditions page.
The Unlimited Spring Pass (on sale for $149) will be honored the rest of the season, included the extended days in May.
Storm recovery efforts today opened up the Cascade Express – the resort’s highest lift – providing high speed service to the 7,300 foot level. The lift had lain dormant for almost a week while the upper mountain was pummeled by a powerful spring storm dropping several feet of snow. Crews deiced the lift, knocking foot thick rime ice from the lift towers and haul rope. Snowcats plowed out the piled up and drifted snow from under the haul rope to provide clearance for skiers and snowboarders. Their tireless efforts resulted in opening the high speed quad with limited grooming shortly after noon.

Deicing Cascade in storm recovery following a week of snow.
Snowcats dig out pathways under the haul rope for clearance for skiers and snowboarders.

Special $10 Sunday Night Brings Night Operations to and End

MT. HOOD, OR (Immediate Release) – Mt. Hood Meadows is scheduled to operate daily through April 29. But our popular “Meadows After Dark” night operations will conclude this Sunday, April 1. To celebrate we're offering a special $10 online ticket good from 3 – 9 PM Sunday evening. The ticket will be $15 if purchased at the resort.

With good November snow and a return to winter in March, we operated a record setting 96 nights this season. Meadows After Dark has become a popular and affordable alternative for those whose schedules don’t allow regular day skiing.

Nordic Center Winter Season Ends Sunday – But Special Spring Nordic Session Offered
The resort’s Nordic Center will also wrap up the season this Sunday, having operated five days a week since mid-December. The resort will be offering Spring Nordic Skiing on a special track set at its base area for six days in June (June 1, 2, 3 and 8, 9, 10) in conjunction with Nordic Skate Skiing Clinics for Juniors and Masters. 

42 FEET of Snow So Far This Season - 165” Base Depth – and Growing!
A marvelous March will turn into an amazing April with 14 feet of snow as its base depth, and another powder making storm promising several more feet of fresh snow this week, the resort is enjoying some of the best snow conditions in the country. So far the resort has received 503” of snow since it started tallying in November, well above its 430” seasonal average. 

Season Extension Into May Planned

Mt. Hood Meadows is scheduled to operate daily through April 29. Resort officials are planning on extending the season through the first three weekends of May on a weekend to weekend basis, depending on weather, snow conditions and turn out; making May 20 the new proposed closing day. Operational schedules will be updated on our conditions page and here on the blog.

The $149 Unlimited Spring Season pass, along with Meadows other unlimited season passes will be honored on any operational days in May. The pass can be purchased at the ski resort or online.

Meadows offers a full calendar of events through April to celebrate spring! 

Win a Trip from All About Hawaii! Registration begins April 1.
There’s also daily registration to win a trip from All About Hawaii beginning April 1, to be given away at the Sno-Kona Pond Skim competition April 28 (must be present to win – one registration / person / day). The prize is an $1,800 travel voucher to be applied to a trip of your choice from All About Hawaii. (Hawaii is preferred, but All About Hawaii also offers vacations to other sunny locations.)

25" of snow in 24 hours

MT. HOOD, OR (Immediate Release) – Spring has arrived with a BANG at Mt. Hood Meadows Ski Resort which has received almost 8 feet of snow in 10 days, including 25” in the past 24 hours. The resort’s base snow depth reached 171” and is still growing, as this storm is expected to drop several more inches, possibly feet by the weekend.
Picnic table shot following 25
25” of snow in 24 hours – the popular “Picnic Table Shot” 3.21.12 (Photo by Krissy Fagan)

Mt. Hood Meadows has announced daily operations through April 29, and is considering extending operations on weekends into May depending on conditions and interest. The resort has also extended its “Meadows After Dark” Wednesday – Sunday night operations through Sunday, April 1. The “Unlimited Spring” season pass is good the rest of the season, and at $149 represents one of the best values in late season skiing and riding found anywhere. The pass can be purchased on the resort’s website,, or at the ski resort.

 March 21 snowfall at Mt. Hood Meadows Ski Resort
Armpit deep powder adorns the slopes at Mt. Hood Meadows. 3.21.12 (Photo by Krissy Fagan)

Spring Pass Brings Winter Storm

MT. HOOD, OR (Immediate Release) – Mt. Hood Meadows Ski Resort’s new “Unlimited Spring” season pass went on sale Monday – offering the rest of the season for just $149. And right on cue the weather changed to winter, bringing a severe winter storm, which since Saturday has dropped more than two-feet of snow at the resort, a foot of it overnight. With a winter advisory and storm watch posted, the short term forecast has more snow with accumulations of two or more feet the rest of the week. The resort currently has a 140 inch snow depth in the base area, one of the deepest in the country.

Mt. Hood Meadows has announced daily operations through April 29, and is considering extending operations on weekends into May depending on conditions and interest. The resort also expects to offer “Meadows After Dark” Wednesday – Sunday night operations through Sunday, April 1. The “Unlimited Spring” season pass is good the rest of the season, and at $149 represents one of the best values in late season skiing and riding found anywhere. The pass can be purchased on the resort’s website, or at the ski resort.

The resort’s Nordic Center will also continue Thursday – Monday operations through Sunday, April 1, and a special $40 unlimited track pass is available for cross country skiers.

In addition to the primo snow conditions, Meadows offers up some great events in March.

Women’s Clinic – Saturday, March 17
For women only and taught by our most certified and experienced female instructors. Work on your skiing/riding in a fun supportive environment.

3rd Annual Meadows Film Festival – Sunday, March 18

Top 10 finalists will be presented at the Vertical Restaurant from 4 – 7 PM, with the grand prize winning $500 cash. Go Pro cameras and Columbia Sportwear backpacks are also included in the prizes. Full Sail Brewing, KEEN Footwear and vitaminwater® also sponsor the event.

NW Demo Tour – Sunday, March 18
Demo next year’s skis and snowboards for free (liability release with i.d. and credit card required) with more than a dozen manufacturers expected to attend.

Spring Brewfest – Saturday, March 24
Live music on deck, and beers by Oregon’s favorite microbrews. Cool off with some beverages, while soaking up the sun on the deck!

Steeps Clinic – Sunday, March 25
Available to advanced and expert skiers and riders. These clinics are designed to improve your ability to ski steep ungroomed terrain.

3 Day Holiday Kids Camps and Freestyle Camps – March 26 – 28
Ski and Snowboard camps for kids ages 4 – 12, along with freestyle camps for freestylers of any age.

Hood River Appreciation Day – Saturday, March 31
The Hood River Meadows (HRM) Lodge has a very strong local Hood River presence, and we want to acknowledge them and say thank you! We'll have music and raffles, and Hood River companies will provide food, beer and wine samples.


Valentines Day Present Sets Up a Great Holiday Weekend

Mt. Hood Meadows received some Valentine’s Day love in the form of new snow – 6 inches of light, fluffy powder fell Tuesday bringing the base area snowpack up to 101 inches. The forecast has more snow throughout the weekend which should make for awesome conditions this holiday weekend. We're starting a slide show of shots taken on Wednesday showing off this powder goodness.

The resort is celebrating Valentine’s Week with a 2-for-1 online lift ticket offer – purchase 2 midweek lift tickets for just $79. The tickets are to be used together on the same day Thursday or Friday of this week. It’s a perfect way to enjoy the new snow with someone specials. The tickets must be purchased in advance.

Heading into the holiday weekend Meadows will run its Park&Ride shuttle buses Saturday, Sunday and Monday (President’s Day.) The round-trip bus and lift price is $89 and is purchased online.

Join us on President's Day Monday, February 20th for a day (and night) on the slopes! We'll have special extended evening operations until 9 PM and we're offering a special $10 online lift ticket, good from 3-9 PM. The ticket purchased at the resort will be $15. Season passholders and other advance sale tickets will be honored for this extended evening of skiing.

Regular operating hours are 9 AM – 9 PM Wednesday – Sunday, with lifts closing at 4 PM Monday and Tuesday. But Meadows is extending hours to 9 PM on Monday, February 20 to celebrate President’s day.

We're offering discounts in Outer Limits Sports! It's a great opportunity for passholders to get an extra discount in the retail shop this week. Select 11/12 outerwear is currently 20-50% off! Stop by to take advantage of these discounts!

The Twilight Kids Club will run this Saturday, Sunday and Monday! Kids are supervised from 3-7 PM, and get a lift ticket, a 2-hour lesson, and dinner. Parents also receive one adult 3 PM - close lift ticket for each child enrolled in the Twilight Kids Club! This is a great chance for kids to have fun in the club while mom and dad hit the slopes. The Twilight Kids Club costs $75, and $80 for ages 4-6 (guaranteed maximum class size of 3 per instructor for 4-6 year olds). Click here for details, or call Ski School, at 503.337.2222, ext. 1419.


Check out all of the special events for the holiday weekend, as well as for the rest of February and into Spring in our events section.

Heather Canyon Opens

Heather Canyon opened up from Moon Bowl down Friday at Mt. Hood Meadows Ski Resort. Following avalanche reduction efforts and a final lift maintenance check, patrol opened the access gates to lower Heather for the first time this season. Also opened was the steep cliffed terrain of S&R Cliffs.

Pierce Hodges was on hand to video the first day in the Canyon.

And photographers Grant Myrdal and Richard Hallman were captured the rapture of fresh, untouched in the Canyon.

See more of Grant Myrdal's pictures here.

When Will Heather Canyon Open

With the opening of Private Reserve Sunday, and getting Vista Express and Cascade Express lifts running Monday, there is now a lot of attention on Heather Canyon. Prior to last week's storm, Heather was not able to open because there wasn't enough snowpack to build the essential snow bridges, which provides the exit from the Canyon. Well, 9 days and 10 feet of new later, we have enough snow.

But with that storm also came an increased risk of avalanche, particularly when there wasn't much of a base upon which this new snow fell. We won't go into snow dynamics here, but everyone knows the heavy wet snow and 2.5" of rain we received during the storm created slope instability. We just finished a huge storm cycle which left us with weak layers in the snow pack. Our lead groomer was able to get a cat into the Heather run-out to build snow bridges up to "the Narrows" Saturday night - that's why we were able to open Private Reserve Sunday. That terrain is naturally protected from the avalanche danger looming above in Heather, Clark, Super Bowl and higher.

Sunday evening the storm stopped and for the first time in nine days we were able to actually get a visual in the Canyon. During the last several days there was evidence of large slide activity both natural and caused by our avalanche reduction efforts.  We had been unable to proceed with bridge building all the way to the lift because of the avalanche exposure until we could get in there and test the stability. This also barred access to the lift for maintenance to get it turning. We put over 300 pounds of explosives in there Monday as part of our avalanche reduction efforts.

Avalanche Debris from March 30,2012 slide deposited on the skier access trail to the Heather lift.
The deposit zone from this slide last March reached the bottom of Heather which is why we needed to assess slope stability before placing a snowcat in this area for snow bridge, trail access and ramp building. Read about the 3.30.11 Avalanche.

Last evening Ski Patrol felt that avalanche danger was reduced enough to allow our lead groomer to access the bottom of the Canyon, build the snow bridges and cut the access trail to the lift. The ramps at the lift are almost built, and some lift maintenance was performed, however, those efforts have been interrupted due to rapid warming/loading above. We believe some natural releases will occur due to the increased loading (another warning for extreme avalanche danger has been issued for Mt. Hood today by NOAA.) This is a good thing, as hopefully some of the unstable areas will release naturally. Following the current storm we will continue with the steps necessary to open Heather.

Bottom line - we'll open Heather as soon as possible, but only after we have performed and completed the required steps. We know how popular Heather is, and how important it is to you. But even more important is the safety of our crews and our guests. Thank you for your patience - it will be rewarded with some awesome powder plunges into the steeps of Heather - soon.

P.S. Tighe Stoyanoff from Snow Safety wanted to add that we have been shooting that area every time it snows, and we are throwing shots by hand where we can safely get to throughout this last storm. He sent some pictures of fractures in Absolute Magnitude and Silver Bowl (evidence of large slide activity noted above.) Click any image for a slide show.
Silver Bowl 012311 @ Mt. Hood Meadows Silver Bowl 012312 @ Mt. Hood Meadows Ski Resort Absolute Magnitude 012312 @ Mt. Hood Meadows Ski Resort Absolute Magnitude 012312 @ Mt. Hood Meadows Ski Resort

Private Reserve Opened Storm Recovery Efforts

The advanced gated access terrain in Private Reserve was opened for the first time this season Sunday. Elk and Yoda bowls and God's Wall were open and enjoyed by powder hounds. Private Reserve is part of our daily operational schedule, pending avalanche control work and conditions. We strongly recommend riding with a friend and carrying a beacon, shovel and probe. Pierce from mComm caught the action in PR Sunday.

The access gates to Heather Canyon and S&R Cliffs have not been opened, pending continued snow bridge building at the bottom of the canyon and assessment. Efforts continue and we'll provide updates here on the blog but for now please respect the boundaries - DO NOT duck a rope or pass through a closed gate. It only delays getting this terrain open.

Vista and Cascade are both on storm recovery. Our lift maintenance crews face major deicing - Vista was started Sunday and crews faced ladders totally encased in ice frozen to the tower itself. The break in the weather today will help and we'll get these lifts open as quickly as possible. Vista is much more likely than Cascade - since Cascade last opened we've had 115" of snow, 2.3" of rain, and 100mph wind gusts. It's going to be a huge undertaking to open it.

All the snow has also affected our park operations. They were buried so we're basically starting from scratch with rebuilds of The Zoo, Shipyard and Forest Park. The good news is we now have enough snow for constructing Rose City and Park Place, our more advanced parks which will have larger features and jumps.

90 Inches in Six Days

A powerful La Nina storm has dropped 90” of snow on Mt. Hood Meadows this week, bringing the resort’s settled base depth up to 87 inches. Mt. Hood Meadows now has one of the deepest snow packs of any ski resort in the country. At the height of the storm the resort received 31 inches of snow in 24 hours.

The storm provided some primo powder the first three days, and then turned wet and wild delivering a mixture of snow, sleet and rain. Over the six days the water equivalent deposited by at Mt. Hood Meadows is almost 13 inches – quite the moisture pump. The temperature remained cold enough for the majority of the moisture to fall as snow and build the snowpack.

Six Day telemetry for 90 inches of snow at Mt. Hood Meadows
Telemetry: NWAC data station at bottom of Mt. Hood Express. Click to enlarge.

Resort officials and guests are delighted by the storm, which has more than doubled the snow pack, upon which the resort will build the rest of the season. Once the storm passes freestyle grooming and parks crews will construct the Rose City and Park Place intermediate and advanced terrain parks, featuring medium and large sized jumps. The resort will also be rebuilding The Zoo, Shipyard and Forest Park – small to medium parks which had been operating but were buried by the storm this past week. Work will also begin on the in ground Super Pipe.

The new snow will also allow for bridges to be built at the bottom of Heather Canyon, the first step towards the eventual opening of advanced gated access to Heather, Clark Canyon and Private Reserve.

Delightfully Brutal Storm

Apparently all those snow dances are working - and the prayers are being answered all at once. The first major storm of this season is blasting Mt. Hood with an abundance of snow - more than five feet from Saturday through Wednesday. The powder skiing and riding was wonderful through Tuesday, and even Wednesday morning - but now the nastiness of the storm is upon us.

High winds and warming temperatures are wreaking havoc on the mountain. The winds affect our lift operations and the rising temperatures increase the the avalanche hazard. It's pretty simple physics - take four feet of really light powder, and then place a heavier layer of more densely saturated snow on top of it and you have the makings for some sliding.

We also want to alert you to the danger of deep snow tree wells. Ride with a buddy - and avoid these powdery traps.

Needless to say we will be affected during the height of this storm, but we'll take it. Looking forward the freezing levels and winds drop, and we'll more than double our base setting us up for some terrific conditions for riding! Keep an eye on our conditions page and if you haven't already you really should subscribe to our daily snow report. It gives you great information on what to expect each day.

For now, enjoy the video Pierce from mComm shot Tuesday - the day we received 31 inches of powder. Storm riding at its best!


Major Storm Means Major Storm Recovery Gratefully!

We all have been waiting (patiently) for this storm to chill out and bring us some long awaited snow. Well it arrived with a vengeance this morning - as the rain turned to snow around 3 AM. Since then we've accumulated a foot of new snow at the top of Shooting Star (6600 foot level) with 4" in the base area (5500 foot level.) With the slurpy slope conditions last evening, we couldn't put groomers on the mountain until after the snow piled up - particularly on the lower mountain trails serviced by Hood River Express. And the storm is expected to pick up through the morning hours, so don't expect a lot of grooming today.

Additionally, the freezing level dropped quickly which is great for changing rain to snow, but that also left a coating of ice on every lift. Lift maintenance was called out early to start the deicing process. During that process we use our transport cats to take patrol up for AC work and trail marking. We expect to have lifts operating at 9 AM - focusing on Mt. Hood Express and over to Shooting Star. We'll get as many lifts operating as soon as we possible.

ODOT plowed our lots, but since this storm is forecast to drop a foot or more throughout the day be prepared to drive through deep snow as you leave. Experienced mountain enthusiasts will have a shovel in their vehicle and this is the kind of day that it comes in handy.

We've been waiting for it - and we are prepared. A lot needs to get done to ready the mountain after and during a substantial storm such as the one we're experiencing. But every crew member is smiling - and happy to make this extraordinary effort to prepare the mountain for some great skiing and riding.

See you on the mountain!


Lifts Closing Early Wednesday

Well, the forecast pretty much is delivering as expected – lots of rain driven by high winds. Our forecasters indicate that the rain will continue and the winds should increase this afternoon and evening.

We're going to suspend lift operations today (Wednesday) at 1 PM – there will be no Meadows After Dark this evening.

Looking ahead to Thursday, Mt. Hood Express, Butter Cup, Easy Rider and the Ballroom Carpet are scheduled from 9 AM – 9 PM, with Shooting Star possible from 9 AM – 4 PM. Check our conditions page or call our snow phone (503.227.SNOW) for updates.

Not operating Thursday are the HRM lodge, HRE, the parking lot and the Nordic Center. Park&Ride has been suspended for Thursday, but is scheduled to run Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

We will continue to offer ski and snowboard lessons, food service, rentals, retail and day care, providing the best experience possible even with limited operations.

We will assess weather and snow conditions again at 10 AM Thursday. Hang in there - the forecast is indicating a change to snow Thursday and into Friday. We should have some fresh snow to enjoy by the weekend.

Here's what Temira's Mt. Hood forecast looks like:

"On Friday, the snow level goes from 5500’ at 4am, to 3500’ at 7am and keeps falling to 1000’ by 7pm. So, Thursday’s heavy rain switches to snow early Friday morning, and then we get 1.5-2” of water value for 10-16” of new snow during the day, depending on when it switches over. 

We’ll probably see another 4-6” of new snow Friday night, leading into a bluebird day on Saturday."

 See you on the mountain Friday and Saturday - enjoy our New Year's Eve celebration!

Brrring in the New Year at Mt. Hood Meadows

Wild and Windy Wednesday

We asked for a change in the weather - and we are getting it! La Nina can be nasty, and she is delivering a powerful wallop here Wednesday. Warming temps, rising freezing levels, several inches of moisture and high winds will make for a less than ideal Wednesday.

In anticipation of this weather, we expect our lift operations to be limited to Mt. Hood Express, Easy Rider, Buttercup and the Ballroom Carpet on Wednesday. With this forecast even those lifts could be affected by the wind. We're still scheduled to operate at 9 AM, but we don't know how long we will be able to maintain operations with the extreme weather forecast. That means we may not have night operations Wednesday. You should check our conditions page or call our snow phone (503.227.SNOW) for the latest information before heading to the mountain.

Hood River Meadows lodge and the Hood River Express will not operate Wednesday. The parking lot will be open for our cross country skiing guests as the Nordic Center is scheduled to operate.

We'll do our best to make the most of what the weather offers. We'll still have ski and snowboard lessons, food services and rental operations. Select hardgoods and softgoods are marked down 10% (20% off for pass holders) at Outer Limits Sports and the HPC. Day care will still operate.

Park&Ride from Portland has been canceled Wednesday.

Thursday's forecast improves a little, but still has some extreme elements to it. Fortunately the forecast is looking a lot better (perhaps even some fresh snow) Friday and into the weekend. Hopefully we'll end 2011 with some great conditions and start off the New Year right!

Christmas Brings the Gift of Snow

That blocking high ridge of pressure positioned over the northwest for most of December gave way today - allowing a wintry blast to bring snow to Mt. Hood Meadows. Six inches of snow had accumulated into the evening - and as the video shows our guests were loving it!

This is going to be a wild week of weather with major precipitation heading our way. Watch the freezing levels, which will be yoyoing up and down. Pick your days wisely and you may be rewarded with waist deep powder. Happy holidays everyone - and thanks for all the prayers and snow dances. We're looking forward to a great season!

Where is La Nina?

From Cliff Mass Weather Blog:

A number of you have commented or emailed the same questions and comments that run like this:

" I thought it was a La Nina year--aren't they supposed to be wetter than normal"
"The National Weather Service said this fall would be wetter than normal--boy did they mess up!)

December is turning out to be one of the driest on record--in fact, there is a chance it could be the driest December since record-keeping began at a number of western Washington sites.

Take a look at the precipitation at Sea-Tac for the past 4 weeks (blue is normal, red this year):

SeaTac Airport

Amazing...precipitation has almost been flat-lined since December 1--we are about 4 inches below normal, with only about .5 inches this month.

 In general, La Nina years are wetter during the entire fall-winter season....but that is only on average.  You can think of weighting a coin---instead of heads and tails being equally probable, heads is more likely.  Throw the coin ten times and it could be heads eight times--BUT you STILL will get two tails.

This year it is more LIKELY to be wetter than normal, but some La Nina years HAVE been drier than normal.

Here is a plot that summarizes the situation for Washington State.  The dots representation individual years, which can be El Nino (red), neutral (green) or La Nina (blue) years. The y axis gives the precipitation amounts for October through March.  Yes, the blue (La Nina) years typically have more precipitation than the other years.  But there is a considerable range for the La Nina, El Nino, and neutral years, with a number of La Nina years being relatively dry.   This year may well be one of them--although it is too early to know what the final winter's total will be.

October March

You can think of NWS forecasters as casino operators---over a period of time the house will win, but occasionally someone can walk away with a jackpot.

But there is something else... a characteristic of La Nina years is the persistence of a major ridge in the eastern Pacific (see NWS graphic below).  Normally, that ridge is far enough west that we are in the

La Nina
downstream us cool, wet weather.  This year, the trough has been farther east than us drier than normal conditions.  And we have seen the ridging day after day.   For some reason the ridge is shifted--and so we have been generally dry and cool.

The current model runs show a return to more normal, wetter conditions soon.

It's All Good - Thanks to our Awesome Grooming and Four Inches of New Snow!

Finally! New snow! We’ve had two full weeks of dry weather, but now the ridge of high pressure is breaking down. We want to take advantage of the new snow to show you what it’s really like up here. Here’s the thing: We feel like we’ve scared you guys away over the last two weeks with our endless repetition of “it’s sunny” and “early season conditions exist”.

Our hands are tied with that second one; the lawyers make us say it until every last stick, stump, rock, obstacle and jib-worthy natural feature is buried, usually when we have 80”+ on the ground. The truth is, if you’re not coming up, you’re missing some fun riding in our parks and on the groomed runs. Coverage is great on the groom. It has to be, or we can’t groom it!

As for the parks, the park crew is doing a stellar job of keeping them in great shape. Sure, conditions off the groom aren’t anywhere near epic, and we’re not going to suggest you grab your brand new skis and head down HRM Face or Powder Keg right now. But just because you’re not flying through the powder doesn’t mean you can’t be up here having fun.

Take a look at the photos below for what’s good right now, and what's not, and come on up and ride. You’ve got a pass, right? You might as well be up here using it rather than sitting at home watching ski and snowboard vids on your flat screen TV!


History Says Arctic Blasts in January Follows Mundane December

PDO Record vs. Portland Temp Record?

The November PDO (Pacific Decadal Oscillation) reading was released today. November's reading of -2.33 was the third lowest November reading in history for that particular month. November 2011 only lags November 1955 at -3.08 and November 1950 at -2.46. It is also the 14th lowest month of the nearly 1,345 months on record (1900-2011). More than 99.2% of months on record were higher than this November. Nate Mantua and I both agree that it is also interesting to note that Portland will likely set a new all-time record for least number of 60 degree days in a calendar year at the airport (1940-2011) at the end of this month. Can you guess what years are in the #2 and #3 position for least number of 60 degree days at the airport? Yep, 1950 and 1955! The graph sent out last week listing the fewest 60 degree days in Portland history seems to correlate well with the graph of historically low PDO readings. Taking it one step further, Portland experienced both arctic air and snow in the January to March time frames of those winters (1951 and 1956) after relatively mundane Decembers. Is this month's stagnant ridge over the west coast and strongly negative PDO just "the calm before the storm?"

Historical PDO readings are located here:

Steve Pierce
President, Oregon Chapter of the American Meteorological Society

Limited Opening Planned for Saturday

Mt. Hood Meadows plans to open for the 2011-12 season this Saturday with limited operations. Currently, two lifts – Buttercup and Easy Rider – are scheduled from 9 AM – 4 PM, but more lifts may be added as additional snow is forecast Thursday into Friday. The resort will announce scheduled lift operations and lift ticket pricing for Saturday by Friday afternoon. Scheduled operations will be announced and updated on our conditions page.

Meadows has a current snow depth of 19" - more higher up on the mountain. Early season conditions exist, with good to thin coverage on the groomed runs, with exposed grass, rocks – skiers and snowboarders should be aware of unmarked obstacles. Resort officials caution that Saturday’s opening is dependent on receiving more snow. The forecast is calling for a foot or more by Saturday, which will affect both conditions and the scheduled lift operations.

With enough snow the resort could open high speed quads, including Mt. Hood Express, Shooting Star Express and the new Stadium Express Saturday or Sunday.

Uphill hiking not allowed within the ski resort boundary. The resort has machines and people on the slopes moving snow, placing boundaries, and starting early season preparations. Those seeking backcountry skiing, are directed to use designated uphill routes outside the ski area and should not descend within the ski area boundary.

Meteorologists Predict a Snowy Winter for the Mountains

More than 350 people turned out for the Winter Weather Forecast Conference at OMSI - with the main draw local meteorologists and climatologists prediction of what weather winter will bring. Every presenter agreed that we'll see a return of La Nina this winter, bringing above average snowfall to the Cascades. They said it should be a good ski season - and former State Climatologist George Taylor even sang about it!

Friday, October 21: Windstorms, the Hurricanes of the Pacific NW

The week of October 16-22 is Winter Weather Awareness Week in the Pacific Northwest, including the states of Idaho, Oregon and Washington. Each day, a new topic will be discussed, along with new informational links. This is republished with permission from the National Weather Forecast Office in Portland, OR.

The Pacific Northwest does not get hurricanes, but it does get hurricane force winds.

Across eastern Washington, eastern Oregon, Idaho and Montana:
In January 2008 a powerful wind storm in Walla Walla, WA and Milton Freewater, OR is a recent and striking example. Wind gusts exceeding 70 mph caused widespread damage. Hundreds of trees were downed, power lines were damaged, vehicles were blown off the road, and even houses were damaged during this event.

Across western Washington and western Oregon: The best example was the nation's strongest non-tropical windstorm ever---the Columbus Day storm of 1962. This storm produced hurricane force winds across western Oregon and Washington. Winds of 150 mph (category 4 hurricane force) winds rocked the coastal areas, killing 46 persons, injuring hundreds more and knocking out power for several million people. Damage was widespread, with buildings, schools and thousands of homes either destroyed or damage. Other notable windsstorms of the past: the Great Olympic Blowdown of 1921, the November 13th/15th 1981 Twin Wind Storms, the Inauguration Day storm of 1993, and most recently the Great Coastal Gale of December 2007.

Are you ready for the next windstorm?
Windstorms bring down trees and power lines, and produce much blowing debris. Falling trees and blowing debris cause the most fatalities.

Be sure to have your 3-day emergency preparedness kit ready at home, school and/or at work. This kit should include water and non-perishable food for each person, and AM/FM battery-powered radio, along with flashlights and extra batteries. Be sure to include vital medications, sleeping bags, blankets and warm clothing.

In addition, inspect your home and grounds each year for nearby trees that may fall and damage your home. Ensure the trees are healthy and trimmed, and you home, school or business is structurally sound. It is also a good idea to bring lightweight items in out of the weather, or tie them down. During strong gusty winds, such items can become dangerous missiles. These precautions will help ensure that you are ready for the next big blow.

    Additional Links of Interest...
  1. Pacific NW Windstorm Brochure (.pdf)
  2. Past Windstorms of Oregon, including Columbus Day Storm
  3. Historic Windstorm Photographs (mostly NW Oregon/SW Washington)
  4. Each local office may have photographs online (see office links below)

Remember, in times of hazardous winter weather, you can get all these vital NOAA/National Weather Service messages via NOAA Weather Radio, your favorite local media, or through NOAA's National Weather Service websites.

For questions about local Winter Weather Preparedness, contact your local NOAA National Weather Service Office:
local office contact by email contact by phone
Medford Ryan Sandler 541-773-1067
Seattle Ted Buehner 206-526-6087
Spokane Anthony Cavallucci 509-244-6395
Pendleton Dennis Hull 541-276-4493
Portland Tyree Wilde 503-261-9246
Boise Jay Breidenbach 208-334-9861
Pocatello Vern Preston 208-233-0834
Missoula Marty Whitmore 406-329-4840

NOAA Confirms LA NINA Forecast - Wetter Colder Winter for the Northwest!

The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has released its winter outlook for the months of December, January and February.

Although La Nina faded away this past summer, it is making a comeback and will play a role in the weather patterns across the country this winter.

Story: La Nina - Back to Back | The La Nina Signature

Precipitation Outlook: December - February

NOAA Precip

La Nina's influence on this winter outlook can be seen on the map above.

Blog archive: Oh No! La Nina is Coming!

Wetter-than-average conditions are forecast from the Pacific Northwest into the Northern Rockies and Northern Plains. The Pacific Northwest is one portion of the country that typically sees above-average precipitation during La Nina winters.

Temperature Outlook: December - February

NOAA Temps

The combination of below-average temperatures and above-average precipitation in the Pacific Northwest and western Montana could result in increased mountain snow.

Temperatures are forecast to stay below average from the Great Lakes westward to the Dakotas, Northern Rockies, Pacific Northwest and the coast of California.

La Nina isn't the only climate factor expected to play a role in the weather this winter.  NOAA cites the lesser known and less predictable Arctic Oscillation as a 'wild card' influence that could result in large short-term swings in temperatures this winter. According to Mike Halpert of NOAA, "The erratic Arctic Oscillation can generate strong shifts in the climate patterns that could overwhelm or amplify La Nina’s typical impacts.”

Read the entire article at The Weather Channel.

Thursday, October 20: Floods and Flash Floods

The week of October 16-22 is Winter Weather Awareness Week in the Pacific Northwest, including the states of Idaho, Oregon and Washington. Each day, a new topic will be discussed, along with new informational links. This is republished with permission from the National Weather Forecast Office in Portland, OR.

During most winters, storms bring long periods of heavy rain and snow to the Pacific Northwest. In addition to extended rain, flooding can also occur due to ice jams, where large flows of ice pile up. This pile-up of ice can act like a dam, causing water to back up and flood. Warm weather can also cause snow on the middle and higher mountains to melt, putting more water into already rain-swollen streams.

Flooding causes more deaths and property damage in the U.S. than any other severe weather related event. The majority of flood related deaths occur when people become trapped in automobiles while attempting to drive through flooded areas. Flowing water can be deceptively strong, and pack a powerful punch. As little as six inches of water is enough to float a small car and carry it away. There have been many floods in the history of the Northwest, which include the devastating floods of December 1964 and February 1996. Most recently, in Dec 2007 and Jan 2009, significant flooding struck the Pacific Northwest, closing a twenty mile stretch of interstate 5 near Chehalis Washington under 10 feet of water. Coastal flooding can also occur during the winter months, and poses a threat to life and property. Winds generated from very strong Pacific storms can drive ocean water inland, much like a storm surge, and can cause significant flooding along the immediate coastal areas and estuaries.

A Flood refers to a gradual rise in the water along a stream or river over an extended period of time. Floods result from heavy rainfall, river ice jams, and snowmelt. They can erode an entire mountainside, roll boulders the size of trucks, tear out trees, destroy buildings, wash out roads and bridges, and cause the loss of lives. Rain weakened soils can also result in mudslides capable of closing major highways.

Flood Watch...
This means that flooding is possible within the watch area. You should remain alert and be ready to evacuate on a moment's notice.

Flood Warning...
This means that flooding has been reported, or is imminent. When a flood warning is issued for your area, act quickly to save yourself. If advised to evacuate, do so immediately. Go to higher ground, or climb to safetly. Move to a safe area before access is cut off by rising flood waters.

Nearly half of all flood fatalities are auto-related. Water that is two feet deep will carry away most automobiles. Never attempt to drive through a flooded roadway. The road bed may be washed out beneath the water, and you could be stranded or trapped. If the vehicle stalls, leave it immediately and seek higher ground.

The best advice if you are in a vehicle: TURN AROUND�Don't DROWN.

From the past...
Record Floods of December 1964 [some historical photos]
The December 1964 rainstorm was undoubtedly the most severe rainstorm to ever occur over central Oregon, and among the most severe over western Oregon since the late 1870s. Several observing stations across central Oregon recorded two-thirds of their normal annual rainfall in just 5 days. Scores of stations set new records for both 24-hour totals and December monthly rainfall totals. Widespread severe flooding occurred, with at least 30 major highway bridges receiving such damage as to make them unuseable! The new John Day multi-million dollar bridge was destroyed as were scores of bridges on county and secondary roads. Hundreds of miles of roads and highways were washed out or badly damaged. Thousands of people had to be evacuated due to ensuing floods.

The Willamette River at downtown Portland had a stage of 29.8 feet. This was a record high for the winter season, and was within inches of the peak stage during the Columbia River spring flood of 1948. Hundreds of homes and other buildings were destroyed and an even greater number were badly damaged. .Heavy snow followed by persistent heavy rains lead to record flooding in Oregon during the later half of December 1964 and January 1965. In all, 17 people died. Virtually every river in the state was far above flood stage and mudslides, bridge failures, and inundation closed the state's roads, airports, and railways. Reservoirs were overwhelmed early on in the storm and many proved unable to release water fast enough to prevent overtopping. Dorena Dam, south of Eugene had water flowing over the top more than 8 feet deep.

Read more information on this and other historic storms in Oregon.

    Additional Links of Interest...
  1. 1996 Flood Summary of Northwest Oregon/SW Washington
  2. Severe Emergency Plan for Inland Pacific NW Schools
  3. Each local office may have photographs online (see office links below)

Remember, in times of severe weather, you can get all these vital NOAA/National Weather Service messages via NOAA Weather Radio, your favorite local media, or through NOAA's National Weather Service websites.

For questions about local Severe Weather Preparedness, contact your local NOAA National Weather Service Office:

local office contact by email contact by phone
Medford Ryan Sandler 541-773-1067
Seattle Ted Buehner 206-526-6087
Spokane Anthony Cavallucci 509-244-6395
Pendleton Dennis Hull 541-276-4493
Portland Tyree Wilde 503-261-9246
Boise Jay Breidenbach 208-334-9861
Pocatello Vern Preston 208-233-0834
Missoula Marty Whitmore 406-329-4840

Wednesday, October 19: Many Faces of Winter Storms

The week of October 16-22 is Winter Weather Awareness Week in the Pacific Northwest, including the states of Idaho, Oregon and Washington. Each day, a new topic will be discussed, along with new informational links. This is republished with permission from the National Weather Forecast Office in Portland, OR.

Snow, Ice, Avalanche and Blizzards are the most common of Winter's many hazards.

Winter storms are a frequent occurence across the Pacific Northwest. Many of these storms bring snow amounts that cause road closures, especially through the mountain passes. Wind, in combination with the snow, can cause reduced visibility and deep snow drifts. Along with the heavy snow comes an avalanche threat in areas of steep terrain. In valley locations, temperatures may be near freezing during the day, but after the storm passes, temperatures plummet causing wet roadways to become ribbons of black ice. In some valleys, cool air trapped near the surface remains below freezing, while warmer air aloft drops rain through the sub-freezing air, causing glaze ice or freezing rain.

All of these hazards are forecast ahead of time by your local National Weather Service forecast office. Winter storm watches are generally issued 1 to 3 days prior to the storm's arrival. Winter storm warnings and ice storm warnings are issued within a day and sometimes two days's warning.

1) Winter Storm Warning...issued when any combination of freezing rain, sleet, wind and/or heavy snow occurs over an area that is expected to cause significant widespread damage. Snow amounts required for winter storm warnings vary, given the terrain and location. For low lying areas, which normally receive very little snow, only 2 to 4 inches of snow is required for a winter storm warning. On the other hand in mountainous areas, where nearly every storm brings at least 6 inches of snow, 8 to 10 inches (or more) of snow is required for a warning. A winter storm warning means that road crews will have difficulty keeping roads open and snow free, making travel difficult at best, and impossible at worst.

2) Blizzard Warning... is normally associated with severe winter weather in the northern plains where strong northwest winds bring snow and frigid temperatures. While rather common for the plains states, blizzard or near blizzard conditions can occur in the Pacific Northwest. The National Weather Service defines a blizzard as a combination of wind that is 35 mph or stronger accompanied by snow with visibilities frequently below one-quarter of a mile.

3) Ice Storm Warning... in the Pacific Northwest are infrequent, but can be extremely dangerous. Across interior locations, valley locations will have temperatures below freezing when a warm winter storm blows overhead. Rain falling out of the storm passes through the sub-freezing air near the surface and freezes on contact with objects. These conditions cause trees to snap, power lines to fall, and make roads nearly impossible to navigate.

4) Avalanche Warnings...
Avalanche Warnings are issued by the Northwest Avalanche Forecast Center, located in Seattle. These products are issued when there is a significant threat of avalanches in the Cascades and Olympics backcountry, possibly affecting mountain roadways and other high country interests. Also, see the NW Avalanche Center's website.

Thousands of avalanches occur each year in the mountains of the Pacific Northwest. With the popularity of winter sports, avalanches pose a great risk to skiers, hikers and snowmobilers. The risk is very real, as people die each year when sudden avalanches bury them. Avalanches can happen anywhere the slope is steep enough and has a heavy load of snow. They typically occur during or just after snowstorms and most occur on a slope of 30 to 45 degrees. By waiting 36 hours after a big snowstorm, you may allow the snow to settle. If you stay in the valleys away from avalanches chutes, in stands of dense trees, or on gentle slopes, you can minimize your risk to avalanches.

1) NEVER TRAVEL ALONE. Always have one or more companions. If you are alone, and get trapped by an avalanche, you may not be found until April or May.

2) If crossing a slope that may be prone to avalanches, do it one person at a time. You want to minimize the impact on your party if an avalanche occurs.


    Additional Links of Interest...
  1. 1996 Flood Summary of Northwest Oregon/SW Washington
  2. Top 10 Weather Events of the 1900s for Oregon
  3. Top 10 Weather Events of the 1900s for Washington
  4. Each local office may have other historical data and photographs online (see office links below)

Remember, in times of hazardous winter weather, you can get all these vital NOAA/National Weather Service messages via NOAA Weather Radio, your favorite local media, or through NOAA's National Weather Service websites.

For questions about local Winter Weather Preparedness, contact your local NOAA National Weather Service Office:
local office contact by email contact by phone
Medford Ryan Sandler 541-773-1067
Seattle Ted Buehner 206-526-6087
Spokane Anthony Cavallucci 509-244-6395
Pendleton Dennis Hull 541-276-4493
Portland Tyree Wilde 503-261-9246
Boise Jay Breidenbach 208-334-9861
Pocatello Vern Preston 208-233-0834
Missoula Marty Whitmore 406-329-4840

Tuesday, October 18: Watch, Warning, or Advisory? What do they mean?

The week of October 16-22 is Winter Weather Awareness Week in the Pacific Northwest, including the states of Idaho, Oregon and Washington. Each day, a new topic will be discussed, along with new informational links. This is republished with permission from the National Weather Forecast Office in Portland, OR.


A goal of the National Weather Service is to provide information on winter storms, with enough advance notice to allow the whole community to take actions needed to prepare for and deal with adverse and sometimes dangerous weather conditions. As the threat of severe winter weather draws closer, and the confidence in the location and timing of the event increases, the National Weather Service will issue various bulletins that become increasingly more specific. Here is what these bulletins mean, and what precautions you should take:

NOAA's National Weather Service uses a four-tier approach to alert the public for the potential for severe weather or high fire danger. This four-tier approach consists of outlooks, advisories, watches and warnings.

1) Winter Storm Outlook...
A winter storm outlook is issued when conditions are favorable for hazardous winter weather to develop within the next 3 to 7 days. It is intended for those groups that require considerable lead time to prepare for the event.

ACTION: Stay tuned to local media or monitor NOAA Weather Radio for updates. Evaluate your emergency action plan and the resources you have in your home, car or work place to deal with a winter storm.

2) Winter Storm Watch...
A winter storm watch is issued when the risk of hazardous winter weather has increased, but occurrence, location and timing is still somewhat uncertain. Generally, a watch is issued when there is a significant threat of severe winter weather in the next 12 to 48 hours.

ACTION: You should prepare now and ensure that all emergency plans and resources are in place.
Note: Winter Storm Watches may be upgraded to Winter Storm Warnings, if conditions warrant.

3) Winter Weather Advisory...
Winter weather advisories are issued for less serious winter weather conditions that are occurring, or have a high likelihood of occurring. These products are used for winter weather situations that are less severe than a Warning, but will cause significant inconvenience. These situations should not be life threatening, damage is usually localized and the main danger is hazardous travel.
Note: This advisory may be upgraded to a Winter Storm Warning if conditions warrant.

4) Winter Storm Warning...
A winter storm warning is issued when a hazardous winter weather event is occurring, imminent, or has a very high probability of occurrence. Warning products are used for conditions that pose a threat to life or property. Winter Storm warnings are issued for several types of hazardous winter weather, including heavy snow, sleet, or a combination of snow and wind.


5) Ice Storm Warning...
An ice storm warning is issued when freezing rain will accumulate at a rate that causes a coating of ice that will make outdoor activities dangerous. Tree limbs and power lines fall under the weight of the ice. These conditions are fairly rare but, when they occur, can be especially dangerous.

6) Blizzard Warning...
Blizzard warnings are issued when:
  • There are sustained wind speeds of 35 mph or more, or frequents wind gusts of 35 mph or more.
  • Considerable falling and/or blowing snow is occurring, reducing visibility to less then 1/4 of a mile.

7) Dangerous Wind Chill Warning...
Wind chill warnings are issued when the wind chill of -20 degrees or colder are expected or occurring and:

8) Avalanche Warning...
Avalanche warnings are issued by the Northwest Avalanche Forecast Center, located in Seattle. These products are issued when there is a significant threat of avalanches in the Cascades and Olympics backcountry, possibly affecting mountain roadways and other high country interests.
[For more info, see the NW Avalanche Center's website]

    Additional Links of Interest...
  1. NOAA's Weather Safety website
  2. Preparedness for Severe Weather
  3. Each local office may have historic storm data and photographs online (see office links below)

Remember, in times of hazardous winter weather, you can get all these vital NOAA/National Weather Service messages via NOAA Weather Radio, your favorite local media, or through NOAA's National Weather Service websites.

For questions about local Winter Weather Preparedness, contact your local NOAA National Weather Service Office:
local office contact by email contact by phone
Medford Ryan Sandler 541-773-1067
Seattle Ted Buehner 206-526-6087
Spokane Anthony Cavallucci 509-244-6395
Pendleton Dennis Hull 541-276-4493
Portland Tyree Wilde 503-261-9246
Boise Jay Breidenbach 208-334-9861
Pocatello Vern Preston 208-233-0834
Missoula Marty Whitmore 406-329-4840

Monday, October 17: Winter Weather Safety and Terminology

The week of October 16-22 is Winter Weather Awareness Week in the Pacific Northwest, including the states of Idaho, Oregon and Washington. Each day, a new topic will be discussed, along with new informational links. This is republished with permission from the National Weather Forecast Office in Portland, OR.

Exposure to cold can cause frostbite or hypothermia, and become life-threatening. Infants and the elderly are the most susceptible. When a winter storm approaches, stay inside, or seek shelter if caught outdoors.

Other tips to follow to better protect you and others:

  • When using an alternate heat from a fireplace, wood stove or space heater, be sure to use fire safeguards and properly ventilate. Close off unneeded rooms in the building. Stuff towels or rags in cracks and under doors.
  • Cover windows at night to minimize loss of heat through the windows.
  • Eat and drink sufficient amounts of water. Food provides the body with energy for producing its own heat. Fluids prevent dehydration.
  • Wear layers of loose fitting, lightweight and warm clothing. Remove layers to avoid overheating and perspiration and subsequent chill.
  • Make sure pets have plenty of food, water and proper shelter from the elements.

  • If caught outdoors:
  • Find shelter immediately.
  • Try to stay dry, and cover all exposed body parts.
  • In no shelter is available, build a lean-to, windbreak, or a snow cave to protect yourself from the wind
  • Build a fire for heat and to attract attention for rescue.
  • Place rocks around the fire to absorb and reflect heat.
  • Melt snow for drinking water.
  • Avoid eating snow, as this will lower your body temperature.

  • If traveling:
  • This best way to avoid becoming stranded or stuck during a winter storm is to avoid travel during the storm.
  • Stay informed on the current weather, forecasts and warnings.
  • Obtain the latest warnings and forecasts from your NOAA Weather Radio, The National Weather Service website [ ], or your favorite media news source.
  • If you must travel, let someone else ( who is not traveling ) know of your travel plans.
  • Weatherize your vehicle now, before rough winter weather arrives. Make sure your vehicle safety set includes: adequate tires, chains, tow rope, sand or cat litter for traction, shovel, tool kit, windshield scraper and brush, battery cables, first aid kit, flashlight and extra batteries, a blanket or sleeping bag, extra clothes, waterproof matches, high-calorie snacks and an empty can to melt snow for drinking water.

  • If you become stranded while traveling:
  • STAY WITH YOUR VEHICLE, and do not panic.
  • If with other people, take turns sleeping.
  • Run the motor every hour for about 10 minutes to maintain warmth, but keep window open a bit to prevent buildup of carbon monoxide.
  • Make sure the exhaust pipe is not blocked by snow.
  • Keep a brightly colored cloth tied to the antenna, in order for others to find your car.
  • Exercise periodically by vigorously moving arms, legs, toes and fingers.

  • In the Mountains and higher Terrain:
    Avalanches become a possibility during the winter, especially below steep slopes. Avalanches occasionally come down across roads, with little or no warning. Caution is advised when travelling along avalanche prone roads, especially after heavy snow has fallen or during periods of rapid snowmelt.

    Roads which appear clear in the wintertime may actually be coated with a thin layer of ice, commonly called black ice. This nearly invisible ice layer can cause you to rapidly lose control of your vehicle. Black ice is most common during the nighttime hours into very early morning. If you detect black ice, reduce your speed!

    Cold and its Effects on You:
    Wind Chill: this is not the actual temperature, but rather how wind and cold combined feel on exposed skin. As the wind increases, heat is carried away from the body at an accelerated rate, thus lowering your body temperature. Animals are also affected by wind chill, but cars, plants and other objects are not.

    Frostbite: this is damage to body tissue due to exposure to extreme cold. A wind chill of -20 degrees Fahrenheit will cause frostbite in just 30 minutes. Frostbite causes a loss of feeling and a white or pale appearance in extremities such as fingers, toes, ears and even the tip of your nose. If symptons are detected, get medical help immediately. If you must wait for help, slowly re-warm the affected areas. If the person is also showing signs of hypothermia, warm the body core before the extremities.

    Hypothermia: this is a condition brought on when the body temperatures drops to less than 95 degrees Fahrenheit. It can kill. For those who survive, there are likely to be lasting kidney, liver and pancreas problems. Warning signs include uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness and apparent exhaustion. Take the person's temperature, and if it is below 95F, seek medical care immediately.

    Remember, in times of severe weather, you can get all these vital NOAA/National Weather Service messages via NOAA Weather Radio, your favorite local media, or through NOAA's National Weather Service websites.

    For questions about local Severe Weather Preparedness, contact your local NOAA National Weather Service Office:
    local office contact by email contact by phone
    Medford Ryan Sandler 541-773-1067
    Seattle Ted Buehner 206-526-6087
    Spokane Anthony Cavallucci 509-244-6395
    Pendleton Dennis Hull 541-276-4493
    Portland Tyree Wilde 503-261-9246
    Boise Jay Breidenbach 208-334-9861
    Pocatello Vern Preston 208-233-0834
    Missoula Marty Whitmore 406-329-4840

    First Snow Baptizes Stadium Express

    The first snow always brings a chill of excitement to the mountain. While we know we won't be building our base out of an October 6 snowfall, the flurries signal a change of seasons and heightens our anticipation of the oncoming winter. The snow arrived as crews installed the bottom terminal of the new Stadium Express chairlift, Meadows sixth high speed quad and the second serving the base area. Amazingly today's efforts accomplished everything but enclosing the terminal with its cover, which is scheduled for Friday. Great progress - as we ready the lift to open when the snow allows. Enjoy the video!