Meadows Blog

Double Black Diamond Trails

Double Black Diamond - 15% of the terrain at Mt. Hood Meadows Ski ResortDouble Black Diamond. It sends a shiver right down your spine. But is that shiver fear or excitement? At Mt. Hood Meadows these trails offer sheer exhilaration and are accessed only through gates because of the extreme conditions. Sustained near vertical pitches breaking over cliff outcroppings too steep to hold snow. Gladed trees holding the fresh snow longer and tempting you for just one more run, and another, and another.. 

If you dare to share - what's your favorite Double Black Diamond run at Meadows?

23 Comments

  1. SNowolf

    October 6, 2009

    Gotta be Chute 225 when it`s open...that and God`s Wall!

  2. Brooke

    November 19, 2009

    Private reserve, Yoda and S&R Cliffs are all good ones!

  3. Ryan

    December 1, 2009

    Its gotta be Heather's canyon. Too bad its never open (hint, hint)

    Meadows: Thanks Ryan. My apologies to Will - I accidentally rejected a comment about Heather Canyon. I had added the following and intended to accept. So here's the info on operating Heather last season:

    The Heather season was ~ 115 days
    Open 105
    Closed 10

    Mid-week
    Open 71
    Closed 9 (2 rain event days, 5 icy condition days, 1 day for high winds all lift closed, 1 day at the end of 59" snow cycle)

    Weekend
    Open 33
    Closed 1 (icy conditions)

    20 days open after 10am and 7 of those days open after 11am. 13 of 20 was because of avalanche conditions the rest were because of waiting for conditions to soften.

  4. curtis

    December 27, 2009

    I assume that it is easy to open heather with the use of the BIG GUN (not the ski, the howitzer)on powder days. Last year was filled with face shots and access to the canyon. I thought I conquered the mountain, but really, the beauty of the mountain conquered me.

  5. eric

    January 2, 2010

    hey id like to know a little more about the private reserve, yoda, gods wall, and all the other double black tree runs im sure im ready but i want to know were to start and any things i need to know?

    Meadows: The best option would be the upcoming Steeps Clinic on January 24, or a private lesson. Following an assessment to determine appropriate ability and skill level, these clinics would take you to this kind of terrain (conditions allowing).

  6. christian

    January 16, 2010

    Any other steep clinics besides Jan 24?

    Meadows: Sat, Feb 20; Sun, Mar 21. Or take a private lesson with one of our certified pros any day!

  7. JACK

    January 17, 2010

    Super Bowl is my favorite. The veiw is amazing!!!!!

  8. Nicholas

    January 26, 2010

    I'd have to say Heather Canyon. I fell in love after a nice spring storm in March '09. It was a bit windy, but the canyon was open from Moon Bowl down all day... had some nice runs and then they opened Silver Bowl for a very short time. The skies cleared briefly as I started my first and only decent from the Silver Bowl gate. Fresh tracks all the way down with mostly blue sky above. Simply AMAZING! The wind had kicked up again and Silver Bowl closed by my next trip up the chair, but that was certainly a run I'll surely never forget :) Thanks Meadows!

  9. Daniel

    February 21, 2010

    I enjoy absolute magnitude on a fresh snow day. Gotta get there early though!

  10. Chris

    March 4, 2010

    I'm headed home for the 20-21st weekend and was wondering if the weather warmed if there was a possibility of superbowl opening? Just wondering what my chances are so i know if it's worth it to bring the bc skis and such.

    Meadows: Superbowl was open this past weekend. We're getting storms now so it all depends how much snow accumulates and whether the road has to be cut again. Bring your boots - you can demo the skis from our High Performance Center..

  11. John

    March 8, 2010

    Hi Meadows,

    I think you have an area of risk in Heather Canyon. I am not sure what the area is called but it is the bump field just before dropping into the run out if you are coming from Upper Heather or Memorial, Twilight, Pluto etc. I tend to stop at the top of that pitch to make sure it is clear. On Saturday, there were a lot of skiers/riders that were struggling in those bumps so were stopped or side slipping very slowly - there were multiple times where there were 4 or more people spread through the field. It was spooky to watch other people coming into the field without stopping. No one was hit but there were some very close calls. Had a someone gotten hit, it could have been bad since they were stopped. Anyway, it just seems like Meadows could really reduce the risk of accidents in there by shaving the bumps more frequently. Just a thought because trust me when I say those close calls were very close. Thanks and thanks for the great job the Meadonws team is doing this year.

    Meadows: We groom the foothills periodically (they were groomed Sunday morning.) We can't commit to consitent grooming do to avalanche danger from above. Since Heather is double black diamond desginated those entering the Canyon need to be aware of (and have the ability to) the bumps in the foothills. This is also a good warning to the more proficient skiers and riders to be aware of traffic ahead.

  12. robert

    April 2, 2010

    Well it is early April, and it has been dumping pretty good, but Heather is closed today, and has been closed a bunch of days lately when it dumps...... I thought that having that Howlitzer Gun would fix these problems! I am disappointed to put it mildly. Is there a phone number to ski patrol or someone that I can call and find out what you guys plan to open the next day? I don't want to come up and then find out Heather is going to be closed..... I know alot of locals feel this is still a big problem. Today is supposed to dump over a foot, and Heather is closed, but it is supposed to dump all night too. Great, but will Heather be open tomarrow Sat April 3? I assume it won't, but I could be wrong. People skiing/riding expert terrain should have the phone number to ski patrol anyway, so we can call them if someone gets hurt, so ski patrol can get there asap.... Please give me the direct phone number for ski patrol. Thanks.

    Meadows: We know this is a big concern to guests wanting to ski Heather powder. But safety is a bigger concern which guides our decisions to open the Canyon. We can't forecast the night before whether the Canyon will be open the next day, particularly in the midst of a storm cycle, which has been the case pretty much all week. Saturday visibility was limited and there was debris and signs of air blast in the gut of Heather. And as the event earlier this season demonstrates, there is always a concern about a Clark Canyon event.

    FYI: We are proud of the efforts our pro ski patrollers achieved during this storm cycle. And while there were a few days that Heather could not be opened due to safety, the Canyon was opened at least on a partial basis 6 of the past 9 days.
    Status of Heather this week:
    Friday 3/26: Absolute 934 and 1/2 Moon 945
    Saturday 3/27: A-zone 940
    Sunday 3/28: Twilight 855 (upper mountain closed)
    Monday 3/29: closed
    Tuesday 3/30: closed
    Wednesday 3/31: twilight 930 and Silver 1030
    Thursday 4/1: A-zone 855
    Friday 4/2: Twilight 910 (as the weather deteriorated we closed gates for visibility and rapid reloading finally shutting the whole thing down at 1118 am)
    Saturday 4/3: closed

    We do everything that we can to get it open for our guests starting not only at 4am but planning and prepping materials the day before. There are many factors that go into determining whether we can open that terrain including but not limited to:
    >Amount of snow fall
    >Wind speed, direction and duration
    >Temperature
    >Forecasted weather and conditions
    >Visibility and the ability to see results
    >Where we see results and the type (Saturday - extremely poor visibility - significant debris in the main Heather gut at Twilight with evidence of airblast - significant concern about the Clark side and debris/airblast hitting the run out)
    >Access to routes (this morning the cats could not make it to the top of cascade so we had to try and access the upper routes via snow machine tows - we had very limited success)
    >Other than our remote delivery devices we can not conduct reduction efforts in the dark
    >Stability testing and evaluation
    >Hazard from above our permit area with no way to reduce that hazard
    >Slide activity in adjacent drainages (White River)
    >Employee safety
    >Guest safety

    Publishing the patrol phone number is not necessary. Our early morning snow reporters are very aware of guest interest in Heather and update our web page and Twitter feeds as information becomes available. Calling the patrol would only distract patrol and their efforts to get the mountain open.

  13. Derek

    April 16, 2010

    Great skiing in Heather and Clark Canyon the last two weeks. Was up on March 4th--good job to everyone in getting Heather open---the mountain was amazing that day.

    Just curious if you guys ever open up Super Bowl for hiking or plan to the rest of this season?

    Meadows: We'll continue to open Superbowl as conditions allow. It was open today - fairly early since we didn't need to wait for it to soften up due to overnight temps above freezing.

  14. KC

    April 19, 2010

    I have always wanted to hike up Superbowl. I ski the rest of Heather, PR, etc. How does it work up Superbowl? Just hike up and ski down? Do you have to go with patrol?

    Meadows: Beacon, shovel, probe and partner required to hike, when the bowl is open.

  15. Ethan

    September 19, 2010

    how long does it take to hike the superbowl?

    Meadows: It's an additional 1700 vertical so depending on your conditioning and how well the road or trail is packed it could take 30 minutes or more. We require peeps, probe, shovel and a buddy when hiking Superbowl. Time to hit the stairmaster!

  16. pdxmeier

    October 24, 2010

    It has to be Silver Bowl for me. I've just had too many perfect moments there over the last few years. I'm a very big fan of Moon Bowl too. Especially on those top-closed-Shooting Star-lap days.

    But there are LOADS of great doubles here.

    It really helps to pay attention to conditions to work out the best aspect for the day...or hour. If you're not sure, ask patrol up at the top of Cascade - they do a pretty good job of pointing one in the right direction.

  17. robert

    January 17, 2012

    I have not skiied/rode Meadows in awhile. Was gonna buy a spring pass last season, but u guys delayed sale, and then that big avy closed Heather..... Not sure if Heather ever opened again? After awhile I gave up.

    Has Heather or P.R. opened yet this season? Any new news about the spring pass this season? I know some people that had all year passes wanted it delayed or not sold at all last season. Funny, If I had an all year pass, I'de probably be there right now! Scoring some fairly deep pow.... Any idea when the spring pass might go on sale this season? And how much it might cost? Is there a discount for buying all season weekday or everyday passes if one buys early in the season or before the season begins? Thanks

    Meadows: As of today avalanche hazard prevents our snowcats from accessing the Canyon. But as soon as possible we'll get in there and build the bridges over the creeks which is necessary before we can open the Canyon or parts of PR.
    We haven't set dates for the Spring pass but it generally is valid by the middle of March - a great deal considering the length of our season. We'll announce our spring pass pricing and details on our web site.

  18. phil

    December 10, 2012

    just out of curiosity, any idea on what the average angle of descent for the heather bowls are? it's been bugging me for awhile, i can't imagine any go past 40 degrees.

    Meadows: The Canyon varies in steepness, but is largely 60 - 90%. For reference, Memorial Bowl is 61% or 31 degrees.

  19. ilovemeadows

    January 21, 2013

    I just skied Meadows yesterday. I went down almost all of the black diamonds. R the double blacks a little bit harder than the blacks? Which double black should i start with?

    Meadows: Generally Double Blacks are more advanced than black diamonds. It can change with conditions though - best to check in with our ski school the next day you're up to talk about your skill level and what the conditions are.

  20. klow5

    April 25, 2013

    i think that maybe you should expand expert skiing into newton canyon i've see that terrain and it is prefect expert terrain.

    Meadows: That extends beyond our permit area. So for now it is enjoyed by qualified or experienced back country enthusiasts.

  21. klow5

    June 24, 2013

    dear meadows i believe that you should install a high speed quad chairlift from the top of the heather chairlift to a zone. i say this because i enjoy skiing the canyon and i hate how it takes me at least 18 minutes to get back to the top of heather. i have read other requests to do this so therefore i believe that this should happen. i understand that that you have a priority list and that this is on it, if possible could you post it?
    also if it,s lower on the list than i believe that you should make it higher on the list. could you try to get this accomplished in the next few seasons? if you do i believe that your guest satisfaction will only improve.

    Meadows: Thanks for the suggestion. That would be a popular lift for sure. We have other lift projects in mind, including upgrading our Buttercup lift to better accommodate those learning the sport. There is a lift alignment being considered similar to what you suggest serving the north side, but realistically that would be many years in the future.

  22. john

    December 2, 2013

    How exactly are u thinking of upgrading buttercup chair lift?

    Meadows: There would be a slight realignment to take better advantage of T-Bar hill. We would upgrade from a double to a fixed grip quad (no need for high speed with such a short span). This will help open up more hill space and provide more uphill capacity for our beginners - reducing the time spent in cue at the bottom of the lift.

  23. Tyler

    December 3, 2013

    Please reply to all comments and questions asked or i will write bad reports on my blog on your guys customer service

    Meadows: OK.

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