Meadows Blog

Can September Snow Lead to an Early Opening?

Snow in September? It's not that uncommon - in fact we received our first snowfall on the mountain a few weeks ago. It was enough to turn things white at the top of Express and a little lower, but it melted off. Will this storm have more sticking power? It's unlikely that this will be the storm that we build a base out of and open with, but as freaky as weather has been world-wide, who knows?

The pictures below were taken Wednesday morning between snow showers. By 11 AM there was about 3 inches of snow settled on the ground on Buttercup.

September Snow at Mt. Hood Meadows Ski & Snowboard Resort

It certainly serves as a wake up call and we're on schedule to open early if the snow allows. George Taylor, former state climatologist, has already identified this season as having the potential to start early. The Farmer's Almanac seems to agree - predicting above average precip and below average temperatures in November, December and January.

Winter temperatures and precipitation will be near normal, on average, with above-normal snowfall. The coldest periods will occur in early to mid- and late December, mid-January, and early to mid-February, with the snowiest periods in mid-December, early January, and mid-February.

That's sizing up to be a pretty good forecast for winter recreation. An early opening with lots of snow makes for a great season for everyone! And a reminder - the earliest opening on record at Meadows was October 20th - and we've been open on Halloween more than once in our 42 year history!

September Snow at Mt. Hood Meadows Ski & Snowboard Resort

See you on the mountain - soon!


  1. Colin

    September 29, 2009


  2. Mark W

    September 30, 2009

    Nice upgrade on the conditions page, the web sight is looking good.

    I'm was very happy to take the spring time re-up discount and have my pass come in the mail. Another great idea.
    My pictures get worse every year anyway.

    >>Thx Mark. It's probably our cameras =0} See you on the mountain soon!
    Meadows Team

  3. John

    September 30, 2009

    Indeed, great news.

    I already got my pass and am eagerly awaiting the season start.

    Also curious what new improvements they have to the badge scanning system as it was pretty broken last year which caused lift lines to be be longer and a generally more frustrating experience for riders and lifties than years past.

    Meadows reply:
    Scanning presented challenges for us last season and we've used the lessons we learned to make improvements for this season. We're changing the lift ticket and season pass design with a bigger bar code on a different material without any background imaging printed behind the scan. We've also upgraded the programs on the scanners themselves which now features tech support allowing our IT staff to VPN right into a scanner if it is not scanning properly. We've also put together more effective training programs for our staff, and we're looking at some different lift maze configurations aimed at making scanning more efficient.
    Guests can assist in the scanning process:
    - Have your lift ticket or pass out and present to the attendant.
    - Attach single day tickets to your belt loop, or if you're going to wear your jacket all day, to a lower pocket. This is a handy place for scanning.
    - Attach your season pass in the same locations, or if you're wearing it on a lanyard, pull it out prior to getting to the front of the line and present it to the ticket attendent.
    - Don't place your season pass in a plastic pouch - that interferes with the scanning and can lead to misreads.
    Thanks for the post and hopefully we'll be scanning soon!

    --Meadows Team

  4. ryan

    October 1, 2009

    i am curious if meadows is going to set up any new parks this year, because last year i was very disappointed with the parks. i love park place, and it was never there.

    Meadows reply:
    We are on a mission this season - Park Placed was missed last season and we don't want that to happen again. That's why we've been stump grinding on that trail this summer so we can build features with less snowpack. Park Place is a priority - our groomers and our crew have been listening and are stoked about getting it open as early as possible.

  5. Jeff

    October 1, 2009

    Very happy to see the early snow, I can remember one year skiing before Halloween with more than 50" on the ground, keep those fingers crossed.
    I'm sorry to hear about you not recommending the use of arm bands with plastic windows, they come in very handy and are very easy to use, for us skiers anyway. I just really hate having my pass flapping around in the breeze plus the possibilty of losing it are far greater, I think I found 4 or 5 season passes on the ground last year.

    Meadows reply:
    Unfortunately the plastic sleeves interferes with the scanning. We have been testing some that you can afix the pass to so it won't shift, and then cut out the plastic where the bar code is. But that pass really has to be secure in order for that to work.

  6. Zack

    October 1, 2009

    I cant wait for this season to begin, I know that it is gonna be a great one!!
    One question for you though, If I go out and buy a jacket with a pass holder are you saying that I cant put my pass in it? That seems a little rediculous. Doesnt it?

    Meadows reply:
    Unfortunately the plastic interferes with the scanning which delivers misreads or faulty scans. Sometimes the plastic is too shiney. Sometimes it clouds up with use, or gets a lot of scratches on it. So we recommend not placing the pass behind plastic.

  7. jack

    October 1, 2009

    Uler!!!!!!!!!!! I command you to snow!!!!!

  8. JonO

    October 1, 2009

    We cant put our stinkin' badges in plastic pouches? This seems like a recipe for many lost passes. Maybe a self-scanner system setup at the entry gates, put some green and red lights on top and one person on per green light. Simple, cant be very expensive and it relieves the workers to do some line and crowd control. My biggest beef with the system is they are constantly scanning and not making sure the lines are flowing right. I do NOT blame the attendants, as you , and everyone, knows the system is broken. I have had a season pass for many years and support Meadows as the best place to be on the mountain. I hope the improvements make things run like a well-oiled machine. I also hope that if it's not working that Meadows management is willing to step up and make changes during the season.

    Thanks for the blog, a place where we can talk back and forth, makes me feel like I can be heard.


    Meadows reply:
    Great points Jon. We're doing this advance education now in order to make scanning more efficient. The system you envision is where we hope to be next season - gated access using RF cards instead of a bar code scan. This system allows the pass to be carried on a sleeve pouch or inside jacket pocket. The card sends an RF signal which is picked up by a reader and opens the gate. If we have a good season this year we plan to install that system next summer.
    Come on Snow!!

  9. Andrew

    October 2, 2009

    I had my pass attached to the bottom of my coat all last year with a key ring and it never fell off. If you have a worry that your pass will fall off then just attach it well. I'm excited for the upcoming season and I'm not going to let issues like this ruin it.

  10. Steve

    October 2, 2009

    Come on snow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. jj

    October 5, 2009

    First off, thanks for the new website - very much improved from last year, especially the blog.

    Now a question: in some of the earlier posts in this thread, the posters mentioned that their pass was mailed them. I purchased mine last spring and would like to take the mail option - how does that work?


    Meadows reply:
    Thanks for the question JJ. In August we sent an email out to everyone that we had purchased a pass last spring, who also had a photo on file and a valid email address. It is possible that your spam filter could have intercepted the message, or that your email service domain could have blocked email.
    We'll email you the form so you can send it in ASAP.


  12. Scott

    October 8, 2009

    It's interesting we turn to Farmers almanac when the climate prediction center is not favorable. We are looking at El Nino this year.

    Personally, because I want the season to be good, I call it voodoo science. When La Nina occurs, throw out the Voodoo science name, and call it an exact science! You seem to share my approach.

    Come on farmers almanac!!! Come on snow!!!

    Meadows reply:
    Thanks Scott. Right now it looks like we're shifting from last season's La Nina into a weak El Nino. We have history that supports great snow year's regardless - the most snow we received was during the La Nina year and the second most snow was during an El Nino. Either way bring on the snow!

  13. Snowolf

    October 14, 2009

    Any plans on going to an RF chip pass system? Alyeska is using it and it is awesome. You can keep your pass in your pocket and the scanner will read it via RF and open the gate in the lift line. The system is great for moving people onto the lifts and never needing to fumble for your pass.

    Meadows reply:
    Our plan is to install RF gated access next summer for the 2010/11 season, if we have a good season this year. Come on snow!

  14. oscar

    October 14, 2009


    Can any one let me know if ski rydes will be open in November, I am planing to go Nov 11-13

    Meadows reply:
    It all depends on the snow. If we have enough snow we will be open.


  15. Jerry

    October 21, 2009

    Mildly unrelated to the lead topic but I see the questions regarding the passes in the plastic holders. I have broken two passes in half, loosing the bottom bar code area both times. Now if you have both pieces of the pass, as you would if it was in a plastic sleeve, you could just return the two halves for a new pass. But if you only have half your pass (like me) you get charged for a new one. To me the plastic pass holders could be the quickest way to move the lines and keep the passes themselves in tact. No more unzipping pulling out lanyards or taking off gloves. What are you doing to get to this point in making your system compatible with plastic cases? ie. Mt. Bachelor. In my opinion, meadows has a long way to go in customer satisfaction. "Less bottom line, more fresh lines!"

    Meadows reply:
    Thanks Jerry. All good points. Scanning has been an area (the area?) of focus for us between seasons and we're confident the system will be improved when deployed this season. We are working with vendors to design their plastic pouches to work with the scanning system - this isn't just a Meadows issue. And, with a good season of snow, by 2010/11 it shouldn't be an issue at all with RF scanning gated access! Come on snow!

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