Meadows Blog

NYE Just for Kicks Rail Jam

Coming up to Meadows for New Year's Eve? Stop by Shipyard - we're having a just for kicks rail jam. No judging, just for fun. Music and swag. Get a NYE neon necklace. Wear a helmet. See you at Meadows!


NYE Rail Jam

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 trough...giving us cool, wet weather.  This year, the trough has been farther east than normal...giving 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.

Meadows After Dark Rail Jam Big Hit

Rail Jam SeriesThe first jam of the Meadows After Dark Rail Series was a huge hit Saturday evening. Close to 70 freestylers - snowboarders and skiers, registered for the jam. One hour sessions were held, broken down for women, for intermediate men and for advanced men. Calm winds and clear skies presented the perfect weather - parks crew maintained the features perfectly and a constant vibe from DJ Adam set the tone for a fun night of riding.

The big draw besides free registration and hot chocolate from Swiss Miss was the prize packages from Trew, Grenade, Never Summer and Icelantic. First place men in the advanced and women received Never Summer snowboards or Icelantic skis, respectively.

Results:

Girls Snowboard
1 Lauren Corosvse
2 Tasha Maier
3 Amelia Servin

Girls Ski
1 Kristie Beanery
2 Carrie Sidewell

Intermediate Boys Snowboarding
1 Jeremy Nylund
2 Connor Goodwille
3 Evan Andrews

Intermediate Boys Ski
1 Will Geller
2 Trey Roeseler
3 Veta Boersma

Advanced Men Snowboarding
1 Robbie Welsh
2 Jason Mayo
3 Jeff Hopkins

Advanced Men Ski
1 Joey Van da mer
2 Sean Lund
3 Kevin Lund

Here's a link to a slide show - we'll be posting more including a video from mComm's Pierce. More photos will be available at GrantMyrdal.com

The next event in the Meadows After Dark Rail Jam series is January 28.


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!

 

The Holiday is Loaded with Events, Clinics and Fun for the Whole Family

MT. HOOD, OR (Immediate Release) – Mt. Hood Meadows Ski Resort is ready to celebrate the holiday season with events, ski school clinics and camps. Lifts are scheduled to operate daily beginning at 9 AM, including Christmas and New Year’s Days and there will be extended night operations during Christmas week. It culminates with a New Year’s Eve spectacular, exquisite dinner, fireworks and a party with “The Essentials” the top rated dance party band on the west coast!

Here's a video from last season to put you in the holiday mood!

Mt. Hood Meadows Ski Resort is scheduled to operate daily with lifts opening at 9 AM each day during the holiday season, and through the end of April.

MEADOWS AFTER DARK evening operations are normally offered Wednesday through Sunday evenings until 9 PM. From December 21 - January 1 Meadows will operate lifts until 9 PM, except New Year’s Eve lifts operate until after midnight, not closing until 12:15 AM.

TWILIGHT KIDS CLUB is offered Saturday and Sunday evenings beginning December 17. During the holiday the club will be offered each evening from December 21 through January 1, with the exception of Christmas Eve (Saturday, December 24.) This provides 4 to 12 year olds supervision from 3 – 7 PM, with a 2 hour lesson in between plus dinner and a lift ticket. The price is just $75 for ages 7 – 12, $80 for ages 4 - 6 – and Mom or Dad gets a 3 – 9 PM Meadows After Dark ticket for free!

PARK & RIDE SHUTTLE FROM PORTLAND RUNS DAILY December 17 – January 1, except Christmas Day (12/25). The shuttle picks up at three convenient metro-area locations. Bus seats must be purchased in advance through the resort’s web site SkiHood.com.

NEW GOVERNMENT CAMP SHUTTLE RUNS DAILY December 17 – January 1
Destination guests staying in Government Camp can hop the shuttle to Meadows for just $12 round trip, leaving Government Camp at 7:30 AM and department from the mountain at 2:30 PM.

NORDIC CENTER OPEN DAILY 9 AM – 4 PM from December 15 – January 1.

MT. HOOD MEADOWS HOLIDAY EVENTS CALENDAR

Dec. 17: Meadows After Dark Rail Jam Series
3 – 8 PM in Shipyard – Free registration with divisions for lower and upper level skiers and snowboarders. Helmet required (and parental release if under 18.) Awesome prizes from sponsors Nike, Never Summer, Icelantic and Trew.

Dec. 17: Steeps Clinic
For advanced and expert skiers and riders to improve your ability to ski steep ungroomed terrain taught by our most certified and strongest pros.

Dec. 17: Les Vaughn Performs Live @ Après Ski in Vertical 3-6 PM
Les brings country standards, oldies, and rock and roll to the forefront and performs them in a way that is in fact, "original" and in his own style.

Dec. 18: NW Ski & Snowboard Demo Tour
Free demo to test and ride the latest ski and snowboard technology. ID / Credit card required – come early, these demos go fast!

Dec. 18: Women’s Clinic
For women and taught by our most certified and experience female instructors in a fun and supportive environment. Available for intermediate and above skiers and riders.

Dec. 19-21: 3 Day Holiday Kids Camp
Designed for youth from ages 6 - 12, we team up the kids with others their same age and ability with four hours of on the snow instruction from a certified pro each day. Supervision is provided all day and lunch is included. Make reservations @ 503.337.2222 x1419.

Dec. 19-21: 3 Day Freestyle Camp
For those wanting to learn freestyle technique of intermediate or more advanced ability. Make reservations @ 503.337.2222 x1419.

Dec. 19-21: Adult 3 Day Holiday Camp

Join our Ski & Snowboard School for 3 straight days of coaching from the same instructor with the same group each day. Groups will be divided based on Skiing / Riding ability and desired speed. Topics include Steeps and Cruising the groomed.

Dec. 19-21:1st Time Adult 3 Day Holiday Camp

Make this the year you become a skier or snowboarder with our 3 day Adult Holiday Camp for first timers. This package includes 3 days of lift (buttercup only the first two days), Lesson & Rental. Lessons will be 4 hours each day from 10am - 12pm & 1pm - 3pm. Make great progress skiing or riding with the same instructor in the same group for 3 straight days.

Dec. 23: Jack Quinby Holiday Brass Band
Your traditional favorites performed by this brass ensemble.

Dec. 24-25: Ski with Santa
Santa’s revving up for his big night so here’s your chance to give him your last-minute Christmas list.

Dec. 30: Tony Smiley Performs Live at Après Ski

Tony Smiley “looping extraordinaire” will perform from 3-6 PM in Vertical

Dec. 31: New Year's Eve Celebration presented by Widmer Brothers Brewing
Mt. Hood Meadows celebrates New Year's Eve with a fireworks display, spectacular buffet dinner and party featuring “The Essentials” – the top rated dance band on the west coast! We'll run the lifts until Midnight to allow revelers to ski or ride in the New Year. A fireworks display will be launched at 10:15 PM. The dinner has three seatings (5-6; 6:30-7:30 and 8-9) and “The Essentials” will perform from 8 PM - 12:15 AM! A live DJ will entertain between band sets leading up to a balloon drop and champagne toast at midnight.
Brrring in the New Year at Mt. Hood Meadows - presented by Widmer Brothers Brewing and Brrr Seasonal Ale. Adult party buses scheduled from the Monarch Hotel in Clackamas.
Purchase tickets, dinners, party and bus seats online in advance at SkiHood.com.

Jan. 1: College Bowl Games on the Big Screen TVs at the Vertical Restaurant and Sports Bar.

Weekend Programs Update

Our Decembers 16th deadline for receiving a $50 discount on January multi-week program lesson is fast approaching. Weekend programs are unique products which offer the opportunity to come to the mountain 4 consecutive Saturdays or Sundays in January or February. For those taking lessons you will have the same instructor and the same group for 4 consecutive weeks which allows participants to build on the improvements they have made in the previous week each time out.
Multi-Week programs are discounted significantly from our daily products and offer optional bussing for participants. We offer programs for a wide range of ages and abilities Sno-Blasters(Elementary School), Trailblazer(Middle School) & Adult/High School Programs. Below is some additional information on our Sno-Blaster & Trailblazer programs but you can head over to the Weekly Group Coaching section of our website for more information on all our programs: http://www.skihood.com/Lessons/Weekly-Group-Coaching-Sessions-Bussing.

SNOBLASTERS

Our Sno-Blaster Program for Elementary School age kids is an all-day supervised program with exclusive space in our lodge. Kids ski with their instructor from 10am – 12pm & 1pm – 3pm each day and are supervised indoors before and after the lesson and at lunch. Groups are divided based on participant ability level and we have classes ranging in ability level for those skiing/riding our most difficult terrain to kids who are trying skiing or snowboarding for the first time.

This season we remodeled our Sno-Blaster room bringing in brand new tables that take our seating capacity from 180 to 280, plumbed in water, installed a hot chocolate machine, created more shelving for participants to store their gear and our new Stadium Express Chair is just a few feet from our Sno-Blaster Corral giving participants easy access to whole mountain.

Sno-Blasters who sign up for both January and February sessions receive a free season pass. Get more information here.

TRAILBLAZERS

Trailblazers is our program designed for Middle School Age kids and combines two or four hour lessons with free time for participants to explore on their own. As with other programs Trailblazer are in the same group with the same instructor for 4 consecutive weeks allowing for each week to build on the previous week.

Our lesson offering for Trailblazers include New Adventure(First Time), Cruising the Groom(Green - Beginner), Exploring the Mountain(Blue - Intermediate), All Mountain Freeride (Black – Advanced/Expert) and Freestyle (Black- Advanced/Expert). Check our more information on our Trailblazer Program here.

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

Meadows is a Rare Gem!

I would like to reiterate how much Mt. Hood Meadows means to me and my family.  I am 46, grew up in New England, and have skied all over US, Canada and Europe. Based upon this experience I think Mount Hood Meadows is a rare gem in that it has such extraordinary diversity of terrain and conditions and is also so well run as a ski area.  Like many other families around this area my three kids have basically grown up with Meadows as their playground, and as a family we cherish the happy memories that we have from skiing there over the years.  Through good times and bad Meadows has been a place of great comfort and joy to us and every year when we see the parking lot attendants waiting as we swing into the main lot for the first time there is a palpable sense amongst all us of "coming home" to the mountain.  I hope all of you at Meadows are proud of where you work and what you do because you have provided such a great experience to all of us in the skiing and riding community for many years.  I can only hope that this service will continue for many more seasons to come.

In summary and with highest regards,

Keep up the good work!

-- Edward

Kudos to Ski Patrol

Kudos to Ski Patrol at Mt. Hood MeadowsFor many a Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday, my kids and I have enjoyed the relative quiet of the resort on a holiday morning.  What great family time together, and a great way to work up that appetite for the holiday meal.  This last Thanksgiving ended a bit different, however, as I took a bone shattering fall, and had my "Thanksgiving meal" in the hospital.  Now I don't suppose you want too many injury stories flooding your Blog, but this is not a story about injury, but one of praise for your Ski Patrol!

I was thankful to have received the expert on the slope care by Billy.  I work in healthcare, and supervise a large staff of professionals.  I was quick to recognize Billy's excellent skills, and critical thinking, and I knew I was in good hands and could relax.  While caring for me, he was ever alert to the environment, and ongoing dangers and took control to close the run, until I could safely be removed.  He calmly gave orders to others in my group, and generally organized a very safe rescue.
I have to say, I was a bit anxious about the sled ride out, with early season conditions, and rocks abounding.  My second KUDO goes to Gavin, who knows your mountain as well as home, and did an excellent job of providing me with a very comfortable transport to the clinic!

There were many opportunities for my rescue to be challenging, and I am so very grateful for the excellent, professional team you employ!  The majority of your guests will never need such services, but should be aware of the excellence that is there should the need arrive.  Thank you Gavin and Billy !!!!!!

-- Marcia

Nordic Center Opens For Season

The Nordic Center at Mt. Hood Meadows opens for the season today. There will be 3 KM of groomed and set track for classic and skating style cross country skiing. More trails will be added as the Nordic Center receives more snow.

The first race in the Mt. Hood Nordic Series – a 5K skate will be held Saturday. Registration begins at 9 AM – just $10 to enter – and the event starts at 11 AM.

The Nordic Center is located adjacent to the resort’s Hood River Meadows (HRM) parking lot. It is a full service Nordic Center, offering equipment rentals, clinics and lessons. The center will be open 9 AM – 4 PM Friday – Sunday, and is scheduled to operate next week Thursday – Sunday, and then daily from December 15 – January 2 for the Christmas holiday, depending on snow conditions.

For a complete operational schedule, track fees and pricing, visit our Nordic Center page.