This has been a frustrating season for many of our guests due to several days where our parking lots reached capacity. We understand how disappointing it is to travel all the way to Meadows, only to be turned away because we have no more space for vehicles.
The purpose of this blog is to seek solutions – thinking outside the box (literally) to discover and further explore opportunities. We want to use this forum to discuss and share creative new ideas for carpooling, parking lot management, shuttling and other concepts that will reduce the number of vehicles needing to be parked, but still provide access to everyone wanting to recreate on these peak days.
First we’d like to share some information about what is making this season seemingly worse than other seasons regarding reaching capacity in our parking lots.
- This season, our winter has really occurred in just the past four weeks. In prior seasons, our weather and guest visits have been more spread out. The lack of snow (especially epic powder days) in December has created pent up demand which explodes on the powder days we’ve experienced in January and February.
- Nearly all the days we reached parking capacity coincided with storms delivering substantial snow and powder conditions on a major holiday weekend; when the weather conditions on one of the weekend days was far superior to the other. In many cases the other Mt. Hood resorts and other resorts throughout the Northwest also exceeded parking capacity on those days.
- While season pass holders are affected – this issue isn’t caused by the number of passes sold. Even on our busiest parked out days, pass holder visits are usually less than 50% of the skier visits that day.
- Because our lots are part of the Sno-Park system, we are required by ODOT and USFS to manage them on a first come first serve basis. Our crews do an awesome job of parking cars in our lots, shuttling guests from one place to another, making sure vehicles have current Sno-Park Permits, and doing all they can under very tough circumstances to provide guest service. In addition to managing our parking lots at full capacity, we also have to keep ingress and egress lanes open to allow for emergency response vehicles for those urgent situations.
- Mt. Hood Meadows is not allowed to encourage parking, or shuttle from other Sno-Parks such as Tea Cup, Bennett Pass or White River. There are other snow sports enthusiasts who use these parking lots for cross country skiing, snowmobiling and snowshoeing. We respect the use of these lots for such activities.
- We have been working closely with the USFS on a parking expansion project. Our application will take at least one more year for a decision from USFS. Such expansion would, however, be only one element to a multi-phased implementation of several public/private transportation partnership elements including but not limited to new park and ride facilities, bus transit, signalized "peak shaving" right of way systems, carpooling, and pricing schemes.
We realize that there is no single “silver bullet” to fully resolve the parking and broader transportation issues on Mt. Hood and at Mt. Hood Meadows. It is going to take several, smaller (yet achievable) initiatives, whose sum total results in providing access to all on these peak days.
As they say, if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem. So let’s talk about what we can do together to solve this issue of peak day parking.