Meadows Blog

Peak Day Parking - In Search of Solutions

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.  

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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. 
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

59 Comments

  1. Bob

    March 9, 2012

    I think the bigger issue that must be considered in combination with expanded parking is uphill lift capacity. When the lots are full, the lift lines are already way too long. Packing more people on the hill will only make that situation worse. You can't simply bring more skiers to the mountain without giving them somewhere to go. Unless they can be expanded hand-in-hand, another couple hundred people in line won't make Meadows a better experience.

    Meadows: Days following big storms requiring storm recovery, or powder days when visibility or winds hinder upper lift operation can create longer lines. On those days we see a lot of our guests spend more time in the lodges warming up between runs. But when the upper lifts are operating (especially when the Canyon is open) excessive lift lines usually isn't an issue.

  2. Robert Huffman

    March 9, 2012

    You say you are pursuing more parking. Having been to Meadows on a couple of those peak days this year, I can say that the on-slope experience on such days is already low enough without adding more people. On \storm days, you cannot open Cascade or Heather, and usually not Vista either, so the remaining lift lines are pretty long.

    Meadows: Almost all of our powder days fell on holiday weekends this year adding to the problem. We also see a lot of people leaving relatively early on those days, opening up parking spaces usually by noon for later arrivals to fill.

  3. Darren Gilroy

    March 9, 2012

    Given my experience over the last 4 years (~ 20 days/yr), maximum parking capacity pretty much matches maximum hill capacity.

    You can get away with more people if Heather & Cascade are open but that doesn't often coincide with a full lot. It's the storms that bring 'em.

    We've had a bit of a perfect storm (excuse the pun) of factors this season to make parking appear a top issue, and I'm sure that you've had a few really really upset families who drug their kids from Salem to get to the mountain at 10:30, only to be turned away. I can empathize, but just giving them a place to park without a place to ski.... I don't know.

    Still, you can take this with a grain of salt -- lines at big Front Range resorts of often a lot longer than we are used to.

    Meadows: Good points. What does everyone else think?

  4. Srikanth

    March 9, 2012

    It would be nice if you can post parking lot status on web site. People can check on their way to Meadows and make different plans...

    I am against another parking lot. Enough of deforestation.

    Meadows: Good communication is important. The parking lot status is on our conditions page, and we also "tweet" status changes on our twitter feed: @mthoodmeadows The highway signs help as well.

  5. Larry

    March 10, 2012

    Not only are the lifts full, but so are the slopes, so more lifts won't help either.

    Meadows: And yet, the people still turn out on those peak days. Let's talk about that - we're looking for suggestions on the best way to manage parking on peak days, assuming we have lift and slope capacity. Suggestions?

  6. Harrison

    March 10, 2012

    Dear Mount Hood Meadows,

    We need to improve the shuttle buses. They need to be low floor and no stairs so that us skiers can get our equipment on and off the bus easier. Hope you're doing well.

    Meadows: New shuttle bus design for faster loading and unloading. Good suggestion!

  7. chris

    March 10, 2012

    I agree with the earlier comments. Increasing the parking capacity without increasing the capacity of the lifts and lodge will result in an overcrowded unpleasant experience for all.
    I would suggest raising the peak day pricing and lowering the price of the midweek tickets/passes to reduce the overcrowding on the holiday weekends.
    If the midweek pass were significantly cheaper than the unlimited, I'm sure a lot of passholders with the flexibility to ski midweek would avoid the weekends altogether.
    Another option would be to add blackout dates so that a discounted "unlimited" pass could not be used on the peak holiday weekends.

    Meadows: Peak day pricing with black out dates with off-peak incentive pricing. Great suggestion! Let's keep the ideas rolling!

  8. k2skier

    March 11, 2012

    How about some deal to get them over to Cooper Spur for the day or short time when your lots close? They'd at least get some slope time.

    For more parking to not congest the base area, I'd hope the Daisy lift will be upgraded first, with more guests and limited HSQ's out of the base area this is a bad guest experience just waiting to happen.

    Meadows: Send over to Cooper Spur - even if only for a few runs until parking spots become available at Meadows, which usually happens between noon and 1 PM or so. Great suggestion! More uphill transport from the base area to alleviate congestion. We certainly saw an improvement this year with the Stadium Express. Thanks!

  9. Tim & Lisa

    March 11, 2012

    The parking situation is the parking situation. I agree with previous posts that we DO NOT NEED MORE PEOPLE ON THE HILL. You could however make a bit better experience by allowing more cars into the main lot. The bus parking area in the main lot takes away a lot of car parking space. Why not have the bus drivers drop off guests, and then park in the sunrise lot? They can pass back through for guest pickups at the end of shift.
    We get to the mountain by 8 am most weekend days and park well back- usually past the gas pumps. Car parking does not even start till back at the Clinic.
    The idea one person posted of blackout days for pass holders to allow more nonpass holders to ski would only result in people choosing not to get season passes. Hardly fair to penalize us for supporting Meadow year in and year out- both good and bad snow years. We take the gamble on Meadows and sometimes we win and sometimes we don't, but we are there.

    Meadows: Thanks for the post. We have considered the drop off and park the buses elsewhere, but the need to bring 20 - 30 buses back up for one common departure time presents a whole new set of issues. We are considering them all, however.

  10. Chris

    March 11, 2012

    I like that you sell out. Limits the number of people on the slopes. Let's face it, MHM is not a large resort. It is a small mountain that can safely accommodate only so many people (especially on storm days when half the mountain is open). The solution is NOT to create more parking, it is to tell those who want to ride on peak days to get their lazy butts to the mountain sooner. If you open up more terrain and add more lifts, then maybe it would be time to consider adding more parking. Until then, adding more parking will only ruin the experience for all. Please do not add more parking.

    Meadows: Thanks for the post.

  11. Ferris

    March 11, 2012

    I was one of the lucky season pass holders who drove all the way up to the mountain only to be turned away. However while they turned me away due to parking capacity, they let a pass holder in who paid. "$2000" for a season pass with preferred parking. So my "$500 pass" means nothing? And now I'm out $40 in gas as well, plus a wasted day. It's REALLY bad business to turn away customers AFTER you've taken their money. I paid to ski upfront, that is a service you NEED to oblige whether I pay $2000 or $500 season pass holders should ALWAYS be let in!

    Meadows: Thanks for the post.

  12. Pat

    March 11, 2012

    Simple solution: Mid-Week Pass w/blackout dates=$350, Unlimited Pass w/blackout dates=$450, Unlimited Pass no blackout dates=$550. In addition, peak single-day ticket pricing (Christmas week, MLK Weekend, etc).

    Meadows: Thanks for the suggestions.

  13. Pete

    March 11, 2012

    I think the slopes are too crowded even when it isn't a perfect bluebird day (because your terrain is just that good). The lifts just can't handle that many people. The first thing you should do is increase the chair density on your lifts (especially on HRM and Star) to decrease the lift lines. Then you can start adding more lots.

    Meadows: Thanks for the suggestions.

  14. Dave Santos

    March 12, 2012

    1. Allow premium parking passes to be sold individually at a better pricepoint. Platinum Pass holders get a reserved parking spot, but the overall price is a little steep and not worth the cost for most skiers. It probably works for the ultra-wealthy, or for folks who need them (ski-team) but paying over $2000 for a ski pass and parking spot (and Cooper Spur and a locker, big deal) is beyond the reach of a great deal of skiers who would probably be more than willing to pay $500 for a season premium parking pass alone. This would also help to promote car-pooling. If my friend had a front row parking pass, I'd be kicking him gas money every Saturday!

    Meadows: Thanks for the suggestions.

    2. Shuttle from Cooper Spur?

    3. Re-organize the way busses park. It takes up a lot of space. Is there somewhere else the busses can stage until they are needed?

    4.a. Echoing the major statement from everyone, you pack in skiers to sell more tickets and make more money, Business 101. Eventually, the on-hill experience is degraded and customers don't want to return. The lodge is already beyond capacity and lift lines are pretty long when Cascade and Heather aren't running, which is EVERY STORM due to lift-op conditions and recovery time needed. Peak/off peak pricing is a good idea, but PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE no blackout dates. PLEASE DO NOT BECOME POWDR CORP!

    4.b. To address additional lift capacity, extending Daisy and extend the night skiing area to include it. This would serve in two ways. First, more night ski area would attract more night skiers, reducing peak day skiers. Second, a slightly extended Daisy would access GREAT terrain!. More access from Daisy would greatly reduce lines at MXH and Shooting Star on storm days.

    4.c. Enlarge/expand the Mazot and the foodservice area at HRM, or startup additional strategically placed "roach coaches" around the mountain. Take some load off of the lodge foodservice.

  15. Trayson

    March 12, 2012

    Well, I'm a passholder that comes up with my family on peak weekends because I work M-F like many, many of your guests do. First of all, people with the flexibility to go midweek already do so. The reason we're all there on a weekend is because that's when we can, plain and simple.

    One thing I've noticed this morning is that you're using a lot of your parking capacity for busses. That's fine to some extent, but I've been really confused on a couple occasions. There were two different Saturdays I remember when all the lots were full by 9:30 or 10am. On those mornings, we took the exit for the meadows road at 8:10am and ended up in the row at the end of the Skicat area where the RV parking starts under the bottom of buttercup. I was shocked to see ourselves that far back. However, as we walked to the lodge, we saw a large expanse where some busses were starting to park diagonally. Yeah, makes sense. Then we walked past the special reserved parking and saw another huge gap that was big enough to accomodate a 2nd string of busses between the reserved parking and the flags. I even asked a parking attendent what this huge space was for and he didn't have an answer for me. And I can tell you that it sat empty as no vehicles were there to fill it even by lunch time. This hasnt happened every time, but I distinctly remember it on two of the peak weekends you speak of.

    As far as the shuttle busses, forget it. I will get up earlier and avoid them like the plague. I've had a few experiences with them in the past, and NO THANKS. Knees against seat backs, trying to find room for my lunch, board and myself in a seat designed for an elementary school kid??? I remember waiting in line for 20+ minutes at sunrise while 2 or 3 busses filled up ahead of me before I could even get on to ours. By the time I dealt with the shuttle, 30 to 60 minutes of my prime ski time was gone.

    This season, our family started by leaving 15 minutes earlier than in past years. Then we left another 15 minutes earlier and cut out the stop at Joe's Donuts! LOL. It's hard getting up at 5:30am and finding ourselves awake and gearing up before you've even published your first ski report, but that's what we need to do to ensure a favorable experience. That said, with the parking lots filling, it actually enhances our experience on the slopes. When the lots close, we find that the slopes really aren't that crowded. Honestly, even on peak weekends, I rarely have had a wait of longer than 15 or even 20 minutes. I remember years past of waiting 45 to 60 minutes in lift line hell.

    Some other thoughts is that on peak weekends, you are most certainly having parking lot capacity taken up by race teams as well as snowblasters. I've observed that not everyone that's up for these events is actually skiing on the hill (or they're corralled over on middle fork or stadium doing race activities and don't affect my skiing experience). The lots are full, and the seating area by the Meadows Race room is FULLLLLL. But on the slopes, it's not horrible. Interesting.

    If you remember, one of those peak days was New Year's Eve. I have a friend that works at Ski Bowl and he was riding the chairs conducting guest surveys that day. He said there were a LOT of people that he talked to that ended up at ski bowl because the Meadows lots (and probably Tline I'm sure) were full. So, in a way, when you fill, some of your leftovers get offloaded to Skibowl! At least you're helping our your little brother ski resort in a way!

    Let's face it, Stadium is a great way to get over to HRM and Star and certainly allieviates the pressure on the MHX. It's a great tool, but it really doesn't open up any 'new' terrain and just helped with base lodge congestion. If you're skiing anywhere but the MHX, it really isn't going to add a lot of throughput IMO. Bottom line, Stadium helps MHX congestion, but then adds it to Star, Vista, and HRM.

    As family of weekend warrior passholders who have no other choice of times to visit, I'm not in favor of increasing parking capacity without increasing upload capacity that includes more terrain to spread the people out on... Yeah, your parking situation has been "interesting" this year, but I've had many, many conversations with guests that DID make the cutoff before the lots closed and we all agreed that the parking lots are an effective limiting factor for keeping queue times manageable.

    The idea of using cooper spur as a solution is intriguing though. Not sure if it'll be much of a dent though.

    Of course working in the business world has taught me that you are a FOR PROFIT business and are always looking to increase the bottom line. More parking = more ticket sales = more gross revenue. I get it. And I do give you the benefit of the doubt that you are hopefully trying to temper the profit motive with guest expereince. Because even if you could magically double your parking, it would just mean that everyone would get 1/2 as many runs. BOO. And the whole "many of our guests leave by 1pm" isn't an excuse to make the 9am to 1pm experience miserable for those of us that are there. We ALL know that for those of us that LIVE for Powder and off piste, that it's the quality of the runs on freshies, not the quantity of runs on tracked out chop. There's a reason why we leave early, because we've already skiied the best and it's not worth our time to ski things that are already tracked out.

    More parking = more lift lines = things tracked out way sooner. That does not sound like a winning recipe to me or anyone else that doesn't live for groomers.

    I am also VERY interested in this "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."

    I'm especially interested in knowing what you've got in mind for this "peak shaving, right of way, and carpooling schemes".

    Meadows: Excellent - thoughtful sharing of ideas. Thanks! The "peak shaving, right of way" would be a traffic system to redirect middle lane traffic at different times of the day. ie. uphill in the morning and downhill in the afternoon.

  16. DT

    March 12, 2012

    It would be good to make taking the buses more attractive. The greasebus is attractive at $15-$20/person, but they have limited capacity and schedule. The problem with the larger buses is that at approx $30/person its does not make sense for a family to take the buses since the cost gets quite high. If you are looking at a small family with 3 people the cost is $90 for each trip so it does not make financial sense. A family of 4 would be $120.

    Meadows: Thanks for the suggestion.

  17. Larry

    March 12, 2012

    Might have to sell tickets in advance (online, on the phone) etc.

    Better to sell parking tickets (would ODOT allow you to do this rather than a snow park pass, if not maybe plow the parking lot yourself), to encourage car pooling.

    Also have to consider people leaving and allowing others in later in the day, still other places manage this, just not ski areas , maybe because their capacity is greater, or long lift lines discourage large crowds to begin with . . .?

    And while people might still keep coming, crowded slopes mean more collisions , injuries etc.

    Meadows: Thanks for the suggestions. Currently, the Sno-Park system doesn't allow us to sell advance parking spaces.

  18. todd

    March 12, 2012

    I remember when you had incentives for carpooling...REALLY carpooling, like minimum 4 per rig. I know a lot of people already carpool with 2 or 3, but maybe a ride-share group on the site so people could build groups of 4 or 5 with a proper reward from MHM.

    Meadows: Thanks for the suggestion.

  19. josh

    March 12, 2012

    Open at 8am like the old days. Offer ''early bird parking'' for those of us that can ''get ours'' within a 2-3hr period. Lets face it not all of us are looking for ''the meadows experience''

    Meadows: Flex hours on peak days. For clarification, the 8 AM opening was limited to Mt. Hood Express, but our current grooming policies require us to have all groomers off the mountain before giving lift clearance. Particularly on severe weather days it's difficult to get that early clearance consistently. Thanks for the suggestion.

  20. Ferris

    March 12, 2012

    I was one of the lucky season pass holders who drove all the way up to the mountain only to be turned away. However while they turned me away due to parking capacity, they let a pass holder in who paid. "$2000" for a season pass with preferred parking. So my "$500 pass" means nothing? And now I'm out $40 in gas as well, plus a wasted day. It's REALLY bad business to turn away customers AFTER you've taken their money. I paid to ski upfront, that is a service you NEED to oblige whether I pay $2000 or $500 season pass holders should ALWAYS be let in!

  21. Randy

    March 13, 2012

    I think adding lift capacity out of the base areas would help. But even with adding lift capacity, it's difficult to see how cramming more bodies onto the current terrain would be workable at all on days where Cascade, Vista, and Heather can't open. Is there any possibility of adding more in bounds area? What about the terrain further down below Vista, seems like you could get a lift in near the Sunset lot that could serve it. That would open things up, and make parking in the Sunset lot more appealing.

    Meadows: Thanks for the suggestion.

  22. SkiMom

    March 13, 2012

    How about establishing a free park-and-ride shuttle in Sandy? For weekend overflow you could probably make a deal with a school parking lot.

    Off-peak cheaper season passes get my thumbs up. How about an afternoon/night pass valid noon to close (if the lot typically opens up around noon)?

    Meadows: Thanks for the suggestions.

  23. Two Cents

    March 13, 2012

    I'll speak as a season pass holder who got turned away once this year at 9:20AM, and yes, it sucked. Here are my suggestions.

    * Please don't add more parking, the slopes are crowded enough and lift lines are over the top as is, the last thing the mountain needs are more people on it.

    * Peak day-pass pricing and tiered pricing for busier days and weekends. Occasional day trippers and holiday skiiers are used to paying higher rates for lift tickets anyway, and that's pretty standard practice at other mountains. Frankly, the season pass holders aren't the problem, they come and go regardless of the weather and conditions, rain or powder. 90% of passes you see in a lift line on the busy days are day passes, which by restort standards, are fairly cheap. I don't like the idea of raising lift prices, but I think some of the solution has to be economic to address the surge of casual riders who show up only on the busiest days of the year.

    * Keep Vista, Cascade, HRM, and Shooting Star open 1-2 hours longer, weather and daylight permitting. Having those runs close at 3PM and 4PM is nuts and it crowds out the other lifts, plus it forces everyone to try and get up to the mountain as early as possible to ride the best runs. Leaving more lifts open later in the day will reduce the urgency for everyone to arrive so early, and will help disperse people throughout the day.

    * Open an hour earlier at 8AM

    * Upgrade Daisy to a higher speed lift, taking it a little bit further up the mountain. Even on the busiest days, barely anyone rides Daisy because it's just too slow. The terrain it accesses is fine, but the lift is powered by oxen pulling dental floss from 1876 and nobody uses it as a result. A faster lift here would ease the burden on MHX, Vista, Easy Rider, and even Buttercup considerably.

    * Sunrise lift? I don't like environmental degradation or deforestation, but eventually having a lift and some terrain out of Sunrise would be a good idea. Ideally this would be done without increasing that parking lot size though, because again, there doesn't need to be more people on the mountain.

    Meadows: Thanks for the post.

  24. Dennis

    March 14, 2012

    On full days, please move your lot full sign closer to Portland. There are no turn arounds for miles after Timberline turnoff. This makes a aready bad day worse having to drive 5 miles to turnaround safely.

    Meadows: Great suggestions. Let's keep them coming!

  25. Talon

    March 14, 2012

    To encourage people to carpool, why not offer complimentary daily snow park permits to cars with 3 or more passengers. I saw many single occupant vehicles on the peak days. Also, utilize the Bennett pass lot and perhaps even the white river area for overflow with shuttle busses as needed. The schedules and statuses of these lots and current parking situations could be updated on the fly via smartphone or an app that guests could check as they are driving.

    Meadows: More carpooling would help for sure. We currently update our parking lot status on our conditions page which is smart phone capable, and send out tweets @mthoodmeadows

  26. CJTskis

    March 14, 2012

    On the one day that we missed the main lot by maybe five minutes it was exactly an hour from the time we pulled in to the time we got on the mountain- 45 minutes more than if you're in the main lot.

    You have to master the parking and shuttle system you have before you can consider adding more parking.

    The bus experience was awful: stand in line, wait, wait, cram on bus with all gear (why no racks for skis/boards?), cram a few more people on and then sardine-can ride to lodge. In retrospect it would have been quicker to walk.

    Try loading 3 or 4 buses at a time rather than just packing one full and sending it off before starting to load the next. The day we were there we stood in front of empty buses with drivers waiting.

    It hasn't happened to me but if I was turned away with a season pass I would never by another.

    Meadows: Thanks for the post.

  27. Travis

    March 14, 2012

    Build a new lodge and parking lot in the bottom of White River Canyon with a gondola running up to the bottom of Vista.

    I haven't really heard any ideas outside of the box yet, so here you go.

    Put the new lodge and lot on the Northeast side of the river so the inevitable slide isn't an issue. Right about where the pullout is for NF-48 but on the north side of 35. Run the gondola up to the bottom of Vista and do some selective thinning of the trees in between.

    This would add a sizable amount of terrain (if not double it) and have plenty of room for parking. Too spendy? Hardly. Portland has already demonstrated that there is more than enough demand. You just need more supply and this is one of the last pieces of terrain that you won't be steeping on too many toes by tapping into.

    Meadows: Out of box - maybe! Thanks for the suggestion.

  28. Farzin

    March 14, 2012

    Before all parking lots are full, the last 300 or so parking spaces should be alocated to carpools only with 3 or more per car. And, please post current updates at Government Camp.

    Meadows: Thanks!

  29. Eric

    March 14, 2012

    Mark off portions of the main and HRM lot for people that have at least 4 people in their cars. Incentivize carpooling by giving those that do so a separate area to park. You have to cut down on the wasted areas of bus parking too, they take up way too much space, especially when you consider most of those people aren't pass holders.

    I would also recommend changing the lift line organization to the way they do it at Bachelor. By having a gated system with electronic scanning, you eliminate the chaos of merging lines of 8 into 4 and having the lifting stumble around trying to scan each pass.

    Meadows: We are investigating carpool incentives further, although we currently are not allowed to offer preferential parking in a Sno-Park on USFS land even for carpooling.

  30. Portland Skier

    March 14, 2012

    A few points.

    1. Your shuttles buses do not compare to other resort buses where you can load your skis and boards outside the bus, and inside there is more room between seats. Meadows' buses are miserable.

    2. Your parking staff does not do well compared to other resorts. Rather than try for parking density, the 3+ attendants nearby seem to have no control on where the guests park their cars. I've noticed spacing in front and to the sides is far more than needed, and as a result, the filling of the lot is very inefficient. The worst experience was when they allowed a car to park close to the shuttle bus lane -- after waiting for a while to catch the bus, it ended up hitting that car, and 1 hour of skiing was lost. I noticed you fixed that the next week. Keep fixing problems, and soon the parking will be more efficient. You need to train the staff though and ask for feedback.

    3. This season I started looking on the web site before I left Portland and I even checked traffic cameras to see whether to drive through Government Camp or through Hood River. Can you put traffic cam links on your website to make it easy to figure out? Those tools help -- but after a 1.5 hour drive, they are out date. You might have a sign before Ski Bowl showing Meadows parking status -- so no need drive all the way to find out the bad news.

    Meadows: Maximize parking and better communication. Thanks!

  31. Robb

    March 14, 2012

    New parking sounds great. However, uphill capacity is the primary issue Not more parking. Is there a plan in place to ad more lifts and terrain? Lets not Love Meadows to death.

    Meadows: Thanks!

  32. Tim

    March 14, 2012

    I often follow several school buses you rent from Oregon Trail School District as they relocate from Sandy to MHM to function as in area shuttle buses. These empty buses could be used as part of a shuttle system from Sandy to MHM..

    Meadows: Great suggestion! No "dead heading" (the common term for a bus being sent to it's designated location to begin service without passengers - no dis to Jerry Garcia fans.)

  33. michelle

    March 14, 2012

    i agree with previous comments about moving empty buses to alternate location. Suggest something more "off site" as even the Sunrise Overflow lot is filling fast. Getting different shuttle buses would be WONDERFUL. Is it possible to move race times to Friday or afternoon./evenings. This seems like it would releave some parking issues. I know we have watched XGames that are filmed in the evening at resorts.
    also, we have used free shuttles in both Colorado and Utah. Would be great for local folk to take advantage of. Also suggest talking with local realtors/resorts/hotel/motels about offering shuttle service for guests. Every little bit will help opening up one more parking spot.
    I am not in favor of increasing cost of weekend passes. I work (generally) M-F and so the weekends are my play time.

    Meadows: Offloading events from peak times. Great suggestion!

  34. Chris

    March 14, 2012

    I have experenced a few of those peak days, I would say that almost all were after a big storm with lots of new snow. Everyone wants to ski the powder! I leave very early and on all those days by the time I got to Welches I could tell it was going to be one of those day by the volume of traffic. Almost turned around couple of times. Face it those kind of day are going to happen. Blackouts won't help, you can't predict when those peak days will happen. The way I look at is if it's crowded, I just leave early go do something else and come back next week.
    It does get crowded with long lines on those days but by 11:30 it really drops off. Hang in there until then and it's all good.
    As far as the parking on those peak days what I have noticed when I do leave (around 11-12) is the lot is closed and there are alot of skiers that left just like me but know one is allowed in the lot even with lots of spaces open, What is needed is a bunch of guys with radios letting the guy at the bottom of access road how many spaces are open and locations and let cars come on up to fill those spaces. The guys up in the lot can be waving a large flag or something.
    Everone gets all worked up about the crowds/parking, like I said you get a few days a year like that but in the end look back at the whole year and the many great days. It's still a very good experience at a great value!!!

    Meadows: Thanks for the post!

  35. Linda W

    March 14, 2012

    How about more incentives for people to ride buses to the mountain? I'm a season pass holder who was also a regular mid-week bus rider, and I have to say that paying $30 per bus ride is too much for most people (it only costs me about $20 in gas to drive up - even at today's prices). You're not going to get most people out of their cars unless you offer bus rides that are cheaper than driving. I think if you offered a low-cost bus option, you'd get more takers on the buses. Or how about other incentives to ride the bus, such as free lockers and/or ski check, or $10 food credit? I think you need to promote the buses more (both mid-week and weekend).

    Meadows: Reduce bus price or offer incentives. Thanks!

  36. Nancy

    March 14, 2012

    I had an injury away from the mountain early in January, so haven't been up to the Meadows this year when you've had the great snow and parking issues. However, I agree with the entry above suggesting a free or super affordable park and ride shuttle from Sandy or a similar locale.

    Meadows: Thanks!

  37. Rick

    March 14, 2012

    I and all of my buds would love to board/ski from 8-12 and be off the mountain so folks who need the beauty rest can roll in after they roll out. We would purchase that pass in a heartbeat.

    Meadows: Designated time passes. Thanks!

  38. Mari

    March 14, 2012

    I sign up to take the Greasebus as much as I can. The price is great if you consider paying for gas and all the hassles of parking. Also like that it leaves Portland at 8am. What about some sort of partnership with one of the brewpubs in hood river, and run shuttle buses from there. Can still charge money but can include something like a free drink or discount at the pub. Leave at 9 am and leave meadows to get back to hood river for dinner or drinks.

    Meadows: Great suggestion. Would folks from Portland drive to Hood River to take advantage of an affordably priced shuttle with a dining incentive?

  39. J BOSWELL

    March 15, 2012

    Make the over flow lot bigger and add a people mover like the canyons resort in park city has...it works great. Put the buses there they can all ride the people mover right to the lifts. That would open up all the wasted space the buses take up.

    Meadows: Thanks!

  40. Colleen

    March 15, 2012

    As a season passholder who missed parking two weekends in a row by less than 10 minutes each time (I was one of 18 passholders going together), I've got to say that you need to take care of your passholders. We've essentially bought our tickets in advance, invested in your business and taken the risk of a poor ski season. (Remember about ten years ago when Buttercup was the only slope with snow on it?) I love the idea of allowing passholders to ski at Cooper Spur for free until noon on days when Meadows if full. At least that would give us something until your lots reopen.

    If you had a free hourly shuttle from Parkdale, Rhododendron or some other place for peak days specific to passholders, I'd use that rather than your lots. Perhaps you could work out something with a business to use their lot while promoting their business.

    Keep Cascade, Shooting Star and Heather Canyon lifts open one to 1 1/2 hr later than they currently are (especially when sunset is after 6pm), and I'd happily come to ski the afternoons. Currently, skiing the afternoon means few runs in these areas. This would also spread people out more. Expand night skiing?

    I love the idea of restricting ski teams to off peak hours. This would open more terrain, decrease lift lines, allow more parking and relieve congestion in the lodges.

    No, to blackout dates for passholders. You do that, I won't buy.

    Yes, to increased ticket prices on peak dates. You want to control overcrowding, use economics.

    You could also give economic incentives to carpooling with at least three people per car - maybe a voucher for a food service offering.

    Meadows: Thanks for the post!

  41. paul Brinker

    March 15, 2012

    Solution 1) Paint the parking lots, parking right now is somewhat haphazzard, simply painting the lots would allow more cars per row when the sun is out and the lot is melted, when its covered in snow then noone will care about the bad parking job.

    Solution 2) Shuttle from Sandy, put up a sigh that says the lot is full IN sandy next to Joe's donuts shop, direct people to the bus parking lot from there.

    Solution 3) put a car pool app on your webpage, release it for droid / Iphone, use the GPS to tell people where the pickup can be done at (for example Govt camp gas station) make it super simple (I happen to be a software dev and can easily describe how to build this app) Allow up to 24 hour advanced notice of pickup needed and allow drivers to post when they are going up and where they are driving from (say PDX or Hood River).

    Yes there would be some liability for this one, but there are ride share programs all over the place and skiers already bum rides and pick up hitch hikers far more often then in major city's.

    - if this program works, add incentives for drivers to pick people up (for example, make part of the parking lot for registered car pool groups only) or give discount passes to drivers if they pick someone up (free food would work really well here)

    Finally, Producitize this app, if it works for Mt Hood Meadows and only costs 1-2 programmers time to build you can box up the app, sell it to other ski resorts who can pay to have there resort added to the app as well. At this point your making money AND reducing parking problems with out expanding parking.

    Meadows: Shoot me an email if you like this idea and I can get you in touch with software devs and project managers who could make it fast and right the first time.

    Meadows: Thanks! Keep the ideas coming!

  42. Steep & Deep

    March 16, 2012

    These are some good points but I honestly think a big part of the problem is the racing teams; require them to arrive via a bus rather than individual cars! My second suggestions goes to the point of high on hill traffic; welcome to the new Spring Pass crowd if you think is was bad it's only going to get worse. There just isn't enough terrain for the crowds you get on the mountain so there is no logical solution except opening up White River but we all know that will never happen.

    Meadows: Thanks for the post.

  43. fred

    March 17, 2012

    Thank you so much! The department in charge of fresh snow application has done a fantastic job this last month. Please give them the raise they deserve if they keep up the outstanding work.

    I am seeing two suggestions here that I really like.

    Daisy expanded with more lighting and detachable.

    Sunrise lift.

    If daisy were a quad, the old lift parts would make a great Sunrise parking lot delivery system. Also that would add some great beginner terrain to the inventory. (out of the worst weather, no one can get too much speed, great for putting miles on those young and beginner snow riders)

    Meadows: Thanks for the suggestions. And you are so right about the snow we've been receiving - it's excellent!

  44. Just another opinion

    March 17, 2012

    It would appear that the lot capacity issue is not easily solved in a way that can appease both the environmental concerns as well as the uphill capacity. I wish to propose another out-of-the-box idea, though admittedly not as out as the gondola from white river idea....which I love by the way.

    As mentioned previously, the parking lot does not keep a consistent denisty (read number) of cars throughout the day, 9 am to 3 pm. It seems to me one aspect of the problem is lack of parking between 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Why not consider the radical business idea of dropping prices....wait for it. Drop the noon to close ticket price from $59 to something like $30. This will encourage people who come for only a few hours to come later when the lot can support additional people. You can redefine the situaiton not by inceasing supply but change demand. How much cash would Meadows actually lose? Probably none but would rather keep the lot consistently full throughout the day and generatre additional un-tapped revenue.

    Meadows: Off-Peak pricing incentives. Thanks!

  45. Dan

    March 18, 2012

    I am in agreement with previous posts that a parking solution must be accompanied by an uphill capacity solution. If only the parking issue is to be considered, the solution seems obvious though politically as well as cost prohibitive. A section of the main lot, roughly 1/3, could be marked off for a multi-tiered parking structure.

    Of course this is easily said but not easily built. Meadows management is surely well aware of the obstacles for this initiative. I believe environment concerns would be minimal since no additional timber would need to be cut and stormwater run-off should not be a concern since the area is already paved. I envision the two main road blocks to be:
    1) USFS regulations.
    2) The large capital investment needed for garage

    Not being a policy wonk, I am unsure about how to manage the regulations piece. Potentially an exemption from the regulations can be obtained if sufficient public support is demonstrated by lobbying efforts and petitions. Ultimately, a structure would accenuate public access to the publicly owned forest service lands.

    For the second item, the traditional funding methods must be employed:
    1) Temporary fees assessed to season pass and daily ticket purchases not unlike funding a toll road.
    2) Grass roots funding efforts involving fund raising auctions and benefit events.
    3) Ski industry sponsorship.
    4) Exploration of possible federal/state grants for increasing access to forest land.

    Many ideas have already been listed to address the uphill capacity issue.

    Meadows: Parking structure. Thanks for the suggestion!

  46. Ethan

    March 19, 2012

    I would say take a few pointers from the coastal rec. parks which are more effecient in terms parking lot capacity... Rather than create new parking lots, better manage the ones you have.
    Easy math = main lots at capacity = X amount of heads on the lifts. Instead of making people drive somewhere else and then busing them in (having no idea how many people are actually there) and compounding things by placing a huge signs that say "full" and telling everyone "sorry, better luck next time....", implement the 1st come basis with a) each car that leaves leads to b) a new car can then go in - - Get the rotation going better. Meadows could easlily have an overspill lot acting more as a waiting zone for when cars come out. Most people hate crowds and leave after a couple hours anyway...

    Bottom line is the customer retention and customer loyalty, importance to reward early birds and locker holders (people who spend the most coin) and NEVER say "too bad" -

    That happened to me twice this year after driving all the way up there. Felt bad for the crew having to turn folks back (poor management/not thier fault) but decided right then there is no way I will renew my locker next year or comit to a pass ...until spring.

    Thanks for posting! - good first step becuase you guys need to get this one figured out. Grumpy people on the slopes this year is too obvious when it doesnt have to be that way. On a positive note, the menus are epic this year and some good tweaks going on in the lodge.

    Meadows: Thanks for the post!

  47. nathan

    March 19, 2012

    Having spent the last few seasons in Colorado, I appreciated the way Keystone had their parking lot set up. The first few rows were carpool only rows (four or more people per vehicle). Don't know if this would violate the 'first come first serve' principal. The policy seemed to be effective though.

    Meadows: Encourage car pooling (currently the Sno-Park system doesn't allow preferential parking - but maybe we can change that.)

  48. Chuck

    March 19, 2012

    As an add-on to Dan's idea for a parking garage, what about placing it in the HRM lot or expanding the existing lot. Then modify HRM for use with with covered chairs and add download capability/capacity or fully convert it to a gondola so it can be used into the night and when there is no/low snow coverage down low. This removes traffic from main access road and allows use of the HRM lot early in the season.

    Also thought there were ideas for a mid-mountain lodge at the top of HRM/Stadium long ago, would be perfect for that.

    Meadows: Thanks for the post. Definitely outside the box thinking!

  49. Session

    March 19, 2012

    This would all be a lot easier if pass holders ( I am one), would realize that holidays are crowded, and not cry about lack of parking. On holidays you have 2 choices.

    Stay home, or get up early.

    Pass holders should know better instead of playing the "I'm a pass holder card". As pass holders we should all feel lucky that Holiday's aren't blacked out. Like just about every resort around the country does.

    Meadows: Thanks for the post!

  50. Drew

    March 20, 2012

    1. Parking Structure.
    2. Daisy Quad.
    3. Sunrise Lift (love it, thought of that when I used to ride Meadows).
    4. Off-Peak (afternoon/night)incentive pricing (awesome).
    5. Opening at 8AM like you used to in the past.
    6. Keeping some lifts open an hour longer.
    7. Move busses AND RV's/Trailers to an alternate spot.
    8. Move ski-races and community events to weekdays.
    9. The lodge needs to double in size and possibly be planned out more efficiently.
    10. Get rid of the lift attendants that scan passes and move towards a mt.bachelor RFID or ticket scan system.
    11. Build a bigger lodge over at HRM.
    12. Carpool vouchers, lifties hand out coupons to obvious carpoolers. 3+

    Meaows: Great ideas - kind of a recap of this blog. It demonstrates that we will need to address this in several different methods, and hopefully the cumulative effect will be access for all, even on peak days. Thanks!

  51. Steve

    March 20, 2012

    A underground parking garage would be awesome, especially on storm days. Squaw Valley has a parking garage like this and it really makes the ski experience nicer, especially when you are trying to get the kids ready at the car

    Meadows: Thanks for the suggestion.

  52. Bill Chin

    March 21, 2012

    Although I have been locked out of the parking lots a few times this year, I just spent some time at Govy and get into Meadows later after I receive your parking lot tweets. I appreciate your lift operation hours and it's well worth coming to Meadows to snowboard even if you have to wait getting in! When I have a competition and absolutely have to get into Meadows, I leave Portland really early.

    Meadows: Thanks Bill. Great post!

    Meadows: Thanks for the post!

  53. Dennis

    March 22, 2012

    I've appreciated the parking lot updates on the web and facebook. So thank you for those. Also thanks for asking for suggestions on how to improve the experience. It's just my opinion but I think it's somewhat unreasonable for people to expect to get a parking spot, at any time of the day that they feel like coming up, on weekends during the months of January or February. That's about 8-9 weekends out of the season. It's seems that it would hard to justify building more parking for just those weekends. If you can make it pencil out, that's great. But the money's got to come from somewhere. I'm concerned that it will raise the cost of a pass further. Personally, I would rather keep the cost low, flex my time on those few weekends, showing up after noon when a bunch of people have left. But I also think a shuttle is a reasonable solution for those folks that just have to be there at peak times.

    This has been a great season. It's March now, and just like the past few seasons, the crowds are gone. I'm going up on the weekend arriving late at 10a, getting a great spot on the HRM side, and great skiing. You've also done great job of staffing, esp the lifties and people at the Maz and the Alp. Keep up the good work.

    Meadows: Thanks Dennis. Great observations here!

  54. steve

    March 27, 2012

    On four weekends this season - a majority of the Teacup Snowpark has been taken by snow riders who hike from the lot to the HRM entrance road where they are often picked up by your shuttle busses. This has been observed by numerous Teacup skiers and reported to me. While I understand that these users have paid for a snow park permit and can legally park in any snowpark, the fact remains that this has impacted revenues at Teacup - costing us an estimated $3000 to $4000 in donation box revenues this season.

    While I understand that you do not "encourage" your patrons to use other snowparks, the fact is that you do lend "de facto" support to their diversion by allowing your shuttle bus drivers to pick them up at the Highway 35 entrance at HRM (which is just a few hundred yards from the Teacup sno-park. I have spoken with the USFS regarding this matter. I understand how it occurred, since they sent you a letter telling the Meadows to not allow parking on the access roads as had been done in previous years when your lots were full. But this has just forced the overflow into our lot and affected our operations. Since parking is no longer allowed on your access roads, there is plenty of room for the persistant overflow hikers to pay the price of their determination and hike the full distance to the lifts. This just might discourage them in the future from making this attempt. Please tell your drivers to STOP picking up these hikers from other snowparks!

    Meadows: Thanks for the post. Both ODOT and USFS have requested that we not provide shuttle service to nearby Sno-Parks outside of our permit area - so our current shuttling involves only the main, Sunrise and HRM lots. We also shuttle employees from Sandy and Hood River, and are looking into securing parking space for shuttling on both sides for next season. We don't encourage or direct guests to park in these Sno-Parks either, even on peak parked out day. We have directed our drivers not to pick up guests at these Sno-Parks.

  55. Steve Schneider

    March 27, 2012

    I would support the Meadows in an effort to change ODOT policy (through the sno-park advisory board) to allow preferential parking to vehicles with 3 or more occupents or with a disabled sticker. I think such a policy would benefit both the Meadows and the Nordic areas I serve - particulaly at Teacup Sno-Park and the Meissner Sno-park outside Bend.

    Meadows: Thanks for the input and suggestion.

  56. dan

    March 27, 2012

    I have a related question about rolling in later on powder days: what do you ride if you arrive, say, around noon when everything's been tracked out? Off-piste is mashed potatoes, on-piste is starting to get bumped up...where do you head?

    Meadows: Consensus is get here early, but if you can't, head for the trees (be aware of deep snow tree wells - ski with a buddy.) Our assistant Ski School Directory Jeremy Riss says,

    "Skiing the trees would be my recommendation. Private Reserve is usually the last place to get tracked out. Jacks Woods also usually has some good lines later in the day in particular to the skiers right of the Heather Chair if it is open. If you’re looking for something off Mt. Hood Express Jefferson Glade and the trees to the skiers right of Powder Keg are good options as well as are the trees to the skiers left of showoff. Just watch out for the waterfall early season and cut to the right before you get stuck in the flats towards the bottom."

  57. Shandy Sawyer

    March 28, 2012

    I agree with most of the people in this comment thread that more parking is just trying to fix the symptom, not solve the issue. Right now Meadows is just not big enough to handle the demand of the entire Portland metropolitan area on high-demand days (a.k.a powder days).

    Until more ski-able acres can be added, I think the best solution in this day and age is providing us with more information so that we can make better decisions. Here are a few things I think would really help:

    1. You had mentioned that you provide parking lot status updates on your site, buts usually buried in that block of text under your general comments section (not very visible). Why not have parking lot status as its own section? And give people a better idea of full the lots are: half full, 75% full, etc. And why not have a meadows phone app? One that gives condition and park lot status updates instead just via twitter.

    2. Having a sign down in government camp dedicated to parking lot status would immensely help in my opinion. Not everyone is going to check twitter or your website. Once you pass the timberline turn off, it can be dangerous trying to turn around until you are all the way to the bridge.

    3. Work more closely with ODOT to provide traffic flow updates specifically for the mountain crowd. I'm not sure what kind of data ODOT gets in terms of traffic flow, but maybe that could be utilized to provide warnings on super high traffic flow.

    Hope these suggestions help!

    Meadows: Thanks for the suggestions.

  58. Pete

    April 3, 2012

    Unfortunately, this mountain cannot take any more people until you expand the resort. I have three suggestions. One, make a lift that extends down past the honeysuckle road and into that out of bounds area down there. Have the lift end at the top of stadium or HRM. My second suggestion is to make a private reserve chair that starts down on the runout and ends at the top of HRM. This will definately take the experts off of Star. (also it would be nice if it would start a good ways up the runout and not more towards the bottom so that the people who still want ot hike out can do so and get fresh tracks) If those suggestions require too much deforestation, then read my third suggestion. Build a short double chair from the Mazot to somewhere on the top of Marmot Ridge that is sheltered so the chair can open in the winter, and the experts can get their powder in while waiting for Heather to open. This will not need as much deforestation because it is higher up the mountain where there are already less trees. These suggestions will probably disperse the crowds more and allow room for more people.
    I know I'm asking for way too much.

    Meadows: Dare to dream. Thanks for the post!

  59. Harrison

    April 17, 2012

    Dear Mount Hood Meadows,

    Pete is right. We should extend the terrain a little bit. One of the ideas is to have a tram that ran from Ski Bowl to Timberline Lodge or Mount Hood Meadows. I understand that Mount Hood Meadows is rivals with Ski Bowl and Timberline Lodge. Another idea is that we should have a shuttle bus that ran from Ski Bowl (the busses would be lower floor) to Timberline Lodge or Ski Bowl from the center of Government Camp. People would park their cars at Ski Bowl and ride the bus to Timberline Lodge or Mount Hood Meadows. What do you think of all my suggestions? I look forward to having a reply posted here.

    Meadows: Thanks Harrison. The tram from Government Camp to Meadows has been discussed - it's expensive but is technically achievable, however with the wild and scenic status of White River there would be a lengthy (and potentially contentious) NEPA process ahead. We've also discussed creating a transit station in Government Camp for shuttling to the different resorts. That is a more likely option than the tram.

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