Here comes another big weekend for Oregon winter recreationalists. This isn't just the skiers and snowboarders, it's snow shoers, cross country skiers, family sledders, tubers and those just wanting to see the beauty of the snow. It's a huge attraction and part of the beauty and appeal of the Northwest. Now - the challenge - getting everyone to the mountain, parked efficiently and back home again swiftly and safely.
Here are 8 things you can do, or you should know, which will help make your weekend recreating on the mountain more enjoyable.
1. TAKE PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION - the best way to avoid having car problems is not to bring it in the first place! In addition to the programs buses Meadows runs, there are several other shuttle services, including:
- Park & Ride - With three pickup locations in Tualatin, Beaverton and Gateway, there's a convenient pick up location from Portland. Try to make your reservation by 2 PM to assure you get a seat.
- Sea to Summit - Picking up at the Portland REI (check their schedule) or you can book them to take you direct to the mountain.
- Aspen Limo Tours - Book them to pick up from your home.
2. CAR POOL - Hook up with others and fill all the seats in your vehicle. You'll reduce your fuel cost, create some social opportunity and reduce the number of vehicles needing a place to park. You can register at DriveLessConnect to find others to car pool with to the mountain AND have a chance to win prizes this weekend by taking the Drive Less Connect Challenge!
3. If you're driving - MAKE SURE YOUR VEHICLE IS PREPARED FOR WINTER DRIVING! This is actually the biggest issue we have on the mountain when there are winter conditions. It only takes one vehicle to spin out on the highway or the access road to clog the road for everyone. DON'T BE "THAT GUY."
- Carry chains or adequate snow tires - and put those chains on before you need them. Not familiar with when to put those chains on? Then it's probably already too late. Here's a link to the TripCheck chaining requirements. And you need only look for the highway signs to know when you need to pull over to put the chains on.
- Use the TripCheck highway cameras so you can see who is already on the road, what the road and weather conditions are.
ODOT has a Winter Driving Tips page that addresses this topic more thoroughly. Give it a read and share it with others.
The importance of chaining up when Traction Tires are required. This is a great report News Channel 8 KGW aired last season:
4. GET HERE EARLY! On these busy days the main lot can fill before 9 AM - with the Sunrise lot filling within an hour. HRM can fill by 11 AM. So if you're leaving Portland at 9 AM - you're probably not going to find a space in these lots.
5. TAKE THE HOOD RIVER ROUTE - While it's further in distance, the "end around" is often the fastest way to Meadows. Highway 26 from Portland has all the traffic for the other winter recreation areas including the ski areas on Mt. Hood. While those others are stuck in a line of traffic the Highway 35 traffic from Hood River is usually flowing much smoother. If there's going to be a traffic issue it will most likely happen at White River. So while you're backed up behind "That Guy" who spun out because he didn't have chains, our parking lots are being filled by those who came through Hood River.
6. REMOTE PARK YOUR VEHICLE - On anticipated peak days Meadows offers remote parking in Welches and in Parkdale (see locations in this Blog post) and offers free shuttling. When you see our signs indicating our lots are full - USE THE REMOTE LOTS.
7. PLAN TO ARRIVE LATE - Everybody heads to the mountain between 7 and 10 AM. So why not leave a little later and stay a little longer? Spaces begin to open up in our lots around noon leaving space for your late arrival. Your shift pass is valid until 6 PM so there's not rush to get down the hill. Stick around, let the others get caught up in the congestion. Then leave later after the traffic is flowing smoothly again.
8. STAY CONNECTED - We mentioned TripCheck for road conditions, cameras and incidents. Our conditions page also has parking lot status and road condition information. You can also stay connected through our MHMLifts Twitter updates.
Feel free to add to the list - your comments below will educate and help us all get to the mountain as planned.
See you on the mountain!