Meadows Blog

Fresh Snow Will Likely Fill Oregon Snow Parks This Weekend

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!

Don't Be That Guy - Be Prepared for Winter Driving

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!


  1. John Vogel

    February 1, 2014

    It's OK to say "we're full - come back some other time". Like Deer Valley. That's better than filling the lodge and slopes beyond their capacity and degrading the experience.

    Meadows: Thanks John. That hasn't been the feedback (or sentiment) from others who have been turned away in the past. Remember, we used to park vehicles on our access roads. On a day like today when Vista and Cascade are operating we can handle business levels even when lots reach capacity.

  2. Steep & Deep

    February 2, 2014

    This is all great advise for people heading to the mountain. I hope everyone can do a little planning so the roads can remain clear. Now for my one little rant, is there anyway to get the ski racing off Shoot Star? This has made my favorite chairlift into a nightmare. I'm no longer even allowed to ski Columbia Bowl and many of my other favorite runs. Please find a way to move them back to Stadium!!! Thanks

    Meadows: Thanks Steep. With more snow we'll be able to get race courses back on Stadium freeing up the alternate locations we've been using.

  3. Nathan

    February 2, 2014

    Hi Meadows!

    I was wondering why the run "Sunburst" was changed from a black to a blue on the new trail map! Is there any other runs that you have changed the signage lately?

    Just Wondering!

    Meadows: Hey Nathan. We made that change for consistency with trail signage.

  4. Scott Snowolf

    February 4, 2014

    With regard to your opinion on "chaining up".....

    As a professional truck driver with over 25 years of driving big rigs in the snow, and living in Montana and Alaska all of my life, I can tell you unequivocally that 9 times out of 10 it isn't the guy not chained up that`s the problem. Its the morons in their AWD Subaru's or 4WD Escalades who have zero skill or experience driving in snow who stop or drive 10 MPH in terror with white knuckles that get in the way of the people who actually can drive in snow and ice that are the problem. This includes 99% of the Portland idiots who have no business driving in snow. It`s why I always drive up HWY 35 when it snows. I drive a 2WD Ranger and the only time I have ever needed chains is because I cant keep my momentum up due to the incompetent drivers in front of me.

    People need to learn to use momentum when approaching a hill, not slam on the damn brakes and creep up it totally screwing everyone behind them. I can say without hesitation the the Portland drivers are the absolute most atrocious drivers of anyplace I have ever operated which includes all 48 states, every province of Canada and Alaska!

    Meadows: Might as well throw Hawaii and Puerto Rico in there as well.. Some good points - but let's make sure that each vehicle is equipped with the right traction devices to begin with. Traffic will come to a stop (momentum or not) and if you're the one vehicle that can't get going again, it's on you not the guy who stopped and then was able to go because he has chains on (and you don't).

  5. Jordan

    February 5, 2014

    Hey I'm just wondering when heather canyon/Private reserve will open up this season? Ive heard you're awaiting more snow to build bridges for creeks but I'm curious as to how close it is to opening so I can make a trip to mt hood!

    Meadows: The forecast for this next week is looking much more very favorable for getting the bridges built. No official day set yet, but it's looking a lot better.

  6. k2skier

    February 7, 2014

    I doubt snowolf is a professional driver, or he would have suitable tires to be able to move in any conditions, at any speed Mt Hood throws at us. You are part of the traffic jams , not the solution.


    PS- isn't it a long commute from Montana to Mt Hood...

  7. Lauren

    February 7, 2014

    Is there a forum where I can see comments from folks who drove up today? I'm trying to figure out how long it's taking people to drive from Portland to Meadows in this snow. Not sure whether I have time for the trip tomorrow.


    Meadows: Thanks Lauren. There isn't a forum as such, but you might check our Facebook page. There could be some discussion on it in the morning. I drove down this evening and it took 90 minutes to get to I-205 at Sunnyside. It was a similar drive up this morning.

  8. Scott Snowolf

    February 8, 2014

    My tires are legitimate snow tires with the mountain/snowflake emblem. Under Oregon and Washington chain law, those count as traction devices, so yes, I have "suitable tires" and i would wager that I have more miles backing up that k2skier has total driving.

    My observations were just that and are in addition to the advice given here, not an argument against. While your points are valid, it also must be pointed out that all of the great equipment in the world is no substitute for driving skill, experience and common sense; something sorely lacking in this region.

    Not to worry Meadows, in 10 years of riding here, not once have I been "that guy". When conditions deteriorated in large part to the horrendous driving habits previously mentioned, I have always been able to pull off of the road and put the chains on. My point is that if it were not for the idiocy I mentioned, I would have had no trouble making it safely into the lot without chains.

    The point, that was obviously lost< is that people need to think about others for a change instead of being so self absorbed and try to behave in a manner that does not adversely affect others, regardless of whether they have "suitable tires" by their myopic standards

    Meadows: Thanks Wolf - a point that bears repeating: "people need to think about others for a change instead of being so self absorbed and try to behave in a manner that does not adversely affect others, regardless of whether they have "suitable tires" by their myopic standards". Thank you for sharing it with us.

  9. smart driver

    February 21, 2014

    I agree with capt snowolf. Although I have not had to use chains, wranglers ftw. I had gone up a few weeks ago and could not believe what I had seen. Several locations where cars, trucks, and even mhm busses stuck in the snow. It looked like everyone had played bumper cars. Vehicles in ditches facing every witch way. We stopped counting at around 18.

    At one point, halfway between the two junctions, I had to come to a complete stop on a banked corner thanks to idiots. My truck started sliding into the other lane due to natural physics. Luckily no one was in the way and I was able to get out of the ditch.

    Most of the vehicles that I saw that had wrecked were 2wd vehicles with no chains/chains. Others were 4x4's and AWD's with idiots behind the wheel. I watched people making stupid mistakes but it was mostly all these people in 2wd vehicles causing the congestion.

    Especially the ones that are trying to see how far they can make it before they "have" to put them on. I would pay an extra dollar for my pass if it would employ someone to direct people to the chainup areas and ticket people for not chaining up their cars.

    Meadows: Very good points - and the whole purpose for addressing it in this blog! Thanks!

  10. Localyokel

    February 22, 2014

    The suggestion to take I-84 and get to Meadows via 35 is a good one. Definitely less traffic, beautiful drive and Hood River is a great pit stop on the way in or the way back. So many great little shops and restaurants!

    Meadows: For many of us it is the preferred route!

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