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50th Anniversary

 1948 Olympic gold medalist Gretchen Fraser officially opens Mt. Hood Meadows on January 26, 19681948 Olympic gold medalist Gretchen Fraser officially opens Meadows on January 26, 1968

Mt. Hood Meadows Preparing for
50th Anniversary Season Celebration

Mt. Hood, OR (For Release January 26, 2017) — Forty-nine years ago today, Mt. Hood Meadows officially opened with ceremonies attended by over 200 dignitaries including America’s only Olympic gold medalist Gretchen Fraser. The ski area launched with two lifts, a T-bar and a rope tow. Fraser’s inaugural run was the full 1,061 vertical drop from the top of the Blue lift, ending at the base area lodge, skiing through the grand opening ribbon. And while the run took only a few minutes, it was the culmination of an initiative that began more than two years earlier when Portland businessman Franklin G. Drake saw the U.S. Forest Service announcement requesting proposals to build a new ski area on Mt. Hood.

Drake assembled a consulting team, prepared a feasibility study and involved a handful of close friends who shared his love for outdoor recreation forming a limited partnership to compete for the permit. In April of 1966, the U.S. Forest Service awarded the 30-year permit to Mt. Hood Meadows Oreg., Ltd. Lloyd Gilmore, supervisor of the Mt. Hood National Forest, announced that Drake’s bid was chosen, “In the belief that both the immediate and long range benefits for the using public would be better provided by the development plans of Mt. Hood Meadows Oreg., Ltd.”

Drake recognized the potential of Mt. Hood Meadows from his very first trips to the area, saying, “The proposed permit area excited my imagination with the potential for a quality regional year-around resort. The variety of the terrain, the beauty of the alpine meadows and the wide open untimbered spaces above the tree line, provided a near perfect landscape for an outstanding ski area.”

Original announcement of Mt. Hood Meadows inaugural season.

 Announcement shows the original lifts, lodge and runs of the inaugural 1967/68 season at Mt. Hood Meadows.

Now on the verge of it’s 50th anniversary season, Mt. Hood Meadows has grown to become one of the largest and most popular winter recreation areas in the Northwest. The many expansions and improvements over the years added chairlifts, lodge facilities and infrastructure to accommodate the growing population or the Portland area and demand for snow sports on Mt. Hood.

V.P. of Communications Dave Tragethon says Meadows will present a season-long celebration to honor the founders, pioneers, guests and team members who have made Meadows what it is today. “The founding of this company and its evolution has significantly enriched the lives of our guests over the years, serving the masses yet facilitating a personal experience with the nature that surrounds us. It’s a story worth telling and celebrating and that’s what we will do next season.”

This website ( has been launched to detail the history, list events and activities, and promote 50th anniversary logoed items. 

A Facebook Group ( has been established to collect and share personal stories and reflections of guests and team members.

“The story of Meadows really is the collective personal experiences of those who have visited, recreated and worked here over the years. We are looking forward to sharing that story over then next 16 months as we celebrate our 50th anniversary season,” says Tragethon.

A 50th anniversary logo has been created for the celebration, and plans are being made to create a dozen “legends boxes” to honor and recognize the individuals, events, efforts and organizations that significantly influenced Mt. Hood Meadows. 

The celebration will crescendo in January 2018 with daily deals and offers, registrations for contests and a grand prize drawing on the anniversary date. The anniversary week will feature  a gala to honor the founders and contributors to Meadows, and a party and celebration at the ski area.