The 2010s - A decade of improvements, challenges, and opportunities
In 2010, Meadows united its retail, rental, race, and ski and snowboard school operations under the Snow Sports Division to systematically and more directly guide guests to achieving their personal goals and overall enjoyment. We also fortified our commitment to wellness with revamped menus in our restaurants, focusing on local, fresh, and organic ingredients, and opened Fresh Tracks Deli.
In 2011, Meadows replaced the Stadium lift (originally installed as “Yellow” in 1967) with Stadium Express. The improvement provided direct access to popular north side trails – Shooting Star, Hood River Meadows, and gated access terrain. It also reduced base area lift lines on peak days, improving the guest experience. Meadows was also selected “Oregon’s Best Attraction and Best Resort” by the readers of NW Meetings + Events Magazine.
In 2012, Meadows installed RFID gates at every lift, to provide “hands free” access to guests, eliminating the number one guest complaint of “having to show my pass every time I get on a lift.” Meadows also launched new, innovative products made possibly by the RFID technology, designed to better fit guests' lifestyles, further strengthening our relationships with guests. Twenty chairs were added to the Shooting Star lift, increasing its uphill capacity by 30 percent.
In 2013, Meadows recommitted itself to an improved learning experience, dedicating more terrain to beginner and lower intermediate lessons. “Ice melt” was installed under the southeast corner of the Paradise Sun Deck to allow efficient removal of snow. We tested LED lamps in our lighting system, which was anticipated to ultimately reduce night lighting energy by 90 percent. The resort’s internet connection was significantly improved with fiber optics, increasing bandwidth by nearly 20 times and allowing resort guests to “socialize” their Meadows experience through a variety of social media platforms.
In 2014, Meadows made efforts to expand our season... in more ways than one! That year, we started our snow harvesting program, collecting snow from the main lot and hauling it to deposit on the slopes with the help of snowcats outfitted with dump beds. Also, after receiving approval from our partners at the U.S. Forest Service, Meadows began our summer operations program, turning Meadows into a year-round resort, offering scenic chair rides, guided hikes, summer camps, events, and more. That year, Meadows also established our Passholder Loyalty Program, which gives guests redeemable rewards points for lessons, restaurant, and retail purchases. We improved cell service for AT&T customers with the installation of an in-lodge MetroCell, and increased internet connectivity by improving our WiFi signals. Once again, Meadows made the Top 100 Green Companies to Work For list by Oregon Business Magazine.
In 2015, after having a low snow year, Meadows established the 100-Day Guarantee, which means that the resort will have at least one high-speed quad running for 100 days in a season. If Meadows does not meet that number, then pass holders get pro-rated refunds for the number of days under that threshold. For the third year in a row, Meadows was named a Top 100 Green Company to Work For. This was also the year Meadows opened ALTITUDE, a mountain lifestyle retail store, in Portland's Pearl District.
In 2016, Meadows made many upgrades to improve operations and guest experience at the mountain, including: Completing construction on a brand new vehicle maintenance facility, purchasing two Pisten Bully snowcats with emission controls, installing the Sunkid conveyor belt, upgrading to high-definition mountain cameras for our conditions page on the skihood.com website, replacing the entire adult rental fleet of skis and snowboarding equipment, upgrading the Nordic rental fleet, and added a new boot drying system in our Rental Center. Also in 2016, Meadows made it onto the Top 100 Green Companies to Work For list for the fourth consecutive year.
In 2017, Meadows continued to upgrade our grooming fleet, purchasing two new state-of-the-art Pisten Bully 400 snowcats. We also upgraded our Demo Center, including the addition of a Wintersteiger machine -- an automated ski tuning and service device. This year also saw the beginning of Meadows' free peak day shuttle service from Hood River, as well as the development of terrain-based learning features for beginner skiers and snowboarders near the Ballroom Carpet. Most notable however, was the installation of the new and improved Buttercup lift, which included an expansion from a two-seater to a SkyTrac fixed-grip quad, a realignment of the lift route, and the installation of a Chairkit carpet loading conveyor. These improvements resulted in the expansion of more learning terrain, fewer lift stoppages, and higher lift speeds and passenger per hour rates. That same year also saw the HRM lodge undergo a remodel that greatly expanded seating capacity both inside and out, increased point-of-sales locations, and introduced our HRM early load service (8:30 AM instead of 9 AM) in an effort to reduce congestion in the main lot. Meadows also upgraded its old fire suppression reservoir to a 300,000 gallon water storage tank that provided increased capacity for fire suppression, snow-making, and general water use. Finally, for the fifth year in a row, Meadows secured a spot on the Top 100 Green Companies to Work For list.
In 2018, Meadows reached a major milestone, celebrating its 50th anniversary. A mysterious mountain creature, Seymour, also decided to make Meadows its home! We launched the Vista Experience, highlighting the most scenic lines to take on our south side terrain. Meadows continued to expand the snowcat fleet, adding two more Pisten Bully 400 machines. Bringing back a classic competition, Vegetate returned to the slopes in the spring, rebooted as Toyota reVEGETATE. That year also saw the launch of the Meadows PDX shop in Northwest Portland. Recognizing Meadows' investments in our team members, the resort made Oregon Business Magazine's list of Top 100 Best Companies to Work For, as well as landing on the Top 100 Green Companies to Work For, the latter of which was the sixth consecutive award for Meadows.
In 2019, we closed out the decade with one of the biggest years for capital improvement projects in the history of Mt. Hood Meadows. In March, Meadows announced Sahale, a project that entailed the construction of a new, 23,500-square-foot building adjacent to the main lodge, providing more dining and resort services space, and adding an additional 230 dining seats, as well as new restaurants and menu options. The building also serves as the new home to Meadows Learning Center, as well as a new ski and snowboarding equipment rental center. The project also resulted in the creation of a new overflow lot off the HRM access road, creating an additional 250 parking spaces, as well as the construction of new turn lanes on State Route 35. Keeping in line with our Core Value of Sustainability, work on SR 35 also resulted in the widening of a culvert to improve fish passage. To help fund the project, Meadows introduced the Sahale Gold Membership, a premium package that included a five-year Season Pass, access to exclusive members-only events, and other benefits. Limited to 1,250 memberships, it sold out weeks before the purchase deadline. Construction started in May on Sahale and ended for the season in October, with the project ahead of schedule. Demonstrating our commitment to making Meadows a year-round resort, summer operations in 2019 expanded to five days a week. More people than ever before came from all over to enjoy our scenic chair rides, hiking, games on the deck, special events and more.For the second consecutive year, Mt. Hood Meadows was named to the list of 100 Best Companies to Work For in Oregon by Oregon Business Magazine, as well as making the Top 100 Green Companies to Work For, marking the seventh year in a row Meadows received the award.
The year 2020 was one filled with both huge challenges and opportunities. As Meadows was embarking on spring operations, the COVID-19 pandemic came to a head in the United States. In March, Meadows made the decision to suspend operations for what would ultimately be the rest of the 2019-2020 season, including 2020 summer operations. But despite the closure, there was still much work to be done. The Meadows team spent the “offseason” developing new health and safety protocols for the 2020-2021 ski season, began having conversations and working on diversity, equity, and inclusiveness initiatives (including deepening our partnerships with Chill and SOS), expanding our network of summer hiking trails, and working on completing construction on Sahale Lodge. Work on the lodge was finished on time, and Sahale opened, along with the rest of the resort, on November 30, 2020 for the start of the 2020-2021 winter recreation season. We were also honored to once again make it on Oregon Business Magazine’s Top 100 Green Workplaces in Oregon list. It was the eighth consecutive appearance on the list for Mt. Hood Meadows