Legendary Heather Canyon opened today at Mt. Hood Meadows. The franchise expert terrain sports some of the most advanced and expert terrain in the northwest. Thanks to more than five feet of fluffy powder and a considerable amount of human effort to build the snow bridges over Clark Creek, the resort opened lower Heather today.
Heather is a magnet attracting expert skiers and snowboarders looking for pure steep with room to carve as they like. Part of the appeal of Heather is its sheer size, it’s almost like an entire ski area by itself. Heather signals to skiers and snowboarders across the country that Mt. Hood Meadows is OPEN – meaning snow coverage is deep and 100% of the mountain is rideable, once the Cascade Express is opened.
The main factor for opening the canyon is getting enough snow to build snow bridges over the Canyon runout. Meadows used its innovative snow harvesting program to haul snow from its lower parking lot into the canyon runout to start building the bridges before this last storm. The five feet received this last can also be credited for one of the earliest openings of the Canyon on record. Ski Patrol staff has conducted extensive avalanche control work before opening the lower canyon. The upper canyon is under evaluation but also requires Cascade Express to access the top.
The video shows the opening of Heather Friday and Christmas Eve powder in Private Reserve.
Cascade Storm Recovery Underway
Mt. Hood Meadows should have the entire mountain open soon, now that this major storm has passed through. With Heather every lift at Meadows is operating, except Cascade Express where storm recovery efforts continue. Cascade lifts passengers nearly 1,400 vertical feet to the 7,300 foot level. It requires a huge storm recover effort since it has received an estimated fifteen or more feet of snow during the recent storm cycles. Cascade provides access to upper Heather Canyon for advanced and expert terrain, as well as to wide open cruising intermediate trails.
A series of powerful Northwest storms pounded Meadows which has one of the deepest snowpacks in the country heading into the holiday, with 85 inches of snow in the base area, and close to 109” at midmountain. These storm systems are giving skiers and snowboarders an early gift, as this is one of the earliest dates on record that the entire mountain will be 100% open (weather and conditions permitting) for the holidays.
Meadows is scheduled to operate daily from 9 AM - 9 PM through January 3, with extended hours until after midnight on New Year’s Eve. The resort will then resume on its normal daily operating schedule of 9 AM - 4 PM Mondays and Tuesdays, 9 AM - 9 PM Wednesdays through Sundays.
About our Gated Access Terrain
Access to Heather Canyon, Clark Canyon, Private Reserve and S&R Cliffs is through control access gates. It's a spectacular experience for expert skiers and snowboarders only. You should always ride with a partner in gated access areas, and carrying a beacon, probe and shovel are highly recommended. These areas are not patrolled on a regular basis and avalanche danger exists at all times. You may be entering tightly wooded and cliffed terrain. Beware of waterfalls, creek holes, and other unmarked obstacles.