This is the first of a series of regular messages from the MHM Leadership Team regarding the forthcoming season and the significant changes that we have implemented and continue to refine. First, however, we need to recognize and humbly thank the U.S. Forest Service and their awesome firefighting crews for their timely, aggressive and successful 'round the clock efforts to contain and extinguish the wildfire that started in Jack’s Woods early Labor Day morning. While we do not yet know the specific details of the cause of this fire, it unfortunately appears to be man-made, with the origin near the Timberline Trail. This event reminds us that we are all responsible for the safety and integrity of our Mountain Home, just as we are responsible for the safety of each other.
This message provides a summary overview of the key changes to our operations that we will be implementing for the 2020-2021 season. Supporting these changes is our revised “Rules of Use” terms and conditions, which we review carefully each year with our U.S. Forest Service partners to gain their input and support. Please stay tuned for additional forthcoming messages that will provide more in-depth details of our 2020-2021 Operating Plan.
During the course of the transformational and anxiety-causing events of the past six months, the MHM Team has been fully engaged and working very hard to prepare for a great 2020-2021 season, which we expect to begin in less than three months. We have created a special section to talk about these changes, as well as to provide frequent updates through the season.
Our operating plan for this season is uniquely different than any of our prior 52 winter seasons. Physical distancing, face masks, regular sanitizing, and individual responsibility and accountability will be required for our Team and Guests. We have re-engineered every aspect of our operations to achieve social and physical distancing both outside and inside our buildings.
To be clear, as outlined in our COVID protocols, masks or face coverings will be required:
• Indoors at all times (except when eating)
• On shuttles
• In parking lots
• In lift lines
• On chairlifts
• All other outdoor locations where you can’t maintain six feet of distance from those not in your party
Shared Responsibility for Safety
It is up to every individual, both ski area employee and guest, to do their part to help protect the health and safety of our skiing and snowboarding community. The health of our team is our number one priority. Our expectation is that each one of us will follow protocols to help keep each other healthy.
Managing Visitation through Lift Access
We will aggressively manage flow and volume at Mt. Hood Meadows this season based on the fluctuating weather, operating lifts and changing COVID-19 guidance. We will anticipate turnout for each day, then make available a limited number of date-specific lift tickets online in advance through our dynamic ticketing system. Pass holders will not need a reservation, and we are implementing some changes to better manage peak days. We've posted a video on our COVID19-Update section explaining this.
- In addition to every day access, on peak days the Value Pass is now good starting at 2 PM (previously 3 PM)
- We are limiting the number of NEW All Access Pass purchases and removing the early bird price for NEW All Access purchases (the price to add All Access remains the same for renewing 2019-20 pass holders through Nov. 8)
- We are not selling NEW 5 Time, 10 Time, or Beginner Progression passes at this time. Those renewing to a 10 Time Pass will receive a $100 discount and those renewing to a 5 Time Pass will receive a $50 discount (if you renew by Nov. 8)
Purchase or Renew your Pass
Our dynamic daily ticketing system will allow for purchase of designated time slots in advance to rigorously manage arrivals and flow into the resort, which will be especially important on peak days.
We will fulfill online ticket orders at our main base area Ticket Building and at the HRM skier services windows to reduce any need for coming into the lodge.
Daily flow and volume will be carefully monitored and managed through daily lift ticket sales so we will not be requiring reservations to access parking, and a SnoPark permit will still be required. When our main lot fills, we will be shuttling between lots and will encourage families or parties requiring base area services to drop off their party in the main lot, and then park in a remote lot. The number of passengers our shuttles carry will be reduced, so only having to shuttle one person per vehicle will allow us to transport more efficiently. This plan will evolve as we learn more about our traffic patterns.
Social Distancing at the Lifts
Perhaps our biggest challenge this season will be managing lift mazes - and this is where we will need everyone’s cooperation. We need everyone to stay spread out - the length of a ski or snowboard will naturally provide the spacing ahead and behind - but we will also need to spread out our lines laterally. We will accommodate those who request to ride up alone, and we will adjust our mazes accordingly as we gain knowledge as the season goes on. Most importantly, face masks are required in lift lines and on the chair rides. We appreciate your patience and cooperation in making the experience work for everyone.
All equipment rentals must be reserved and paid for online in advance so we may better accommodate and prepare for our guests. Guests should not expect to walk up for rentals. We have made it very easy to add a lift ticket onto a rental reservation and to make rental reservations as far in advance as possible.
Meadows Learning Center
Adult and children’s lessons at Meadows will need to be reserved and paid for in advance. This will allow us to match instructors to each day’s reservations. We will require a pre-arrival health screening for lesson participants. There will be other changes this season, including:
We will not be offering full-day lessons to start the season. Youth half-day lessons will be offered, and parents will be responsible for escorting the child to the on-hill meeting place, and picking up the child after the lesson. Lesson participants require lift access (which can be added when making the online reservation). We will not be providing an indoor meeting space, or serving lunch for half-day lessons. Youth group lessons will start at ages 7 and up to start the season. We may change this as the season progresses.
Lessons will need to be purchased in advance. Group lesson slots will be made available for online purchase and will require lift access (which can be added when making the online reservation). We will be limiting the size of our group lessons and will require a health screening.
Some private lesson products may be purchased online; others will need to be requested online and confirmed over the phone. We will be offering a semi-private lesson for 2 to 5 people at a special rate to encourage those coming to the mountain together to maintain their bubble during lessons.
Other Lesson Options
Stay tuned as we plan to roll out other lesson options this season that make it easier for families or pre-arranged groups to take lessons together and stay socially distant from other groups taking lessons.
Currently, drop-in Daycare operations are not permitted in Oregon.
We have upgraded the North and South Lodge air handling systems to increase filtration through negative ionization and additional filter densities to improve the air quality in the buildings. Along with Sahale’s state-of-the-art HVAC system, our buildings will be ready for you, but we need your help to reduce congestion. We may have to meter access to our lodges on our busy, or weather-compromised days, for restroom use or for grab-and-go items from our restaurants. We will be adding portable toilets at various locations throughout the resort for those who prefer to avoid the lodge entirely. We encourage our guests to make their vehicle their Personal Lodge. Change into your boots at your car when possible, don’t bring in ski bags or even backpacks, although there will be some limited day lockers available.
Sahale adds an additional 10,000 square feet of dining space, along with all the vacated space on the second floors of the North and South Lodges. We are converting our Schuss and Fresh Tracks restaurants into to-go/take away service - so you can order from a simplified menu, pay for it, grab it and go! We will gain indoor seating space from the old SnoBlaster and Racer rooms in the North Lodge, combined with the Schuss, to arrange socially distanced seating indoors. However, we really want our guests to eat outdoors on the deck or other picnic areas as much as possible. As mentioned above, we encourage you to bring your own lunch, or pick up a grab-and-go item and dine at your vehicle between runs.
We will offer sit-down dining as allowed in our Alpenstube restaurant, with appropriately socially distanced tables. We will provide well-spaced seating outdoors on the Alpenstube deck restaurant as weather allows. Vertical will also provide sit-down dining in a spacious setting.
The Café will offer grab-and-go items, beer and wine with limited indoor seating, as well as outdoor seating when possible. We will be fulfilling tickets at HRM, the restrooms will be open, and some day lockers will be available.
We are redesigning the Mazot with a sell-through window – the space is too confined for guests to enter.
Sahale Grill and Wildflowers Café
Sahale will provide much needed additional seating for our restaurant operations. The vast Waterfall Room, Raptor’s Roost mezzanine and outdoor deck will be set with physically distanced tables where those grabbing orders from the Sahale Grill can dine. Sahale Grill will offer up to four different cuisines, made fresh to order and served for quick in-and-out service. Wildflowers Café will serve up coffee and teas, as well as an assortment of grab-and-go items.
The new Bullwheel Bar will have sit-down service, but the bar is also functionally designed with service windows to the deck, to the Waterfall Room, as well as inside the bar itself. This will maximize our ability to serve guests while respecting social distancing. The Sahale Deck will also have well-spaced seating options and food and beverage services.
As you can see, we have been very busy putting these plans together in preparation for the unique season ahead. Our plans remain a work in progress. We will continue to share our procedures and protocols with you via these messages every other week as we get closer to the season. We appreciate you familiarizing yourself with our processes and complying with our safety guidelines. Together, we can help keep each other safe and have a great season on the mountain. We share this responsibility, because we care about you and are looking forward to seeing you at Your Mountain Home soon!