Ferocious. There’s no other way to describe the storm that hit Mt. Hood over the weekend. It started with driving rain Friday around midnight, continuing into the daylight hours. Saturday was a soaker - with two-and-a-half inches of precipitation falling throughout the day, most of that as freezing rain. Keeping lifts running was a challenge in the wind, leading to closing two hours early Saturday evening.
With freezing levels plummeting from 6500 feet to 2500 feet Saturday night to Sunday morning, Meadows lift maintenance manned the most essential lifts - Mt. Hood Express, Shooting Star Express and Hood River Express - all night long, to keep them running to prevent icing. The plan worked - saving hours of work deicing, and allowing the resort to open lifts as scheduled Sunday morning. Some lifts were on wind standby - after all there was a 67 mph wind gust at 6 AM at the top of Express, but by midmorning all but the upper mountain lifts and Heather (due to avalanche hazard) were running. That led to some awesome conditions for storm riders to enjoy as seen in the video above shot today.
As gnarly as the weather was Saturday and Sunday, Monday will be clear and blue bird. And our teams will focus on the storm recovery work on the upper lifts, as well as control work and evaluation of Heather Canyon. The lower lifts shouldn't be a problem - Star, Mt. Hood Express, Hood River Express, Stadium, Daisy, Easy Rider, Buttercup - they all ran today and tomorrow will be bluebird. But Vista Express and Cascade Express need some major deicing.
There is a gargantuan task ahead - the time lapse video shows the build up of ice on our upper mountain lift towers. It’s going to take a while for crews to deice these lifts. We know you want to get to the snow (new and wind blown) on the upper mountain, but it is going to take a while to deice these lifts. Thank you for your patience.