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Managing visitation by spreading out demand to responsibly accommodate the most skiers and snowboarders possible

Categories: Guest Connection Media Center COVID

Mt. Hood Meadows will enter the 20/21 season with a plan to spread out visitation both by time of day and day of week, thanks to a redesigned dynamic ticketing program. Our goal is to maximize the greatest amount of visitation possible, while maintaining safety protocols to protect our team and our guests. After reviewing hourly visitation data from the past three seasons, we’ve devised formulations to anticipate daily turnout, with a focus on peak day visitation patterns.

Projecting Visitation - Managing to 3,000 riders at one time

Shifting peak day visitation to later in the day at Mt. Hood MeadowsLooking at the average hourly ridership of those peak days, it is easy to see that just by shifting the time guests arrive to a later part of the day, Meadows has more than enough lift capacity each day to accommodate the demand. There’s a similar opportunity to shift some skier visits from weekends into midweek to spread out visits. The target for ridership at one time (number of people actually riding chairlifts any given hour) is 3,000. This number is 60% of our peak ridership hour over the past three seasons, and should provide a comfortable target for us to manage to. That number could change as the season gets underway and we get better at managing visitation.

Accommodate renewing pass holders without reservation

We first reviewed pass holder visitation, and found that on our average January peak day, about 17% (less than one in five) of our pass holders are riding lifts at any one time. We are confident that we will be able to accommodate all of last year’s pass holders who want to renew this year. They have until November 8 to receive the discount offered for renewing. Pass holders will not be required to make a reservation as we want to keep their experience as normal as possible.
We will limit certain products - such as new All Access upgrades, we expect we will reach that limit shortly. We’re also not making available any 5 time, 10 time or beginner progression passes. The only exception are those renewing to the 5 time and 10 time passes by November 8.

Purchase or Renew Pass

Make Off-Peak passes more valuable

We’ve added even more value to the Value pass - which is valid for lift access every day starting at 9 AM, except on the designated peak days, when it can be used starting at 2 PM (a change from last year’s 3 PM peak day start time). We also added that extra hour to night pass purchasers (valid from 2 PM - 9 PM Wednesdays - Sundays). This will allow an hour of daylight riding including on our upper mountain and Heather lifts, which close at 3:00 or 3:30 PM.

Manage day tickets by time of day and day of week through Dynamic Ticket Pricing

The central part of our plan is managing the amount of daily tickets available on any given day, as well as the time of day. This is a new part of our dynamic ticketing that allows for purchasing a ticket that starts at 9 AM, Noon, 2 PM or 5 PM. The later the day part you purchase online, the less expensive the ticket will be. In that way, we are encouraging later day arrivals through discounting, and in fact, will be able to shut off sales of the 9 AM ticket on a certain day when we forecast a busy morning.

We are also incentivizing day ticket purchasers to visit midweek through discount pricing. By spreading out the demand both by time of day and day of week, we can manage how many people will be arriving at the ski area, and accommodate flow and volume through our lodge services and lift mazes.

A massive amount of data was crunched and analyzed to develop this plan and we are confident in the fundamentals:

  • Managing to 3,000 visitors on lifts at one time
  • Projecting and accommodating pass holder turnout and limit day tickets
  • Spreading out the demand to different times and days and incentivizing off-peak visitation
  • All lessons and equipment rentals will need to be purchased along with lift ticket in advance (no day of availability)
  • Non-date specific tickets, such as Costco vouchers, will no longer be made available.

We realize, though, that things can change throughout the season. There are still variables we will need to address potential operational impacts and changing behaviors brought on by the virus. We’ll keep you updated as we become operational and learn as we go.