Mt. Hood Meadows Department of Transportation managers have been reengineering the parking experience for the upcoming season. The resort has already announced plans to spread out visitation through day and time specific advance ticketing, but those in the parking lot are making changes to improve the arrival experience and make it more efficient. Critically important this season is reducing the amount of guests that need to be shuttled.
The plan, presented in a video featuring Transportation Manager Ben Tucker and Parking Manager Jess Zerfing, calls for:
Increasing available parking space in the main lot by relocating RV parking and charter bus parking to the Sunrise Lot
- Creating an enhanced “Drop Off Zone” near the front of the main lot for drivers to drop off passengers who have lesson or rental reservations, or require lodge services. The driver then continues to a remote lot to be shuttled, if needed.
- Promote parking at Hood River Meadows lot for those that do not require main lodge services, for direct to lift access. Hood River Express will continue to open a half-hour early on designated peak days to encourage spreading out arrivals.
- Reduce the number of passengers that require shuttling from the Sunrise and Hood River Meadows lots with the Drop Off Zone.
- Adding porta-potties at several locations at all the parking lots for the comfort of guests and to decrease the demand on lodge bathrooms.
Maximizing parking spaces in the main lot is the primary objective, since those guests do not require shuttling. For those parking in the main lot, the experience will be similar to past seasons, except we do not plan on running a main lot shuttle this season. The Enhanced Drop Off Zone will be established in the same area as previous seasons. We will enlarge this area and add an additional lane to allow more guests to utilize this area at a time. By having chartered buses drop off passengers and park in the Sunrise lot, more space is available for the Drop Off Zone.
Relocating the RV parking to the Sunrise lot also removes a difficult if not dangerous "S" curve in the main lot, allowing the downhill traffic to proceed without having to take two sharp turns. Relocating RVs increases main lot parking spaces while improving safety.
Guests that can go direct to lift (don’t need ski rentals, lessons or other lodge services) can park at Hood River Meadows and easily access the Hood River Express. They can pick up their advance-purchased ticket at the HRM lodge (pass holders need no reservations.) Those that park in the Sunrise lot have the option to shuttle, or start their day with a half-mile hike to the bottom of Vista. Skiing back to Sunrise at the end of the day or to take a lunch break at the car is easy.
The enhanced Drop Off Zone will accommodate those passengers who have rental or lesson reservations. So when the main lot is full, the driver should drop off passengers, and then park in whichever remote lot we are shuttling from. That will be a much better experience for those that need services, and reduce the number of people we need to shuttle.
For those looking to drive their own personal vehicles to Meadows, please remember that Sno-Park permits are required to park in any of our lots.
For those riding shuttles, there are guidelines that must be followed (and will be strictly enforced:)
- Guests will be required to wear facemask at all times while on the bus.
- Buses will be loaded to accommodate the recommended social distancing guidelines in effect at that time. We will start by separating parties by a seat, which means we need to reduce the number of guests needing to shuttle in order to shuttle efficiently.
- Guest shuttle hosts will be used to help with social distancing in line and while loading buses.
- Seating immediately behind the driver will not be used and will be marked off to help prevent continual exposure to the driver.
- Guests who refuse to comply with guidelines will not be permitted to use the shuttle.
Since this system will be new to all of us, our parking and transportation team appreciates your cooperation. Please be patient and treat our attendants and others with kindness. Get to know our plan in advance - check the conditions page and our website for any special announcements. Most importantly, listen to our team and obey the messaging provided by signage.
As always, be prepared for winter driving conditions - carry traction devices and put them on before you need them. Leave early, give yourself plenty of time, drive attentively but be patient. Working together we will have a great season!