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Winter Storm Warning threatens high winds and several feet of snow; opening planned for November 27

Categories: Guest Connection Weather Blog COVID

Time lapse from the Top of Blue Toyota Mountain Cam from Saturday, November 7

We have a very active weather system heading our way over the next week or so. It starts with a ferocious promise of several feet of snow - check out this winter storm warning from the National Weather Service:


* WHAT...Heavy snow expected above 4000 feet. Total snow
  accumulations of 15 to 30 inches. Ridgetop winds could gust as
  high as 60 mph, causing blowing and drifting of snow.

* WHERE...Northern Oregon Cascades.

* WHEN...From 6 PM this evening to 8 PM PST Friday.

* IMPACTS...Travel across the Cascade passes, and up to the ski
  resort elevations, will be very difficult at times. Gusty winds
  and heavy snow may bring down tree branches.

* ADDITIONAL DETAILS...Snow levels generally 3500 to 4500 feet,
  with heaviest snow accumulations at 4500 feet elevation and
It's looking like some wild weather tonight and tomorrow, with heavy snow and very windy conditions. We’ll be battening down the hatches in anticipation of blizzard-like conditions driven by 50 mph+ gusting winds.

Winter Storm Warning for the Cascades forecasts several feet of snow for Mt. Hood MeadowsWe expect to be able to track pack over the weekend, as we need to compress the snowpack before Monday’s forecasted warmup and heavy rain. This will most likely require us to enforce the uphill travel policy as we will have active setup for winter operations which includes track-packing/grooming, ramp building and avalanche mitigation efforts. Once this begins, for everyone's safety (both our employees and guests), we ask that visitors respect our designated uphill travel routes or go elsewhere for their turns.

Looking ahead - we are still a ways from being able to open. This storm holds promise, as it could dump two to three feet of snow through the weekend, but next week’s rising snow levels means we will need to work hard to maintain our base. We added a third Pisten Bully dump cat with a bucket and custom dump bed and will also utilize the high capacity trailer in our snow harvesting efforts.

Mt. Hood Meadows snow harvesting fleet of three snowcats with buckets and dump beds and a high capacity snow hauling trailerWe are still planning on our November 27 scheduled opening date - the day after Thanksgiving, according to General Manager Greg Pack who clarifies, “We have a responsibility to open up the resort with everything set up to handle our new COVID protocols. That is going to take additional space, particularly at our lift mazes, and to open more lifts and terrain to spread everybody out, and that will require a deeper snowpack than normal. We would rather do it right and miss out on some limited early season preview days so as not to jeopardize our ability to operate by rushing it.”

So this very active forecast shows promise - but we will be deliberate in our preparations for opening. Meanwhile, get your gear together, winterize your vehicle, get those snow tires on and familiarize yourself with our COVID safety protocols. Be patient. Be flexible. Be kind. It’s going to be a great season!