Mt. Hood Meadows logo

Making the most of Peak Day Early Loads on Hood River Express

Categories: Faces of Meadows Guest Connection Safety

The major perk working at a ski area is a season pass. Everyone knows how valuable a Meadows pass is - as it is the literal passport to adventure, recreation and the pursuit of endorphins to make one come alive and feel a part of the mountain. But to our mountain team, the pass is literally a tool - a conveyance to get from one work assignment to another.

The last few weekends, I've been assisting with the early load at Hood River Express (HRE). While most of our lifts are scheduled for 9 AM daily openings, on weekends and holidays (through March 7) we open Hood River Express at 8:30 AM. This allows those with their equipment to park at Hood River Meadows (HRM) for some extra early runs. That helps us spread out the arrival on these busy days, making for a better experience for everyone.

In talking with our early load faithful, they can get up to three runs on HRE before the rest of the mountain opens up. Today, after assisting with the early load (and helping out at other lifts) I took the opportunity to record what arriving at HRM early on a bluebird day is like. And to be honest - it is awesome! Okay, the day started off at MEX, with a Facebook Live and helping to set up safety railings. But once Stadium was pre-opped, I hopped that lift and skated to the top of HRE for what turned out to be first tracks on freshly groomed runs. After helping to rope in the HRE maze lines, I greeted guests (everyone was properly wearing their face masks) and told them how much fun they would have on the groomed HRE runs.

At 8:25 AM, with a full maze of about 80 people, HRE boarded, and within 10 minutes, the maze had almost emptied. I was able to take two runs on HRE, before heading down to Shooting Star to take a quick run, then assist with the maze. My second lift ride on Shooting Star was at 9:40 AM, and I headed back to the base area, where I skied on to an empty Daisy chair.

By 10 AM I was at the top of Daisy, soaking in a magnificent sunny day with Jefferson on the horizon, and already tallied five chairlift rides since opening, taking time in between to assist. Now that's a great way to start a busy day at Mt. Hood Meadows!

On a personal note - I want to thank all of our guests for wearing face masks and socially distancing in our lift lines. Working the HRE and Shooting Star lines, everyone was masked, patient and maintaining comfortable distancing. I also want to commend our hard-working lift operators, who go out there every day to set the mazes, manage the lines and assist our guests, while reminding everyone to stay safe. This really is an awesome team!

Dave Tragethon
VP Sales and Marketing