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Read and Obey All Signs, Warnings and Hazard Markings

Categories: Safety Guest Connection

An orange "LOOK" sign warns skiers and snowboarders to look for other traffic at Mt. Hood Meadows

Your Responsibility Code # 6


Mt Hood Meadows uses a variety of signs, discs, bamboo and ropes for markings hazards, creating internal and external boundaries, and separating different types of terrain.

A bright orange trails merge sign warns skiers to be aware of merging traffic at Mt. Hood MeadowsSigns That Warn

The large orange signs mounted on trees or posted on the snow reinforce Your Responsibility Code duties us to be aware of our surroundings, ready to encounter hazards and capable of avoiding incidents. "TRAILS MERGING," "TRAILS CROSSING," and "LOOK" signs are all reminders of the basic duty to avoid collisions.

Bright orange "SLOW" signs warn skiers and snowboarders to slow down at Mt. Hood MeadowsMHM displays "SLOW" signs in some beginner areas, busy intersections and at chairlift bases. These Slow Zones can also be identified on the Trail Map. SLOW signs do create additional duties beyond skiing in control and avoiding collisions. Within Slow Zones, we ask that all guests make turns to reduce speed and demonstrate control. In Slow Zones we need everyone to go with the flow of traffic, greatly reducing speed when busy, and giving extra space when passing.  
Hosts and Patrol often maintain a presence in Slow Zones and may use hand gestures to request slower speeds. Please know that a request to slow down is not intended as an accusation but rather as a safety reminder. You will know you've passed through the slow zone when you are no longer are facing "SLOW" signs or fencing. After leaving a Slow Zone, you are welcome to speed up as long as you maintain control and awareness. 

A sign advises skiers and snowboarders what access gates are open with rope line strung to the gate at Mt. Hood Meadows

Rope lines, oh, rope lines!

There’s so many of them! What do they all mean? Firstly, it’s important to note that they can mean different things at different resorts.

Here at MHM all ropes communicate a single, simple message: Do not go this way; Do not duck this rope; Do not cross this rope; Do not jump over this rope; Do not cut this rope.

Some rope lines at MHM designate the ski area boundary. For example, our South Boundary from the top of Vista Express to the bottom of Easy Rider, is roped and signed. The adjacent White River Canyon and neighboring Green Apple Creek backcountry areas should be accessed only by travelling uphill outside this boundary. MHM’s agreement with the USFS doesn’t allow exits into the backcountry.

A ropeline tells skiers and snowboarders not to enter terrain that has been closed at Mt. Hood MeadowsRope lines also distinguish our Expert-Only terrain that can only be accessed through open gates. It is critical that those who choose to enter our extremely difficult ◊◊ terrain take note of the extra warnings and additional recommendations for these areas. Expert Terrain warnings can be found online at, on the Trail Map, on permanent signs along these rope lines, and sometimes on discs at Expert Only gates.

Signage at Mt. Hood Meadows at a freestyle terrain park and a snowboard raceOther ropes can designate terrain reserved for specialized use. Freestyle terrain parks and racing venues are ‘roped-off’ with informational signage at un-roped entrances. Please read all signs to ensure you’re aware of what is going on and whether the terrain is open to you.

An orange disk warns skiers and snowboarders to avoid a creek at Mt. Hood MeadowsAnd finally let's discuss hazard markings

Most important to note here is that many hazards found at ski resorts are inherent to the sport and inherent in the winter alpine environment. Inherent hazards should always be expected and can be too numerous to mark individually. Inherent hazards itemized within the Oregon Skier Statutes (state law) include “changing weather conditions, variations or steepness in terrain, snow or ice conditions, surface or subsurface conditions, bare spots, creeks and gullies, forest growth, rocks, stumps, lift towers and other structures and their components, collisions with other skiers, and a skier's failure to ski within the skier's own ability.”

MHM marks hazards that are less expected and more difficult to see. The decision to mark hazards is done on a sliding scale by considering both the nature of the hazard itself (inherent or not? serious or mild?) and by considering who may encounter that situation. We are more likely to mark a hazard within the groomed surface on an easier (green) or more difficult (blue) trail where we would expect guests with moderate experience, expectations and skills. We are less likely to mark a similar hazard when it is off-trail in most difficult (black) terrain. Within expert-only ◊◊ zones, we mark only the most serious and least expected hazards. Hazard markings are few here although the hazards are many. Here we use CAUTION, CLIFF AREA, CREEK BELOW and AVALANCHE AREA discs at access gates to warn guests generally about what types of unmarked hazards to expect within.

Caution signs on display at Mt. Hood MeadowsKeep in mind that our mountain home is a frozen volcano. It is not inherently safe but it can certainly be enjoyed safely. We’ll do our best to give you the information you need to play safely. Please do your part by reading and obeying the signs, warnings and hazard markings.

Thanks for taking the time to familiarize yourself with some of our warning signage and for following them when skiing at Meadows.