We’re liking what we are seeing as this storm is shaping up. The systems are converging as are the forecasts - we’re going to get a foot or two of snow through the weekend. And that’s GREAT news!
Now here’s the tricky part.
The freezing level is somewhere above 9,000 feet this afternoon, and it will be plunging down to 2,500 feet Saturday morning - with a half to three-quarters of an inch of moisture expected during that time. Depending on when the precipitation arrives, that could mean 5 - 8 inches of fresh powder when the lifts turn Saturday morning, or it could mean iced over lifts. Either way we’ll take it as the storm progresses into a powder maker through Saturday and Sunday, and even into next week.
So here’s what we’re doing to prepare for it:
Vista Express was deiced today, even though high upper mountain winds prevented it from running. Cascade has a good 10 inch coating of ice on the line, and sustained 40 - 50 mph winds prevented any deicing on that lift. It was interesting watching the ice-coated cable be blown back and forth by the wind. The snow surface on the upper mountain is hard packed and iced over (skating rink) so new snow will be very welcome (and needed) to freshen things up. However, operations of Vista or Cascade Saturday is highly unlikely, and icing and storm in progress may prevent operations Sunday. We’ll see what the weather brings us.
Tonight we are focusing on our lower lifts to prevent icing up. Our night lift maintenance crew will run Hood River Express, Shooting Star and Mt. Hood Express as the freezing level drops. If there’s freezing rain, they’ll do everything possible to run those lifts through the night, or until the temp drops low enough to prevent icing up. That would avoid a lengthy deicing callout for several lifts in the morning. If temps drop fast enough and freezing rain is avoided, then Hallelujah! we’ll be that much further ahead for Saturday morning.
We advise you follow our lead and get an early start Saturday. The freshies will attract a lot of pent up powder pursuers, and an orderly commute to the mountain will make it a much better day for everyone. Make sure you are prepared for winter driving conditions, icy and snowpacked roads with blowing snow. Consider taking the free shuttle from Hood River.
Travel safe and we’ll see you on Saturday!