Mt. Hood Meadows logo

The Upper Mountain Assault has Begun for Sunday

Categories: Guest Connection Media Center Weather Blog

Steve Warila deices the Vista Chairlift at Mt. Hood Meadows - again!Wow. Look at the top tower of Vista. Since Wednesday afternoon, we have received almost seven - SEVEN inches of precipitation at Meadows. Oh for the would a been could a beens - that could have been another seven - SEVEN FEET of snow. Most of it fell as a wintery mix at the top of this lift, and you can tell from the icy build up just how severe the weather has been on the upper mountain.

But our crew is relentless when it comes to deicing. As soon as the storm lifted and in the face of 40 - 50 mph wind gusts, long time tower climber and ice banger Steve Warila (our VP of Planning) was the first to get to the top, breaking trail and coaxing his snowmobile over a treacherous ridge of ice that mere mortals wouldn’t be able to navigate. Within 40 minutes Steve freed that tower from it’s icy bond, and moved on to the next tower.

It’s because of team members like Steve and our lift maintenance crew that Vista has a greater than 50% chance of operating Sunday, although it could be delayed due to continued deicing and boundary replacement.

Cascade - Less than 50% on Sunday. We will be actively recovering from this storm. Cascade ran on night drive through the storm to prevent the haul line from icing up; but we don’t know how many sheaves it may have burned that require replacement. The towers on Cascade are just as iced up as the top of Vista and will need to be deiced before we can assess any sheave damage.There’s also avalanche mitigation and boundary replacement to do before it could open. Fingers crossed.

Here’s some great news - both Private Reserve and Heather Canyon are highly likely (greater than 90%) for Sunday, pending patrol evaluation in the morning. Should be some awesome powder stashes - so follow the rules of - ride with a buddy, stick with your buddy and avoid tree wells!

Here's a video of the freshies from Saturday - and why we are working so hard to open up more of the mountain for you on Sunday!

Here’s your heads up in advance. This storm has been raging since Wednesday. It was downright nasty up here Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. We even joked about having plenty of parking spaces. Saturday winds played with our lifts but it was a decent day for seeking freshies in the storm. Now here comes Sunday - the first sunny day in a week. AND - here comes everybody!

You know the drill - get here early - we expect lots will fill early - main lot by 8 AM, Sunrise by 8:30 AM and HRM and Twilight before 10 AM. At that time we will allow drop offs at the bottom of the west-bound entrance ramp (coming from Hood River on Highway 35) and we will shuttle from there. Passengers can be dropped off at this location as well, although the driver will need to come back later to pick them up. On our busiest days lots reopen between 12:30 and 1:00 PM.

Another option is to plan on arriving after 1 PM and fill a space left by an early arriver. Lifts run until 9 PM Sunday, so there is plenty of time for some awesome turns in the afternoon and evening.

There's the Free Hood River shuttle that picks up at the Event Site in Hood River. Then you don't need to worry about parking - it drops off right in front of the lodge!

Most importantly, drive with care Sunday - roads will be snow packed and icy requiring traction devices. Be prepared and be patient.