Photo by Jay Chrisman

A foot of fresh snow and a blast of cold air have brought winter back to Mount Hood just in time for skiers and snowboarders worried that the season might end before it really began.

Timberline got 16 inches of new snow from Wednesday to Friday afternoon. Meadows got 12 inches and Skibowl got 9 inches. And the seven-day forecast is calling for very cold temperatures next week, so it shouldn't all melt away this time.

The snow was excellent at Meadows Thursday, light and silky and fresh. Crowds were thin, and the day cleared up for a sweet morning of blue skies, sunshine and untouched tree lines. The snow resumed at about 2 pm and continued filling in tracked-up spots all night.

That is not to say that things are back to normal. There are still bare ridges that should be covered with snow, many exposed rocks and stumps, and sizable patches of brush and bear grass sticking up through the snow at lower elevations. Heather Canyon still needs several of feet of heavy snow to allow Meadows employees to build bridges over the creeks and open the steeps. Skibowl is still waiting on more snow to open the Upper and Lower Bowl chairlifts at Skibowl West. Cooper Spur has not opened at all.

But the snow situation is looking WAY better on Mount Hood than it was five days ago.

Here is a video from Pierce Hodges and Meadows showing just how good conditions were Thursday:

And here are some photos shot by Meadows snow reporter Jay Chrisman: