mt-hood-meadows

Anyone ready to make turns on this side of the mountain?

EDITOR'S NOTE: This article was updated Friday morning to reflect the news that Meadows plans to open Cascade Express this weekend, offering far more terrain than was originally expected.

Mt. Hood Meadows will open for the first time of 2013-14 this weekend in spite of limited snow cover at lower elevations.

Dave Tragethon, executive director of marketing, sales and communications for Meadows, said the resort will operate some lifts this weekend but will not move to seven-days-a-week operations until more snow falls.

Meadows originally planned to run Buttercup, Easy Rider and the Ballroom Carpet from 9 to 4 on Saturday and Sunday but then announced Thursday night that it would also open Cascade Express, opening up far more terrain up to 7300 feet. Lift passes will sell for $29 for adults and will be free to kids 14 and under. The Shipyard Terrain Park will be open.

The Boulevard and Gulch runs off of Cascade will be open but resort managers warn that snow coverage is fairly thin and the trails will be much narrower than normal.

Meadows will open at 8 am Saturday and Sunday to start picture taking for season pass holders, and will start running the lifts at 9.

The Meadows grooming and maintenance crews have been hustling to make the most of the foot of fresh snow that fell on Mount Hood last weekend, with the help of a new snow trailer designed to haul bigger loads of snow from the parking lot to the hill.

The snow hauler is basically a retrofitted snowcat with a dump truck box bed used to harvest snow from the parking lot and transport it to base area lifts such as the Mt. Hood Express. The Meadows Parks Crew also has been using the harvested snow to build features in Shipyard for early-season freestyle riders.

The snow-moving job at Meadows was complicated earlier this week by an unfortunate warming pattern that turned the snow into rain Monday and melted away several inches of snow. As of 4:55 pm today, Meadows was reporting a base depth of 19 inches.

Timberline, which has the highest top elevation of the Mount Hood resorts with Palmer Snowfield at 8500 feet, has been operating each weekend since early October and plans to shift to seven days a week starting Friday.

Mt. Hood Skibowl, which has a base elevation of 3500 feet, lost much of its snow base this week and still needs quite a bit of new snow to open.

The weather forecast for Meadows is predicting clear skies and sunshine on Mount Hood all weekend, with highs rising into the mid-40s.