Meadows has been investing in snowmaking, grooming and technology.

A new flow park on Shooting Star Ridge and allegedly improved AT&T service at the base lodge are on the way as Mt. Hood Meadows heads into winter with a batch of new initiatives involving grooming, parks, and technology.

Meadows is partnering with Snowpark Technologies to improve its terrain parks for freestyle riders, including a new flow park of connected features dropping down from Shooting Star Ridge. SPT helped design the highly popular Meadows Spring Park off of Vista Ridge last season, and the partnership continues this season.

Meadows spokesman Dave Tragethon says the resort is getting guidance from STP to improve Shipyard and build something cool on Shooting Star. "Based on how good the spring park was last year, we know we are moving in the right direction," he says.

The park plan is to close the low-elevation Park Place at Hood River Meadows, to install a new ropetow and new features at Shipyard where the freestyle competitions are held, and to build something on Shooting Star that provides entertainment for freestyle riders without interfering with recreational skiers and snowboarders.

Along with the ongoing partnership with SPT, Meadows is also initiating new collaborations with AT&T, PistenBully and Burton.

The deal with AT&T is a long-overdue metrocell at the base to improve voice and data connections at and around the main lodges. The pathetic AT&T cell phone connection at Meadows has been a sore spot for Mount Hood regulars for years and has caused quite a few people to switch over to Verizon and other competitors.

AT&T is completing the metrocell this week, and Meadows will rent it annually. The upgrade should fix the problem at least somewhat, although AT&T customers should not expect to be connected while riding the lifts and slopes or while enjoying a beer at the Mazot.

Meadows also has signed a new three-year partnership with PistenBully, the super-precise line of grooming machines built by the German firm Kassbohrer All Terrain Vehicles, or KATV. PistenBully partnered with SPT and Meadows on the Spring Park, and Tragethon says the grooming team was extremely impressed with the capabilities of the PistenBully cutters.

Three of the 16 groomers Meadows runs are PistenBullies, but that percentage will grow quickly as a result of the new contract. Tragethon says the end result will be a better groom that lasts longer into the day.

Finally, there is the new partnership with Burton. Meadows has been working closely with Burton on programs to get kids into snowboarding, including a lively indoor skills workout deigned for children in gym class. that collaboration was hampered by the fact that Meadows was not a "Burton mountain."

As of this year, Meadows is officially a Burton mountain. That means no more Rossignol or Salomon snowboards in the rental shop. Anyone renting a snowboard will get a Burton. Guests will still be able to demo other brands of snowboards, but all basic rentals will be Burtons. Burton will also consult with Meadows on instruction techniques and terrain park learning.

Also new at Meadows this season:

  1. A fourth snowmaking cannon;
  2. An improved website upgraded by Portland-based Isite Design, with responsive design that helps it look sharp on phones as well as computers;
  3. A new Southside season pass for $289 that accesses Vista Express, Daisy, Easy Rider, Buttercup, the Ballroom Carpet and the Shipyard rope tow. This could be a good deal for beginners and also for freestylers, since the moderately pitched Southside has four freestyle parks, a banked slalom and a super pipe. 

With 12 inches of fresh snow at 6250 feet as of October 28, Meadows is pushing season pass sales hard. Pass prices will rise this Sunday, November 2.

Here are a few tasty photos by Mt. Hood photographer extraordinaire Grant Myrdal to get you ready for winter:

Images by Grant Myrdal