Meadows prepares to open for distanced days on the slopes
Though the pandemic cut Mt. Hood Meadows' last season short, staff of the 52-year-old ski resort has used the past months to prepare for a safe winter season.
The current plan is for Meadows to open for a few preview days around Thanksgiving, Thursday, Nov. 26, and move into daily operations toward the beginning of December.
"Our COVID operating plan for this season is uniquely different than any of our prior 52 winter seasons," CEO Matthew Drake said in a statement. "Physical distancing, face masks, regular sanitizing, and individual responsibility and accountability will be required for our team and guests. We have re-engineered every aspect of our operations to achieve social and physical distancing throughout the resort and inside our buildings.
"The health of our team is our number one priority. By keeping our team from contracting or being exposed to the virus, we will be able to successfully operate and prevent exposing our guests to the virus. Our expectation is that each one of us will follow protocols to help keep each other healthy."
Face masks will be required whenever indoors with the exception of when people are seated for dining, and also required on shuttles, in parking lots, in lift lines, on chairlifts and all other outdoor locations where a minimum 6-foot distance is not possible.
There will be limited numbers of lift tickets available each day, with quantity determined based on anticipated pass holder attendance. You will need to order these date-specific tickets online in advance of your visit. Season passes are now on sale.
"The dynamic daily ticketing system will allow the purchase of designated time slots in advance to rigorously manage arrivals and flow into the resort, which will be especially important on peak days," a statement from resort staff explained.
Season pass holders will not need to make a reservation. However, adults and children planning to take a lesson will need to reserve and pay for lessons in advance and Meadows will require a pre-arrival health screening for lesson participants.
Metering access to the Sahale Lodge may be necessary, depending on attendance. With the addition of the Sahale Lodge, 23,000 square feet of skier services and dining space have been added to the resort, and Meadows has upgraded the North and South Lodge air handling systems to increase filtration through negative ionization and additional filter densities to improve the air quality in the buildings. Restrooms in the lodge will be supplemented by the addition of portable toilets outside around the resort for those who'd prefer to avoid the lodge. Food from the lodge will be "grab-and-go" to further promote staff and visitor safety.
"It is up to every individual, both ski area employee and guest, to do their part to help protect the health and safety of our skiing and snowboarding community. Following requirements to mitigate the risk of infection is part of the social contract between ski area operator and guest," Drake added. "Our excitement for the upcoming season stems from the preparedness we have taken since last March to lay the groundwork for a successful and sustained return to skiing and snowboarding this winter."
For more information about Meadows, visit skihood.com. The resort has added a page to its website for updates on COVID-19 related news, which can be found at www.skihood.com/en/covid19-update.
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.