MOUNT HOOD, Ore. — Late September snow is not out of the ordinary on Mount Hood. For many it can feel like the winter is coming on a little fast. For others, the early season powder is a sign it is almost time for winter fun on the mountain.
“We love it when we get early season snow,” Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Mount Hood Meadows Dave Tragethon said.
Trageton measured between five and eight inches of snow from Friday into Sunday afternoon at the base of Mount Hood Meadows. That accumulation is a good thing when you’re in the ski business.
“September snow is not all that uncommon, but when we get it, it just gets everybody so excited and revved up for the season,” he said.
The first snowfall can get skiers and snowboarders itching to start the season, but just because there is measurable snow in September does not mean slopes will be opening any time soon.
“As great as this snow is, we don’t expect that it’s going to last until we get open for the season,” Tragethon said. “If it does that’s great. If it doesn’t, we have some more on-hill grooming that we need to do.”
Depending on the snowfall in the fall Tragethon thinks Mount Hood Meadows could open for preview weekends as early as the end of October. They usually aim to open for the winter season by Thanksgiving.
“There’s always the possibility we will, with a good base and a forecast, that we could open before Thanksgiving,” he said. “But when Thanksgiving rolls around, that’s when we’re really hopeful we can be open on a daily basis.”
A bit further up the mountain it was a busy day at Timberline Lodge. The slopes there are still closed until the start of the winter season, but that didn’t stop avid snowboarder Judah Larson. He hiked up the mountain to get a taste of the fresh powder.
“As I was taking my turns there was dry powder blowing off my board and it was beautiful,” Larson said. “And for the time of year, you just can’t ask for better than this. It was awesome.”
Larson has been snowboarding for 30 years now and knows the mountain well, but early snow never gets old. He could not help but take advantage of it.
“These little windows this early in the season can be real short lived. So, you got to go now because it’s probably going to melt away before winter officially starts,” Larson said.
You don’t have to ski or snowboard to enjoy the white stuff. Olivia Haines made the hour drive from Colton, Oregon to Timberline Sunday. She and her friend came just to see the snow.
“It’s nice because we haven’t had snow in a long time and last year, we didn’t have that much snow,” she said. “And it’s still September.”
Back in lower elevation down at Mount Hood Skibowl, things look a bit different. There is a lot less snow, but it was still delightfully dusted. Their website estimates they will be open by early December.