Friday, November 25, 2011/lk
Local skiers once again get an early opportunity to hit the powder this year.
Mt. Hood Meadows will open with limited lifts and runs today after several days of snow gave a depth of 30 inches at the resort with more snow higher in the mountain.
More snow was forecast to hit the resort Friday night giving it up to a foot more powder.
Buttercup and Easy Rider are scheduled to be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. today with more lifts possible depending on snow level.
Other lifts which could be opening include Mt. Hood Express, Shooting Star Express and the resort's new Stadium Express.
Meadows spokesman Dave Tragethon said the Mt. Hood Express run was likely to be open at some point Saturday and that Stadium Express should open over the weekend as well.
"We're going to have an informal launching ceremony for it either Saturday or Sunday," he said of the new Stadium run.
The opening marks the third year in a row Meadows has opened before Thanksgiving. It opened Nov. 11 in 2009 and Nov. 20 last year. As far as Tragethon could recall, it may be the best string of early openings that Meadows has had.
"A lot of things have to happen for us to open early," Tragethon said. "First and foremost we need to have the snow conditions; but we are also so proud of our team for being able to get summer work projects done early and for hiring and training new staff so that we can have an early opening."
Tragethon does warn skiers that due to the early opening, early season conditions exist on many areas of the mountain, with snow concealing potential hazards, and advised all skiers to stay on groomed trails.
He also said the resort is expecting flurries throughout the weekend so drivers should expect winter driving conditions, and also should be sure to have an updated Sno-Park pass.
"Come on up, have some fun and take some runs," he said of his advice to anyone coming up this weekend. "Just don't burn yourself out on the first days of a long season."