Portland-area skiers and boarders who stowed away their gear for the season after spring break may want to rethink that decision, after this week's massive April snowstorm dumped more than five feet of new powder on Mount Hood and environs—and the wintry weather isn’t done yet.
Timberline Lodge is reporting 67 inches of new snow over the past seven days, and more snow is in the forecast for the weekend and early next week, with snow levels expected to hover around 1,000 feet. Mount Hood Meadows is reporting 16 inches of new snow in just the last two days.
Both areas have spring passes on sale now—$237 at Timberline and $249 at Meadows for adult passes— with discounts for seniors and those under 25. The Meadows season is currently set to end on May 3, while Timberline’s spring skiing goes through May 30. (Budget favorite Skibowl, which is located at a lower elevation, has already closed up shop for the winter season; meanwhile in the Central Cascades Hoodoo Ski Area’s last day is Sunday, April 17, though it too has lots of new snow.)
April’s snow bonanza is also good news for the coming wildfire season. (For proof, look no further than this time last year, when the Multnomah Fire Defense Board issued a burn ban on April 14, due to hot and dry conditions. It kind of puts this week’s periodic random hailstorms into perspective.)
Per the National Resource Conservation Service’s update this week, snowpack in the Willamette Valley and northwest Oregon is now above average, at about 110 percent of historical levels; this week’s storms have also pushed up levels in the Hood River Valley.
That doesn’t mean that the state as a whole is in the clear. Snowpack is still below normal levels in much of southern and eastern Oregon, which remains in historic drought.
But late-season snow like this is especially helpful at staving off an early snowmelt that feeds into exceptionally dry summers.
If you’re driving up to the mountain this weekend, the National Weather Service says you should be prepared for icy roads and snowy conditions. Before you head out to the mountain, have a look at ODOT’s TripCheck for travel alerts, closures, and road conditions.
Bring snow chains or have traction tires on or at the ready, a shovel, blankets, a flashlight, a first aid kit, and extra food, water, and clothing. And don’t forget that you still need an Oregon Sno-Park permit, through April 30, or you’re risking a $30 fine.