Early snow could mean Mt. Hood Meadows opens sooner than anticipated

Mt. Hood Meadows plans to open on Nov. 25, but if the weather cooperates you could be taking turns down the mountain even sooner.

Cold weather and some snow up on Mount Hood are erasing memories of Portland’s hot October and encouraging winter sports aficionados.

“The new snow is causing excitement and hopefully that means good news for the upcoming season,” said Dave Tragethon, spokesperson for Meadows, on Monday.

“In the past, we’ve offered preview days or weekends if snow conditions allowed before Thanksgiving,” he said. “A preview day is a limited offering of lifts and terrain in advance of going to daily operations.”

So, how excited should you let yourself become?

Well, according to Colby Neuman, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Portland, it’s really much too early to know how snow will look in November, but there are a few hopeful signs.

This winter is a La Niña year, and, according to Neuman, in the Cascades and on Mount Hood, “La Niña’s tend to do better” when it comes to snow, on average, than other years.

“It doesn’t guarantee anything, unfortunately,” he said, but noted, “The odds are edged towards the mountains getting at least normal if not above average snow.”

And while they can’t predict November snows yet, October snow is about imminent.

According to Neuman, during the next 36 hours, places above 5,000 feet should expect between 8 and 16 inches of new snow.

For reference, the base of Mt. Hood Meadows is about 5,000 feet.

“The ski resorts will definitely get their fair share of snow,” Neuman said.

And even though it’s a month before they expect to open, all that snow can’t be a bad thing for the upcoming ski season.

“As it continues to pile up you can have more confidence that at least some of that snow will still be there,” Neuman said, “producing a base in the Cascades or on Mt. Hood.”

— Lizzy Acker

503-221-8052; lacker@oregonian.com; @lizzzyacker

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