Mt Hood: lifts closed, roads dangerous as storm hits

Weather

ODOT called the driving conditions "hazardous"

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A winter storm pummeled Mt. Hood on Saturday, and road conditions are only getting worse. The Oregon Department of Transportation has advised that drivers avoid the mountain if at all possible until Monday morning.

All lift operations were suspended for the day just before 2 p.m. due to high winds, according to the SkiHood website. A Mt. Hood Meadows official described the incoming weather as “a nasty big bad wolf” storm. Lifts will not reopen for night skiing, and some Sunday programs, such as the SnoBlasters, TrailBlazers, and High School, have also been canceled.

“By about noon, we were down to one lift, the blue chair lift and during that hour we experienced an 84 mile-per-hour wind gust at the top of Mt. Hood Express and we said it is time to make the decision to postpone today,” said Dave Tragethon of Mt. Hood Meadows. “We are going to basically hang it up today and we will set our sights on tomorrow.”

With the strong winds, there was also a concern about falling trees. Tragethon said staff noticed that some trees had fallen along the sides of some trails. With accumulations of 1-2 inches an hour at times, they were also concerned about snow piling up around tree wells. Skiers can fall into those and get trapped. Thankfully, no skiers were injured on Mt. Hood Saturday.

ODOT: Exercise caution

The Oregon Department of Transportation released a warning for the dangerous road conditions up to Mt. Hood on Saturday.

Due to heavy snow, high winds, poor visibility and numerous spinouts, ODOT has called the driving conditions hazardous. ODOT closed parts of Oregon 35 and said that other closures may be necessary as the storm progresses.

ODOT warned travelers to avoid Mt. Hood if possible until Monday when the mountain will hopefully be seeing improved conditions.

Government Camp snow. Jan. 11, 2020. (Courtesy: ODOT)

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