Meadows to open with six chairlifts on Saturday

By Al Thomas, Columbian Outdoors Reporter



Helped by an early blast of snow, Mount Hood Meadows announced Friday it will operate six chairlifts beginning Saturday to start the 2011-12 season.

Mount Hood Express, Shooting Star Express, Daisy, Easy Rider, Buttercup and Ballroom Carpet will run from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m.

Dave Tragethon, executive director of communications, said resort officials are hopeful to operate the new Stadium Express quad chairlift for the first time on Saturday. A launching ceremony is set for 8:30 a.m.

Meadows has 39 inches of snow, after getting 23 inches in 24 hours overnight Thursday.

Chairlift tickets will be $64 for adults, $59 for senior ages 65-69 and $39 for juniors ages 7-14 and seniors age 70-plus. Youth age 6 and younger can ski for $10.

This marks Mount Hood Meadows third consecutive year of opening before Thanksgiving. The area open Nov. 20 in 2010 and Nov. 11 in 2009.

Retail outlets at the resort and the equipment rental center will be open, as will four restaurants or food service outlets. Group and private skiing lessons also will be available.

Timberline Lodge — Timberline opened for its winter season on Friday. This is the resort’s 75th anniversary year with a variety of special activities planned between now and April.

At least two chairlifts will operate this weekend with full operation by Thanksgiving.

“We always love to be able to get the lower mountain open with good conditions in time for the Thanksgiving holiday,” said Jon Tullis, public affairs director. “Early season conditions are very good. Skiers and snowboarders are going to be very thankful.”

Timberline had 17 degrees and 50 inches of snow late Friday afternoon.

Bruno’s Pucci and Molly’s chairlifts operated from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday.

Mount Hood Skibowl — The resort reported 22 inches on Friday at its base area. It remains closed.