Changes at Mt. Hood Meadows Cater to Beginners

Mt. Hood Meadows Ski Resort made a number of changes before its 2014-15 season, including the introduction of its Southside Season Pass.
Mt. Hood Meadows Ski Resort made a number of changes before its 2014-15 season, including the introduction of its Southside Season Pass. Mt. Hood Meadows
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Mt. Hood Meadows Ski Resort, which attracts more than 400,000 visitors every season and boasts 12 chairlifts to more than 80 trails, typically opens to throngs of skiers and snowboarders around Thanksgiving each season, according to Dave Tragethon, executive director of social media and public relations for Mt. Hood Meadows. But warm temperatures and a lack of snowfall pushed Meadows’ daily opening about back to mid-December this season.

Eleven of the resort’s 12 lifts are now open, and the resort boasts a number of new additions and changes in 2015 that Tragethon hopes will be worth the wait for the skiers and snowboarders who come from around the region and country to enjoy Meadows’ slopes and views.

Mt. Hood Meadows Ski Resort boasts 12 chairlifts to more than 80 trails. The resort attracts 400,000 visitors every season.
Mt. Hood Meadows Ski Resort boasts 12 chairlifts to more than 80 trails. The resort attracts 400,000 visitors every season. Mt. Hood Meadows

New pass, aimed at beginners, highlights Mount Hood’s scenic south side

The biggest change at Meadows is the addition of the new Mt. Hood Meadows Southside Pass; the new pass offers unlimited access to Meadows’ beginner terrain, with opportunities to progress to more difficult runs.

The Southside Season Pass gives new skiers and snowboarders an opportunity to progress beyond the easiest runs and onto more intermediate terrain at a comfortable pace; whereas skiers were once limited to the easy Buttercup run under the old system, they are now free to progress to Ballroom Carpet, Fun Zone, Daisy, Easy Rider, Vista, and the Shipyard Rope Tow as they improve and want to challenge themselves. “We’re making a concerted effort to attract people to the sport and then do a better job of making sure they have a great first-day experience,” Tragethon says. “Certainly, the progression of the Southside Season Pass facilitates that very well.”

More experienced skiers and snowboarders might take interest in the Southside Season Pass, Tragethon says, because of the unique views available on the south side of Mount Hood. “When you ride the Vista lift up, it’s an amazing trip,” he says. “People would purchase that because of the view. You’re basically looking out over Mount Jefferson and into Central Oregon.”

The season-long pass is $289; for an additional $10, skiers and snowboarders receive three two-hour group lessons and unlimited rentals.

New opportunities for beginning snowboarders

Would-be snowboarders looking to learn the sport will have a new experience this season as well. Meadows partnered with Burton Snowboards to overhaul nearly every aspect of beginner lessons, from the equipment new snowboarders use to how they’re coached.

Burton Snowboards first outfitted Meadows with curved snowboards designed to keep beginners and children upright while navigating a variety of terrains; from there, Burton representatives coached Meadows’ instructors on how the new equipment works and how to to train snowboarders to use the boards. “We want people to have fun immediately, not be intimidated, not be fearful of getting hurt,” Tragethon says. “This Burton system allows us to do that.”

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