Mt Hood Meadows' Ski Industry Best Employee Safety Program award winner again prioritizes team health and wellbeing in anticipation of opening. They say:
As we approach the opening of our 54th season, we are stoked to share with you our COVID operational plans. Having come through last season without a single traceable workplace transmission of COVID, and being awarded the Best Employee Safety Program by the National Ski Areas Association, we are approaching this season with a renewed commitment to keep our team healthy so they can enrich the lives of our guests. Again this season we are prioritizing the health and wellbeing of our team which we will accomplish with the cooperation of our guests, just like last season.
First and foremost each person is responsible for their own safety and the safety of those around them.
We encourage guests to take all precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including getting vaccinated. We are offering our team a $200 vaccination incentive or they will need to be tested weekly - in compliance with Federal mandate. And in accordance with published Oregon Health Authority requirements, masks must be worn indoors at all times except while actively eating or drinking in our designated indoor dining areas. Outdoors masks will be required in lift lines or other outdoor locations where physical distancing is not possible.
What does this look like at the lifts?
As mentioned, as long as Oregon mandates outdoor masking around others, you will need to correctly wear a mask (covering your nose and mouth - no ventholes) while in our lift lines. But this season we will mix passengers from different parties on our chairlifts and plan to load four to a quad (and two to a double). You may request loading only with members of your own party, but our goal is to load chairs efficiently and reduce the amount of people standing around in a line next to each other.
What about indoors?
We plan on offering indoor seating for dining this season - that includes the Sahale Grill (Waterfall Room and Raptors Roost), the Bullwheel Bar, the Alpenstube and loft, the Schuss, Vertical, the Renaissance Cafe, Higher Grounds, and all the second level of the North lodge near Fresh Tracks. Thanks to Sahale, we will be able to offer ample indoor seating so our guests can spread out while dining. Tables are spaced apart more than pre-COVID.
Masks are required indoors at all times, except while seated and actively eating or drinking in these designated areas. There won’t be any time limits for those spending time indoors this season - but we do ask that you wear a mask and socially distance yourself from others if you are spending an extended period of time inside.
Shuttling - masks are required!
Our main shuttling will be between our Sunrise and Hood River Meadows parking lots to the main lodge, and all passengers will be required to wear masks while riding in our shuttles. When possible we’ll open windows, but we will load our shuttles to capacity for the relatively short rides between parking lots. Again we urge you to take all precautions to protect yourself (and others) from infection, including getting vaccinated.
Meadows Learning Center and Rentals
We are excited to announce that we will return to offering some full day lessons with indoor supervision and lunch for kids age 7 - 14 (including our popular Sno-Blaster multi-week programs). For younger kids (age 6 and younger) we will offer half day lessons or privates without indoor supervision. Masks will be required indoors at all times, except while the kids are eating at lunch and snack breaks.
Unfortunately, we will not be able to provide Day Care services for our guests this season.
We are so grateful to have the Sahale Lodge to operate our rental center and ski school from this season. We designed the guest journey to spend the least amount of time indoors by requiring advance online purchase of rental and lesson packages and introducing a boot bridge which expedites the boot fitting process while assuring the best fit. Skis and snowboards are delivered outside right by the lesson meeting place in close proximity to the bottom of the Buttercup beginner lift, so we have dramatically decreased the amount of time guests linger indoors compared to previous operations in the North Lodge.
Visitation Management begins with purchasing online in advance
Last season we successfully managed our day to day and even hour by hour visitation by limiting certain pass and ticket products, based on the daily visitation forecast. We dynamically priced our pass products and are no longer making available non-date specific tickets (such as Costco) that we can’t manage. With our dynamic lift tickets, we can control the amount of tickets available by day-part each day - so if we have a forecast for a big turnout on a Saturday morning, we can cut off the sales of 9 AM tickets. Bottom line - you should not plan on coming to Meadows without first purchasing your lift access in advance (either a pass or a day or night ticket.) Day of tickets are not guaranteed - and advance purchasing of tickets (as well as lesson and rental products) allow us to prepare for your visit so we can fulfill your purchase and get you on the mountain faster.
Keeping it outdoors at the Nordic Center
Just like last season, only staff will be allowed inside the Nordic Center. Masks must be worn when in line for or approaching ticket/rental window areas. Masks optional at other times outdoors, when six foot distancing can be maintained.
For those who visited Meadows last season - we thank you for your cooperation and helping us keep the lifts turning all season long! Here’s what to expect for this season.
More emphasis on:
- Getting vaccinated
- Indoor seating for dining, but still requiring masks and social distancing indoors when not eating or drinking
- Outdoor masking while in lift lines
- Staying home if you are feeling ill or have any COVID-related symptoms
- Adherence to our protocols (yes this means we will pull tickets and passes for those who choose not to cooperate or who exhibit aggressive or defiant behavior)
- Advance purchasing your products so we can manage visitation
- Indoor accommodating / supervision in CLC
- Group gatherings indoors (catered corporate / wedding events and social functions)
- A possible return to program shuttling / Park and Ride
Our policies and expectations will change as the situation and regulations guide us, so again this season we ask you to:
Be flexible, be patient, be kind.
We’ll see you at Your Mountain Home soon!