This past weekend Mt. Hood Meadows, OR, experienced major traffic and parking jams. Skiers and snowboarders heading to the resort spent hours in traffic, both coming and going. Even after the holiday traffic is beginning to peter out, many ski areas are still experiencing crowds.
Like many other areas, Mt. Hood Meadows has experienced an influx of traffic. This past weekend was especially bad. After a massive storm cycle had just moved through, everyone headed up to the mountains to enjoy the pow. However, parking lots were filled to the max, and local highways were at a standstill. Some waited in traffic for five hours to get to the nearest town Government Camp, just 11 miles away from the area.
In a preemptive effort to prepare for MLK weekend, the resort plans to cut off the sale of multiple passes. Mt. Hood Meadows offers multiple different passes, an all-access pass, a value pack, as well as a night pass. In December, the resort stopped selling all-access passes to diminish both roadway traffic, as well as traffic at the area itself. Now the mountain plans to pause the sale of the night passes as well as the value pass.
Ending the sale of night passes will hopefully allow daytime parking traffic to leave, which will enable current night pass holders to find a parking space with ease. This season all-access pass sales were decreased by 40% compared to pre-pandemic seasons. Not only will passes of these kinds be unavailable from now on, but the ski area plans to limit the amount of same-day tickets sold to fine-tune the expected number of visitors each day.
The resort says that part of the jam is related to the ongoing covid pandemic. Not only are fewer people carpooling, but there has been a decrease in the use of mass transit to and from the area. As a result, more cars are commuting on the highways as well as contributing to fuller parking lots. They plan on plowing more parking lots in preparation for the upcoming weekend.