Let’s Talk Summer Snow-Pack

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Q: Is there Real Snow™ in the summer on Mt. Hood?
A: Yes, there is real snow, in fact there is always snow. Mt. Hood is a dormant volcano that reaches to 11,239 ft. Many mountain ranges experience severe swings in snow pack due to the surplus or lack of precipitation in the winter. While this is true of Mt. Hood as well, the four aspects of the mountain house twelve different glaciers including the Palmer Glacier and Palmer Snow field where Windells’ terrain park is built.

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We Ski and Ride Here! Overview of the Windells Park on the Palmer Snowfield

Q: How does the snow last all summer?
A: Mt. Hood receives an average of 430 inches of snow (about 36 ft.) atop a preexisting glacier of varying depths, and because of this, the snow pack in the Windells park remains deep all year around. At any given point we can have between 30 and 60 feet of snow for campers to ski and ride on!

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Enough real snow to set stable terrain park features? Yep!

Q: Does the snow melt at all?
A: Yes, the snow does melt, but less quickly due to the endothermic temperatures of summer. The majority of snow melt happens slowly on a surface level; this being said, because there is such an abundance of snow, we always have enough snow for a sunny and sick time. 

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Enough Real Snow™ for a natural snake run? You betcha!

Q: Is it safe to ski and snowboard on a glacier?
A: There are two sides to this. Yes and no. Windells’ Mt. Hood on-hill facilities are located safely on the Palmer snow field, on a portion of the glacier where there are no crevasses. Snow fields are vast, dense areas of a permanent accumulation of snow and ice, found on mountainous terrain (like Mount Hood). Home to the Palmer Snow field and the Windells’ park, Timberline Resort has strict policies and barricades that mark dangerous access to glacial hazards, this is where skiing and snowboarding on a glacier can become dangerous. Rest assured that neither Windells staff or campers are granted access to boundary lines, under any circumstance. We might be adrenaline junkies, but we are safe, law-abiding skiers and snowboarders that want to slide downhill for the rest of our lives! Campers receive supervision 100% of the time on-hill, and Windells requires every camper to ride within the group, under the close watch of trained coaches.

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This image shows snow-depth from the edge of the Palmer Snowfield, outside of the Windells boundary. Access is not granted to Windells staff or campers under any circumstances

Q: What makes Mt. Hood summer skiing and snowboarding more premier than other places attempting to ski or ride in the summer?
A: We pride ourselves in years of operational success, lending it self to years of glacial knowledge. Windells has been operating on Mount Hood since 1990 and not only do we know the mountain, we understand the mountain. Due to the Palmer Glacier, and Old Man Winter that hangs out all summer, we have 2,000 vertical feet of wide open, above timber line skiing and snowboarding. While we do not knock other operations, we can confidently say that there is no where else you can ride a real mountain on Real Snow™ year around.

Comments

  1. Any thoughts on what the glacier conditions will be like this summer after one of the driest winters in year? Will the hill be operational this summer regardless of how much precipitation comes in the next couple months

    • Nick Visconti says:

      Hey Twoplusblue,

      You are correct, this winter has been unusually dry. It has been severely difficult to maintain snowpack at lower elevations. However, Oregon’s three wettest months of the year are March, April and May. We are hopeful for coming cold fronts and precipitation. Also, Timberline resort’s summer snow field, where Windells is located, rests at high elevations. The media has slammed lower elevation for lack of snow, but our operational site has received a descent amount of snow thus far, and again we are very hopeful for much more. Timberline and Windells will not be extremely affected due to this years warm precipitation.

Trackbacks

  1. […] snowboarding camps all summer long. There are natural aspects that cater to year-long snow on the Palmer snow field that we discussed in a recent post, but there is a tactic that Timberline Resort has used summer after summer to maintain skiable […]

  2. […] snowboarding camps all summer long. There are natural aspects that cater to year-long snow on the Palmer snow field that we discussed in a recent post, but there is a tactic that Timberline Resort has used summer after summer to maintain skiable […]

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