Born as a project to create jobs and stimulate the economy during the Great Depression, Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood has found itself again in the throes of a worldwide crisis.
This time, however, the crisis has brought Timberline to a halt.
The Oregonian reported this week that Timberline has laid off 471 employees as a result of the statewide stay-at-home order prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
RLK and Company, which operates the lodge and ski area, filed a notice with the state about the layoffs. The cuts encompass all areas of the operation, from servers and dishwashers to lift operators, groomers and even the hosts at Silcox Hut.
Images from the lodge’s webcams on Saturday depict a ghost town of a resort. (Someone asked on Twitter if the lodge might need a caretaker for the season, a lighthearted reference to “The Shining,” part of which was filmed at the lodge.)
Here are a couple pictures of the lodge from sunnier times — and here’s to those sunnier times returning to everyone at Timberline and elsewhere as soon as possible.
Thinking of getting up to Mount Hood for a hike? A night under the stars? A paddle across an alpine lake?
The coronavirus has two words for you: Think again.
Today, the Mt. Hood National Forest announced that it has temporarily closed all campgrounds, day-use sites, trailheads, Sno-Parks, fire lookouts, OHV areas and other developed recreation sites on the Mt. Hood National Forest.”
The reason, of course, is COVID-19 and the effort to contain it. In the Forest Service’s words, the closures aim to “support state and local measures directing people to stay home to save lives.”
The closures will be in effect until at least May 8, 2020.
Until we can get back out there, a few photos from some favorite Mount Hood sites.
Not sick as in sweet jumps or killer powder, but sick as in shut down due to the coronavirus.
The ski areas are just the latest in a growing string of business closures as the COVID-19 pandemic grows. (Soon after hearing about Meadows and Timberline, I saw that the famous Powell’s Books has decided to close all five of its Portland locations until March 31.)
Summit Ski Area on Mt. Hood is also closed, as is the ski area at Cooper Spur Mountain Resort on the mountain’s north side. That latter closure isn’t related to COVID-19; it’s a lack of adequate snow.
As of Sunday March 15, at 12:45 p.m., Mt. Hood Skibowl remained open and is the only ski area on the mountain to do so.
With the way things are going, that probably won’t be the case much longer.
Buy one, get one? Nope.
Try buy one, get two.
That’s the smokin’ deal that Timberline Lodge has offered on Cyber Monday for the past few years, and it’s hard to beat. For the price of just one single mid-week lift pass, you get the pass you paid for, plus two free mid-week passes that are good almost anytime Monday through Friday between December 2 and May 25, 2020, though not during winter break between Dec. 20 and Jan 1.
Even with those restrictions, there’s little complaining here. We’ve taken advantage of the deal in the past, and plan to again this year.
The sale runs through midnight Monday, Dec. 2.
You can also get the same deal in person on Black Friday, when Timberline will be at evo Portland from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
What’s more, Timberline announced that, thanks to some recent new snow, it will open for business on Thursday, Nov. 28. None of the other resorts on Hood have announced plans to open this week, but Meadows is harvesting snow and may have a few preview days this weekend.
Update 11/27/19: Meadows has made it official: It will open a few runs over the Thanksgiving weekend starting on Friday. In addition, Skibowl plans to open its tubing hill on Friday, Nov. 29, as does the Summit Ski Area in Government Camp.
For the most part, we’re fair-weather skiers. Springtime. Blue sky. Sunshine.
Softer snow, sure, but we’re largely OK with that.
But every year, we do get a couple winter runs in, usually thanks to Timberline’s Cyber Monday deal, which is a buy-one-get-two free pass deal they run every year the Monday after Thanksgiving. You have to use them midweek and not during the winter break, but otherwise they’re fair game.
We cashed in a few of those freebies on a cold Presidents’ Day this year — a day that shifted from bluebird skies to eerie whiteout conditions depending on where you were on the mountain and when.
It was a great way to start our 2019 ski season on Hood.
It’s been an up and down year for snow on Mount Hood thus far.
Back in February, some parts of the mountain had just 50 to 60 percent of their normal snow. We were skiing then, and you could tell. Even high up on the Magic Mile, rocks were exposed in a way that usually doesn’t come until late April or so.
Since then, however, the snow has piled up. The snowpack is still below annual averages, but there’s plenty more of it now than there was earlier this year.
And this past weekend, on Sunday, it was coming down like January. All day long it fell, creating amazing conditions for skiing all afternoon long.
We’ll see what the rest of spring brings to Mount Hood.