Wind speeds in the 50s and gusts reaching 85 mph on the upper slopes of Mt. Hood Meadows led the resort to shut down all lifts for the day Saturday afternoon.
The resort tweeted at 1:15 p.m.: “Today’s operations have been suspended. We are closed for the day.”
Snow sports enthusiasts had celebrated massive amounts of fresh snow, but fierce winds proved to be a problem. Winds at the top of the Cascade Express lift, at elevation 7,300 feet, were blowing at 31 mph at 9 a.m.
By 11 a.m., they’d picked up into the 50s.
The top gust Saturday morning was 93 mph, according to the Northwest Avalanche Center.
Timberline and Mt. Hood Skibowl remained open Saturday, with winds not nearly as daunting. At Timberline Lodge, at elevation 5,880 feet, winds were blowing at 16 mph with gusts up to 33 mph in the mid-afternoon.
A weather station perched at 5,010 feet, near the highest point of Skibowl, showed winds of 10 mph with 28-mph gusts, according to the Northwest Avalanche Center.
The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Warning for the Northern Oregon Cascades. A total of 2 to 4 feet of snow is expected this weekend. The National Weather Service also has warned the public that “travel could be very difficult to impossible.”
The Oregon Department of Transportation, too, alerted the public that driving conditions on Mount Hood are “extremely dangerous” because of heavy snow, high winds and poor visibility leading to “numerous spinouts.”
“Travelers should avoid Mount Hood if at all possible until Monday,” transportation officials said.