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The US summer skiing scene...

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
...is normally limited to just one mountain - Mount Hood in Oregon - in terms of 12-month operation. Here are some photos from last weekend, courtesy of 'slider' on epicski.com.

Here's a lift and trail map.

Although Mount Hood is over 11,000ft high, the highest lift station is at only 8,500ft (about 2,500m), which is below the altitude you can summer ski in the Alps (but the latitude is, of course, much more northerly). As far as I can make out, the Palmer Express chairlift is the only lift that services the glacier and its summer skiing - providing about 500m vertical - but can someone confirm that?

Has any snowHead skied Mount Hood?


Last edited by Poster: A snowHead on Mon 28-06-04 19:06; edited 1 time in total
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
First place I ever skied; and in summer (early 1980s) too! Quite hairy, because the only open runs were pretty steep, or so they seemed at the time. I think my first run must have been one of the blues down to Timberline Lodge.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
David Goldsmith wrote:
but the latitude is, of course, much more northerly

Actually, Mt. Hood is very slightly south of Mont Blanc. The Cascades just get more snow than the Alps, probably because the prevailing winds have fetched 6,000 miles or so across the adjacent Pacific.
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 You need to Login to know who's really who.
You need to Login to know who's really who.
Oooh - I was there in April 1999... long before I realised the fun of actually sliding down the white stuff! We'd been sunning ourselves in the morning and then decided to go and 'have a look' at these mad people on skis....
If only I knew snowHead
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Why does the piste map say you're not allowed into the ski area? Shocked
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 You'll need to Register first of course.
You'll need to Register first of course.
skanky, this is America. The USA is regularly visited by UFOs. Aliens commonly mistake pistes for Landing Strips. These signs are stencilled onto the snow by special Pistie-Beasties.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Jonpim, it's almost spooky that I have just been reading a short account of alien abduction from the Klein Matterhorn, penned by a friend for a CD insert sleeve for what I believe will be a forthcoming release by his band, Chuck. But as those piste maps absolutely forbid crossing the ski area boundary, we'd best stick to the piste on this one. Wink
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
laundryman, thanks for correcting me. I haven't bothered to look at an atlas to see how embarrasingly wrong I was (or how much 'journalistic latitude' I might be permitted on this one).

The point you make about snowfall is interesting. That region certainly does receive huge snowfalls. So, is the glacier on Mount Hood essentially a reflection of the volume of winter snow outweighing nature's attempts to melt it during the summer? It would be interesting to know at what altitude glaciers on those mountains terminate.
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
I boarded at Timberline in late April this year. Even that late I had an absolutely brilliant powder day there. Not that many people there as it was a weekday. The snow depths even in April were very impressive. Timberline is also in a sort of bowl so presumably a lot of the snow will also be blown into it by the wind.

Had it not been for the powder that arrived overnight though, I think Timberline would have been a little boring. There isn't really much terrain that could be described as steep there. The runs up on the glacier are, according to the trail map I here, single black diamonds. However looking at them from below (Palmer express didn't open that day) it looked like you could pretty much straight line them without too much difficulty. I'll look out my photos at home, as I'm sure I took a picture from the bottom of the glacier towards the summit.

Mount Hood Meadows (on another part of Mt Hood) is a much more interesting and challenging area. I'd like to have gone to Mt Bachelor as well as that looked bigger still, however it closed at 1pm by that time in April, so it wasn't really worth the 3 hours drive it would have taken to get there.

Was told by some people who live there that most of the moisture that comes in off the Pacific gets dumped on the Cascades and you only have to go a little further east from there and it's fairly arid.

The Cascades are essentially a line of volcanoes, as well as Hood there is Bachelor, the three sisters, Adams, St Helens (boom) and I think Mt Ranier is around there as well. They are all around 10,000 ft I think and they'd all make great snowsports areas. Indeed somebody pointed out a bowl on Adams where the snow stays year round, where the tourers will go and play during the summer.

Oregon is well worth a visit. Portland is a great place and there are parts of the city where you can see St Helens, Adams and Hood. Hood River is where a lot of the people who ski and board on Mt Hood stay and it has a great atmosphere. Temperatures in April are generally pretty warm, although you can still get some fantastic powder days as well.
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
This bit is me trying to remember a case study we did for my A-Level geography, so some details probably need to be checked.

The Cascades get a lot of snow because, as Laundryman says, they get a lot of moist air off the Pacific. A lot of this precipitation is orographic (caused by the air moving up the side of the mountains). They would get even more precipitation, but the coastal range of mountains to their west removes a lot of moisture from the air as it strikes land. The highest peaks (Rainier?) are over 4,000m so there will be a lot of snow that accumulates and remains simply due to altitude. The Glacial run-off in summer though is pretty big, if I remember correctly.

One thing to take into account when comparing US to European latitude and cimate is the fact that Europe can be heavily affected by the North Atlantric Drift, thus extending teh climate zones north of where they would reside elsewhere. However, I'm not sure if it has that much direct effect on the Alps (they being sheltered by France Spain and Portugal) and and I can't remember what currents affect the NW US.
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
skanky wrote:
One thing to take into account when comparing US to European latitude and cimate is the fact that Europe can be heavily affected by the North Atlantric Drift, thus extending teh climate zones north of where they would reside elsewhere. However, I'm not sure if it has that much direct effect on the Alps (they being sheltered by France Spain and Portugal) and and I can't remember what currents affect the NW US.


Judging by what they were saying on the weather channels when I was there the air current which affects the Western seaboard is the Jetstream. Don't know exactly what effect it has (not my strong point I'm afraid) but from what I could make out it seemed to be a cool air current.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
The "jet stream" is just the term that westerners apply to one particular jet stream, the northen polar one. Jet streams are narrow, fast, west->east, high level currents of air. There are (normally) two polar ones (north and south) and two sub-tropical ones (north and south). They form at the boundaries of the warm and cold air masses and are (normally) strongest in the relevant winter. The polar jets tend to be the stronger.

You see the influence of "the" jet stream when flying long-haul east<->west. That's the main reason why the same journey is quicker flying east then flying west. The UK is also affected by it as it has a strong influence on the path of low pressure weather systems, but in the US it's affect can be more direct (I think), at least that's the main reason why I think their forecasters refer to it more than European ones do. Though I think the weather systems also have an effect on the location of the jetstream. The height is normally above 4 miles gets higher in the sun, than in the dark.

If you can find a high level chart, you'll see a jet stream can be pretty obvious in the isobars.

Looking on Google, the western seaboard of the US receives a cold oceanic current which will help keep the snow, I think.
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
And if you ever get such a low pressure depression that the jet stream is sucked down to ground level really dramatic bad storms occur. Huge hailstones, violent squally winds. I've seen it happen once in Dubai and it was so bad there were planes moved off their stands at the airport by the winds.

On the latitude and Gulf Stream issue, the classic example is Edinburgh and Moscow which are at virtually the same latitude but have very different winter temperatures.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Some of that will be down to continental and maritime climates, but AFAIR it is mainly the NAD.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
This link gives an extremely detailed account of snowfall on two glaciers on Mt. Baker, a peak in the Cascade chain about 250 miles (from memory) north of Mt. Hood (and also with a ski area). It confirms the huge amounts dumped on the Cascades and that the snowfalls are holding up, at least for the moment.

However, these pictures of the South Cascade glacier (in between Mts Hood and Baker, ISTR) show dramatic shrinkage, backed up by figures that show that the volume of water held by the glacier has halved since 1928. So, the rate of melting in the summer must have become much greater.

I've only been to the Cascades in the summer and autumn. As Lager alluded, the differences in climate and vegetation in a few tens of miles either side of the mountains is dramatic. To the West are coniferous forests and verdant pasture (giving Washington the 'Evergreen State' label). Rain (lots of it) can fall at any time of year, but you also get glorious summer days that are not too hot: in a way, quite British. To the east, you wouldn't be surprised to see Clint Eastwood and Lee van Cleef ride around the corner. Sparse, scrubby vegetation under a burning hot sun. Through all this, runs the dramatic Columbia gorge: the Columbia carries the greatest flow of water of all North American rivers (all that snow melt!). Unfortunately, it was dammed during the Great Depression, so the river itself is now tame. For an idea if what the area was like, I would recommend reading the journals of the explorers Lewis and Clarke (interesting for much else besides).

I'll shut up now, before I wax too lyrical.
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