Problems created by too much snow on Mt. Hood

Photo: KATU News

Government Camp, ORE. – Snow was falling at a rate of 1-2” per hour on Mt. Hood early Monday morning, while the Valley had switched to a steady rain. The snow was adding up so quickly in Government Camp, that local plow crews seemed to be having trouble clearing it fast enough.

Most drivers were prepared for the snow, but perhaps not this much, this fast. One family stopped to get some breakfast, and by the time they came out of the restaurant their truck was stuck. Careful maneuvering and some good old fashioned people power, and they finally got going again. The key though was that they had packed shovels in the back of their truck, along with their ski gear. A smart move, and one recommended by Dave Tragethon of Mt. Hood Meadows. “The parking lots aren’t plowed while the cars are there during the day, so you may need a shovel to dig yourself out on a day like this,” he said.

Avalanche danger is high in the Cascades, and especially on Mt. Hood as this storm dumps loads of fresh snow on top of an old crust of snow. In conditions like this, large slabs of fresh snow can break off and easily slide down that crusty surface underneath, creating an avalanche. Mt. Hood Meadows and the other resorts work on mitigating that possibility by triggering slides in weak areas inside and outside of the ski areas. The goal of course is safety for all the skier and riders after the fresh powder conditions.

The Hood River County Sheriff tweeted about a small avalanche near White River Monday afternoon.



Another danger at the resorts, especially with the wind driven snow, are tree wells. “The powder is very, very enticing. It has a tendency to build up around the trees, that’s fun, but all it takes is a slip and a fall, and maybe a slide. And upside down into a tree well, and then you’re in a situation where you’re upside down, you have snow around you and that’s what can create some deep snow suffocation situations,” said Tragethon. His recommendation to stay safe, stay away from the trees and always ski or snowboard with a buddy.

A Winter Storm Warning continues for the Cascades through 6 p.m. Tuesday.



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