Mt. Hood Meadows 50th Anniversary Celebration
Celebrating In Style | Snowledge Team Gears Up
This past Saturday, hundreds of locals and loyal skiers gathered at Mt. Hood Meadows to commemorate a significant milestone: 50 years of operations since opening. To boot, for those that had been following along during the season, there was hope for a chance to win a 50-year season pass during the special event. Among those who attended and geared up were Snowledge’s founder and Meadows regular, Eric Lee O’Brien, joined by über local Jen Winklepleck, a fellow rider, performing artist, and all-around amazing person who can keep you in the loop about the latest on-mountain activities.
History Flashback | Mt. Hood Meadows Origins
For those at home who haven’t yet made it up to one of our favorite resorts—and we highly recommend that you visit at some point soon—here’s a bit of background info to bring you up to speed: Mt. Hood Meadows is one of Oregon’s most prominent ski areas, boasting nearly 500,000 skiers each year, and just 67 miles east from Portland. Developed in the 1960’s in a sunny, southeast facing area called Hood River Meadows, Mt. Hood Meadows has base of 5,400 feet, a top elevation of 7,200 feet, and receives over 430 inches of snow each year.
Proposals were submitted in 1966 and the Mt. Hood Meadows Oregon Ltd. group, lead by Franklin Drake, won the bid. A $900,000 investment was proposed to develop a ski complex that was expected to rival Timberline Lodge.
Construction began in 1967, and on Jan 26, 1968, Meadows officially opened to the public with an appearance from 1948 Olympic gold medalist Gretchen Fraser, who skied through the opening banner that day.
After opening, Meadows continued to grow through the 70’s and 80’s and now boasts 85 runs on 2,150 skiable acres with 11 chairlifts (including the new Buttercup quad chairlift), making it one of the top resorts in the Pacific Northwest.
More Reasons to Love Meadows
What’s also important to point out here, is that Mt. Hood typically has great snow for many more months of the year than other west coast resorts, making it the ideal mountain for late spring, summer or early winter skiing. A mountain-of-choice for top performing athletes as their home training grounds, Meadows athlete Erika Vikander just recently qualified for the Freeride World Tour roster for Snowboard Women. Along with our own Snowledge team athletes competing on the FWT or FWQ events this year, we’ll be rooting for Erika to crush big lines and proudly represent Meadows. Other athletes who’ve honed their skills at Meadows include freeride ski legends Sammy Carlson and Eric Pollard.
Mt. Hood Meadows 50th Anniversary Celebration
On January 27th, 2018, Meadows officially celebrated its 50th Anniversary in great style with live music performances, local vendors—including Deviation, US Outdoor Store, Evo, and Squatch—and of course, lots of new snow (full list of event activities here). The main event was the culmination of the golden ticket contest where one lucky winner earned a season pass good for the next 50 years of skiing at Meadows!
Throughout the season leading up to the anniversary celebration, a total of 50 lucky people earned tickets through various creative and fun methods, like best pray for snow dance video, and more. The first leg of the contest on Saturday started at 2:00pm with 43 of the 50 golden ticket holders present. All ticket holders received a bag of prizes, including a Meadows beanie. Upon receiving the prize bag, contestants checked to see if they had one of 15 of the 50 beanies with a gold mark inside, indicating that ticket holder would move on to the next round. At 3:45pm, the second leg of the contest kicked off with the remaining 15 ticket holders receiving another bag that included a hydroflask. From there, 5 of the 15 ticket holders had a gold star on their hydroflask and moved on to the final round. At 5:30pm, the last 5 remaining ticket holders each received a backpack, and one of the backpacks contained the golden ticket, winning them the 50 year season pass to Meadows. The evening was capped off and lit up with fireworks in the sky.
Jen Winklepleck who celebrated and skied with Eric Lee O’Brien throughout the day, shared some personal sentiment as she reflected on how she feels about the resort.
“Mt. Hood Meadows, my home away from home! Here’s to fifty more years of smiles, friendships, and shredding!!! It’s a pleasure to be able to celebrate with everyone today!”
Check out the action from the celebration and see all the fun lines the Snowledge team skied at Meadows in the Snowledge App:
Cheers and Special Thanks
Meadows has not only been one of the local mountain resorts that Snowledge founder Eric Lee O’Brien has been skiing at since he was 12, it’s been a place where the Snowledge app has been tried and tested by our team since pre-launch beta phase. With support from the Meadows team, we have enjoyed a great relationship together and we’re pleased to know that they will be sharing the Snowledge app with all of their visitors, and incorporating many of our upcoming features in their activities throughout the year! A huge shout of thanks to Dave Tragethon and everyone at Meadows who seriously make their tagline, “Your Mountain Home,” feel like an understatement. One of the very friendliest resorts you and your friends or family should add to your list for west-coast day or night skiing around, that right now, has some fantastic snow to come ski.