Skiing is back on Mount Hood.
Timberline is opening the uppermost Palmer lift this Saturday, October 7, for the first time since Labor Day.
Timberline got an early patch of summer snow this year, with 8-9 inches dropping September 19, while the gorge fire still raged uncontained, and 24 more inches last week.
The lift will operate Saturdays and Sundays only beginning this Saturday, with lift tickets $61 apiece. Season passes will also work.
Most of you, however, can probably keep your boots in the garage: Right now, beginners need not apply. Palmer is for the hardcore skiiers and boarders who don't mind steep-ass hills and variable snow conditions.
"We're going into a La Niña forecast, which means more moisture and colder air going into the Pacific," says Timberline spokesman John Burton. "It's very steep terrain. There's going to be grooming up on Palmer on the snowfield, but the whole snowfield won't be groomed: It'll freeze at night and thaw during the day."
The Palmer lift operates in fall, spring and summer, shutting down in the heart of the winter when conditions at 8,000 feet become too treacherous and blustery to manage.
The lodge advises that you stay tuned to the Timberline Lodge Conditions page—and for the record, while the snow up at Palmer remains pretty patchy—the image at top is of the Palmer conditions as of this morning. Fun if you're gnar, scary if you're not.
Nonetheless, the Timberline Lodge will be open serving three square meals to hikers and the otherwise afraid.