There is snow in the forecast for the first time this fall. But before you panic and start grocery hoarding, keep in mind that there is no way any flakes will make their way to the valley floor this weekend.
The light dusting that's expected at Timberline Lodge by Sunday morning, however, may get your adrenaline pumping for ski season, which with any luck is just around the corner. And area resorts are making plans to keep you safe while you recreate during the pandemic once the lifts start running.
That includes employee training in disinfection protocols that are consistent with recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, staff wellness checks at the start of every shift, and the now-widespread practices of mandatory mask wearing and physical distancing.
At Timberline, expect to continue to visit only after making reservations online in order to avoid overcrowding, which began when the resort reopened in May. Guests will be asked to come to the mountain only with immediate household members or people they've consistently spent time with. Everyone must wear masks at all times while indoors, in lift lines, on chairlifts and whenever unable to maintain 6 feet of distance from others outside. COVID questionnaires will still be administered either online or at the front desk for overnight guests.
You'll notice other differences from a normal season, too, like private lessons only at the Timberline Ski and Ride School, no resort shuttle—at least at the start of the season—and a checkpoint on Timberline Road to manage traffic.
A bit farther downhill at Mt. Hood Meadows, the team there has spent the last six months preparing for a safe return to business. The resort will manage its flow of visitors by anticipating pass holder turnout for each day, then make a limited number of date-specific lift tickets available for purchase online.
Meadows also added an additional 23,000-square-feet of skier services and dining space to the new Sahale Lodge, while the North and South Lodge air filtration systems have extra filter densities. Guests are asked to make their vehicles their "Personal Lodges," by changing into their boots and eating lunch in the parking lot.
If Central Oregon is your skiing and/or snowboarding destination, Mount Bachelor plans to open on Dec. 7 if enough snow has accumulated. Many of the same safety measures practiced by the other resorts will be in place there, and everyone is encouraged to visit midweek to reduce crowding, read the resort website for updates before heading out, and always come prepared with a Plan B if the site is at capacity.