Skiers dream of winter as snow arrives in Cascades

Skiers dream of winter as snow arrives in Cascades

MOUNT HOOD, Ore. - Following a long, dry summer, it's been a short wait for winter weather to arrive, at least in the mountains.

Snow began piling up above 3,500 feet in elevation over the weekend, changing the brown, bare slopes of ski resorts and towering mountains into glistening previews of a possible winter to come.

Over the weekend, drivers heading over mountain passes were treated to new snow coating trees and roadsides along Highway 26 over Mount Hood and Highway 58 in the Willamette Pass. Most major roadways remained wet and clear with only slushy accumulations at the highest altitudes.

Time to pack the ski gear? Not quite.

While the white stuff will continue to fall at upper elevations and in areas east of the Cascade Range for the better part of the week, it won't be deep enough for a while to convince resort operators to open the slopes to skiers and snowboarders.

But it’s a start – and an early one.

"A little over a foot of snow has fallen at Meadows," Dave Tragethon with Mt. Hood Meadows Ski Resort said in an email to KATU News on Monday. "It's a good start to building a base which hopefully leads to an early opening sometime before Thanksgiving!"

The snowfall drew many from the Portland area to Mount Hood on Monday. Kristy Kalmbach, of Vancouver, came to the mountain because she thought it would be the perfect place to plan a wedding.

"I was nervous – summer was going too long," she said. "I was wanting snow up here."

She plans to say "I do" on the mountain next month. Timberline will probably have at least two feet of snow by then, which is enough for ski season to start.

"I'm skiing down the mountain in my dress afterwards," Kalmbach said. "My photographer was all about that – thought that would be an incredible idea."

Timberline had about 12 inches of snow on the ground Monday and Mt. Hood Meadows had about 10 inches.

KATU meteorologist Dave Salesky said it will continue to snow at about 3,000 feet and above Monday night through early Tuesday with additional accumulations of about one to three inches.

KATU meteorologist Rhonda Shelby said the snow will "come, go, melt, come back" with accumulations of an inch or more per day as the system moves through the region over the next several days.

The snow comes on the heels of a major dry spell that saw only one day with rain in the Portland area in a stretch of over 100 dry, sunny summer days.

Shelby said the current stretch of cold, wet weather is going to stick around for much of the week, with a smattering of hail and even a thunderstorm possible for valley locations as sun breaks heat the air between periods of showers.

KATU News reporter Dan Cassuto contributed to this report.