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Mt. Hood Meadows takes action to reduce weekend congestion

Many drivers spent around five hours getting from the ski resort to nearby Government Camp after a day of bluebird skies and jam-packed parking lots on Sunday.

GOVERNMENT CAMP, Ore. — Mt. Hood Meadows is taking steps to reduce congestion on weekends after reporting jam-packed parking lots and extreme traffic backups this past weekend. 

In a statement Tuesday, the resort said it has paused the sale of value and night passes and reduced the number of day passes available for Saturday through Monday. 

In December, Mt. Hood Meadows stopped selling all-access season passes for the 2021-22 season. All-access passes allows skiers and boarders to go up any day of the season, including peak days such as weekends. 

The resort said it has limited all-access passes by nearly 40% compared to pre-pandemic seasons. Value and night passes, which allow people to start riding at 2 p.m. on peak days, have remained available until now. Nordic season passes for cross-country skiing are still available. 

RELATED: Hood River residents dig out of three feet of snow

"The removal of night tickets will help reduce afternoon parking pressure with fewer people arriving for night sessions, leaving more room for current Night and Value pass holders to find afternoon parking spaces," the statement said. 

Mt. Hood Meadows said a "cascade of events led to a huge turnout that overwhelmed SnoPark lots" over the weekend, congesting roads and creating hours-long commutes to and from the mountain. 

The mountain received more than five feet of new snow since last week, and the weather broke with clearing skies on Saturday and bluebird skies on Sunday. 

Credit: KGW News
Traffic backup at the junction of Highway 35 and Highway 26 on Sunday, Jan. 9, 2022.

Mt. Hood Meadows said that all available parking spaces in Mt. Hood's SnoPark parking lots were "maxed out." KGW learned some drivers reported waiting around five hours to get from the resort to nearby Government Camp, roughly 11 miles away, on Sunday. 

Part of the congestion is related to COVID, the resort said, including fewer people carpooling and reduced mass transit opportunities to the mountain

RELATED: Most Oregon highways have reopened following major snow storm

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