Got that countdown already ticking until you can get back on the slope? Well, hone in on the last day in September. That's when [R470R, Timberline Lodge] at Mt. Hood will crank up its fall ski season.

Timberline Lodge closed down its summer ski season Sept. 5. September is maintenance month for the Palmer Express, and the resort typically closes to complete the work. On good snow years, the resort is able to re-open for skiing and riding on the Palmer Snowfield by the end of September. This is one of them.

Wax the boards, and find your goggles. The lifts to access the snowfield start running Sept. 30.

This summer, Timberline saw conditions like they'd rarely seen before. "This has been some of the best summer ski conditions in memory," spokesperson Jon Tullis told us. His comparison extends back a ways, since he's been at the resort going on 28 years. "We skied all the way down to outside the lodge at the bottom of the Magic Mile through last day of July. Usually the bottom is melted out by July 4th," he added.

Cool June and July temperatures on the tail of heavy spring snows ushered in a deep summer snowpack that bodes well for fall skiing on Palmer Snowfield. The snowfield sits about 8,500 feet in elevation and melts backs to rocks some years. This year, it's it's sticking around in its entirety.

"In some years, it's just the upper half of Palmer that we ski, and about half of the years, we don't re-open after Labor Day," said Tullis. "We've got more snow than usual this late in the season on Palmer, and more snow for re-opening. The whole Palmer snowfield will be skiable."

So, you can now tick off the days until the Palmer chairlift will re-open for skiing and riding starting Sept. 30. The lift will run 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Fridays, Saturday and Sundays for the fall season. No terrain park will be built until winter brings on more snowpack.

The Palmer lift will continue to run, conditions permitting, as storms begin to lay down this winter's snowpack. "That will blend right into our winter season," said Tullis.

"This year, we will be able to say that we skied every month of the year," laughed Tullis. "It's an unusual early winter ski season, and it's all for the diehards."

More information. Or call 503-272-3158.


Timberline Lodge

Timberline Lodge plans to meld fall skiing into winter as snows arrive. Photo courtesy of Timberline Lodge.