Vista Express – Mt. Hood Meadows, OR

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Looking down the lift line.
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Upper lift line.
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Another view of the line.
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Lower terminal.
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Bottom station.
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Chair parking rail.
Riding up the line.
Three section splice tower.
Breakover towers.
The top terminal is cleverly tucked behind a ridge.
Unloading area.
Top station with Poma’s Omega return design.
View down the line.
Another view of the return.
Lower lift line.

9 thoughts on “Vista Express – Mt. Hood Meadows, OR

  1. Donald Reif October 4, 2019 / 9:26 pm

    I believe this more or less fills the role of a Daisy Express that had been proposed around 1997. Of course, from a map, it does look practical that they kept Daisy while building this because this line allows them to tuck the return station behind that ridge, which wouldn’t have been possible if the Daisy alignment were used.

    Of course, that also results in the oddity that it does kinda count as one of those detachables that you must ride a fixed grip to access, since it doesn’t start right at the base area and you have to ride up Buttercup to reach it from the base lodge. Although, it also doesn’t count as you can also reach it from the Mount Hood Express and Cascade Express lifts via the South Canyon trail.

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    • Brian November 7, 2019 / 8:17 pm

      It’s almost faster to ride MEX then ride down the south side to the bottom of Vista. Buttercup stops and starts so many times being a beginner lift, especially on peak days. Daisy seems to only run now early season, peak days/nights, and when the weather keeps Vista closed.

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  2. Mark N. November 23, 2019 / 5:10 am

    I wish they actually ran it at 1,200fpm like the signs on the lift say it is capable of. I’ve only ever seen it max out at 1,000fpm. From what I’ve observed, Hood River Express is the only lift at Mt. Hood Meadows that runs above 1,000fpm.

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    • Donald Reif November 23, 2019 / 10:32 am

      Hood River Express happens to have distance on its side, not to mention it’s below timberline and doesn’t have as much wind exposure.

      And I’ll say this, I think I’ve seen videos of the Mount Hood Express operating at 1,100 fpm.

      The reason these lifts can’t exactly operate at their maximum speeds has a lot to do with the length of the deceleration areas at the terminals.

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      • Mark N. November 25, 2019 / 7:45 am

        That is true. Vista Express is a consistently windy area, which is the one big shortcoming of otherwise incredible blue and green skiing terrain. It is incredibly scenic, arguably the most scenic area to ski at Mt. Hood Meadows but an ice skating rink if anything. Riding this lift scared me a lot as a kid with the wind!

        In regards to Collin below, I do feel like on rare occasions I’ve ridden on Shooting Star Express and Vista Express operating faster than 1,000fpm on peak days. So I do sort of retract my earlier statement. But Hood River Express seems to run at full speed every day.

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    • Collin Parsons November 23, 2019 / 4:15 pm

      I believe all their detachables normally run at 1000 fpm, but Vista will run 1100 on busy days.

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    • HoodRacer May 21, 2020 / 10:24 am

      I can remember a couple weekdays about 8-10 years ago when they inexplicably ran it at the full 1200fpm. Those were great days; with fast snow, the quicker lift ride, and the mountain more or less empty, turning 25-30 laps on that terrain in 3 hours or so was totally doable.

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  3. Mark N. November 25, 2019 / 8:11 am

    The terrain Vista Express serves has in my opinion a rather ironic history. Vista Express serves terrain that is definitely the next step for beginners, following Buttercup and Easy Rider. Scenic, wide open cruising groomed blues and greens with no particular steep points anywhere. The west side of Mt. Hood Meadows, served by Vista Express, Daisy, Buttercup and Easy Rider is the easier and more family friendly terrain compared to the rest, and Mt. Hood Meadows even sells a “Beginner Progression Pass” (a season pass option) for people just interested in those lifts and the terrain they serve. It even comes with lessons and rentals attached to it, since people who would only want to ski on that side would probably be more of a beginner.

    But before the terrain was really developed around 2000, it was actually an off piste area known as The Badlands! All black diamond difficulty! Then the terrain was developed, but accessing it was a long process as you needed to ski all the way over on the Texas Trail from Cascade Express, which was a lengthy run and required taking two lifts (Daisy or MHX to Cascade Express) to get to the terrain, so it was pretty underappreciated by the demographic it would apleal to, until Vista Express finally came around about five years later. With wider chair spacing and 90 degree loading too, for beginner ease. From off piste… To family friendly beginner terrain.

    For all the off piste enthusiasts who may have been disappointed by this, the off piste area Private Reserve/S&R Cliffs would begin opening in segments starting around 2007.

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