Coming Soon: Winter, both sides of the season, are upon us

Should Thanksgiving wear a costume this year, may it be Frosty the Snowman.

It’s an exciting thing, the prospect of ski-worthy snow levels at Mt. Hood Meadows — a place that is both major winter playground and one of the county’s biggest employers.

As reported on page A1, a foot or more of snow has collected at Meadows, with the forecast calling for more.

The possibility of a late-November opening at Meadows means snow will be on the mind of everyone connected to the mountain resort, and will likely be a theme when employees report Saturday for orientation.

Lodging establishments, restaurants, gear shops, gas stations and many other businesses in the Gorge relish the advent of snow and all it means for recreation and visitation by skiers and snowboarders.

Retailers of such things as batteries, winter clothing, de-icing products, car chains, and more should also welcome the season. Homeowners and travelers need to start thinking of the things they need for winter warmth and safe travel on icy roads.

The “winter wonderland” aspect of things is an important part of our local economy and culture, and the adjoining photo of The Ranch signboard speaks for the community in general.

But it’s also time to think about preparations. Many forecasters are calling a long, hard winter, and public resources for road safety maintenance and law enforcement patrols are going to be stretched thin even in case of a mild winter. Anything private citizens can do to get ready is of service to self and the community as a whole.

Let it snow, and let us prepare.

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Lawnmower torches Arbor Vitae on Portland Drive

The riding lawn mower driven by Norma Cannon overheated and made contact with dry arbor vitae owned by Lee and Norma Curtis, sending more than a dozen of the tightly-packed trees up in flames. The mower, visible at far right, was totaled. No one was injured; neighbors first kept the fire at bay with garden hoses and Westside and Hood River Fire Departments responded and doused the fire before it reached any structures. Westside Fire chief Jim Trammell, in blue shirt, directs firefighters. The video was taken by Capt. Dave Smith of Hood River Fire Department. Enlarge

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