Why Mt Hood?
Mt Hood is a stunning peak in the Cascade chain, visible from miles around, offering year-round skiing and incredible views across Oregon.
The mountain is home to 3 ski areas Mt Hood Meadows, Timberline and Mt Hood Ski Bowl. The largest is Meadows and this is where you are likely to do most of your skiing (stats above are for Meadows). We recommend you stay in the nearby town of Hood River, a funky little place that offers a handful of shops and restaurants and of course a few quality local breweries. We also recommend a few nights at the historical and charming Timberline Lodge - which is a fantastic experience, certainly for those who remember The Shining, where part of the movie was filmed.
Timberline receives so much snow that the road up to the resort is lined with huge walls of the stuff and the famous Lodge with its vast wooden beams is often buried to the third floor windows.
The resort is famously open year-round (well almost, they usually close in October for a well-earned rest) as the upper part of the mountain has a permanent snow field that is used for freestyle training during the summer months.
But anytime from mid-November to the end of April the snow here is great and the gentle cruising runs great fun to rip around. Timberline is about the history and atmosphere of the lodge, the convenience of skiing from the door and the panoramic vistas.
Located on the sout-east flank of the mountain, about 20 minutes drive from Timberline, Meadows has a good range of skiing including open terrain off the Cascade Express, plenty of cruisers and some steeper pitches in Heather Canyon.
There is an additional area of hike-to terrain called Super Bowl and expert skiers will certainly be happy here exploring lines through the trees.
It is also good for kids with a nice flat area just beside the base lodge and a covered magic carpet for first-timers. Facilities at the base are modern, well-organised and relaxed. There is no accommodation at the base, so all visitors are drive-up.
Ski Bowl, a small hill about 10 minutes from Timberline and at lower elevation, offers a handful of runs, all facing Mt Hood. It's got a laid-back, old school feel and is known for being the largest night ski area in the US. It also has nice area of steep, gladed terrain known as the Outback.
There is no resort as such on Mt Hood, so you are limited to the facilities of the Timberline Lodge and a couple of restaurants in Government Camp, a small settlement where the road up to Timberline leaves the highway. As such it works well for a stay of 3 or 4 nights.
Mt Hood is best skied as part of The Oregon Trail Ski Safari, combining Mt Hood with Mt Bachelor.