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In the magical land of Mt Hood National Forest multi-sport days—even in mid-February—are the norm. Explore luscious, glowing greenery of the lower-elevation rainforest in the morning on foot or by bike, and in the same day find deep pow turns within three resorts. Whoever coined the term ‘best of both worlds’ surely grew up in Oregon.
Getting to Mt. Hood is painless. Fly into Portland and make the 60-minute drive to the town of Welches, our pick for best lodging option. You’ll pass grocery stores and ski shops on the way to stock up, and be close enough to enjoy rainforest and face shots in the same day.
Family Friendly Skiing
The family owned and operated Timberline is focused on showing families a good time. From cruisy terrain (don’t worry mom and dad, there are fun tree shots for you, too) to signage reminding skiers it’s a profanity-free zone, families are at the forefront of the resort’s thoughts– but that doesn’t mean they’ve forgotten about the rest of us. College students ski for $25, the “young at heart”(skiers aged 60-70) ski at special junior rates, and locals get $12 lift tickets each Thursday. With all those families hitting the bunny hill, finding pow stashes days after the storm hit is a definite reality.
Don’t wear yourself out skiing all day, you’re going to need some of that energy to experience the largest night skiing operation in the country. Mt Hood’s Skibowl starts spinning lifts at 3:00 daily for night skiing, which means you’ll have just enough time for a quick après before hitting the slopes– again. The 960 skiable acres and 34 runs have origins dating back to 1928, though night skiing under the lights was just a pipedream then. Lift tickets for night skiing are just $34, and ladies get a deal on Tuesdays with lift tickets for only $20. Hellooo, ladies!
Nosh on Backwoods Tacos
Visit Phlox Point Cabin at Timberline for an easy, quick lunch option. The tiny one room cabin serves tacos and beer (what more could you want), and can be a welcome reprise from winter weather with its giant stone fireplace. The one room former Boy Scout cabin is hidden in the woods, so be sure to follow trail signs pointing the way.
Aprés With a View
Located on the second floor of the historic Timberline Lodge, the Ram’s Head Bar is the perfect place for a post-ski adult beverage and some top-notch people watching. Try the adult hot chocolate cocktail with all the works, or the homemade sweet corn chowder served in a bread bowl to recover all those calories you burned skiing.
Get Your Buzz On
Coffee buzz, that is. Make a pit stop at Mountain High Coffee in Zig Zag on your way to the mountain. The tiny cabin perched on the side of the road might be one of the smallest coffee shops you’ve seen, but is famous for its legendary biscuits and gravy. You won’t regret stopping.
Fill a Growler
There’s no shortage of good beer in Oregon, and while visiting Mt Hood its crucial to get a taste of the local suds. Visit Mt. Hood Brewing Co. on your way home where you can sip a pint of Cascadian Pale Ale while you chow down on a hand-tossed pizza and reminisce about the day’s powder turns. Feeling adventurous? You can ski to the brewery from Timberline to be sure you’ve earned that extra pint.
There’s No Place Like Home
Lets face it, hotels get old. Luckily Welches-based Mt. Hood Vacation Rentals has the perfect home away from home solution for you. It’s likely nestled in the luscious greenery you’d expect in a rainforest, probably sits on the edge of the rushing Salmon River, and is an easy 20-minute drive from the slopes. Options range from cozy cabins to sprawling lodges so you’ll find just what you need to fit your group.