When the lifts are scooping people up, the snow is powder, and the mountain air causes tears to stream down your face, the world feels a bit more peaceful. What better way to spend the day than cutting your skis or snowboard through the mountainside, like the graceful stroke of a paintbrush? Have little to no balance or stamina? Snow tubing is really fun too, and great for families looking to bond. Whatever mountain activity you find yourself doing, just make sure all fleshy body parts are covered (seriously), and that conditions are desirable by checking your resort’s snowfall, temperature, and lift closures. Days and hours of operation vary by site and day.
Willamette Pass Ski Area
Highway 58, Crescent
Head Southeast to hit the slopes at this adventure park, open Wednesday through Sunday. You’ll find a single terrain park, and many trails that tend to all end in the same place for easy resort navigation. Willamette Pass also contains some Nordic trails, and a heavily discounted Nordic pass when compared to the price of a lift ticket. There’s a few things you cannot do here, such as snow tube or pay with cash, but if you’re looking for quality skiing, this place is a definite contender. A painless two hour drive is all that separates Corvallisites from this mountain momma.
Skibowl will be the first resort you see driving up to Mt. Hood from the Portland area. On weekends Cosmic tubing is available, where the snow houses a spectacular light show, and tube lifts assist people up the mountain. Tubing is a popular activity on Mt. Hood, so we would recommend reserving your two-hour tubing session online before driving up the mountain. For their winter sports, Skibowl definitely prioritizes night skiing over daytime skiing, so if you want to ski during the day, I would recommend calling to make sure they are offering it. Serious skiers can also pick-up a Mt. Hood Fusion pass, which gives full access (no blackout dates) to Timberline Lodge and Mt. Hood Skibowl for the entire season. Experts won’t be bored either, as this resort has the most black diamond (ie. difficult) runs on Mt. Hood.
27500 E Timberline Rd.,
The Timberline Lodge may look familiar, as it’s architecture and prowess are famous for being the fictional Overlook Hotel in The Shining movie, starring Jack Nicholson. Of the main Mt. Hood lodges, this one is typically the most expensive on non-deal days. An adult 4-hour pass will run you about $64, and longer all-day passes are available for $73. Prices will be steeper during peak days, but that rings true at most ski resorts. Ski runs at Timberline don’t all start and end in the same place, like at Mt. Hood Meadows; because of this, be sure to follow signage, know where you are on the mountain, and get good at skating if you’re a snowboarder. A free ski check is provided with any ticket, and it’s like a valet for your ski gear. The fun doesn’t end when the snow stops: the famous lodge and ski area are open 12 months a year and hosts mountain biking during the summer.
Summit Ski Area in Government Camp
90255 Government Camp Loop, Government Camp
Located in the heart of Mt. Hood’s most acclaimed mountain town and acquired by Timberline last year, Summit serves as their family-friendly and affordable ski arena sister. Buying a Timberline pass gives you access to Summit, and a Summit day pass gives you access to Timberline’s Bruno lift. Beyond acquisition, the connectivity between the two is also to address the influx of skiers hitting Mt. Hood, by providing more than one place for people to ski and park their cars. The Summit lift is the oldest operating lift in the Pacific Northwest and is the second oldest operating lift in the United States entirely. Summit is only open Thursday through Monday, so make sure your ski trip aligns within those days.
• Travel time from Corvallis: 2 hours, 38 min.
• Adult day pass (all-day): $36, with access to Timberline’s Bruno lift
Perhaps some of the vastest and varied skiing on this list is available at Mt. Hood Meadows, with attractions like Heather Canyon, which is almost always overflowing with fresh powder, as well as nationally recognized terrain parks. Meadows has an abnormally large amount of tree trails that are always changing and being added. Exotic wildlife is present with a friendly Sasquatch named Seymour wandering the grounds, and a dynamite ski school that boasts having introduced the most Oregonians to skiing and snowboarding than any other mountain resort. All lifts in Meadows end in a central area around the lodge, so navigating this mountain is usually pretty straightforward.
• Travel time from Corvallis: 2 hours, 33 min.
• Adult day pass (7 hours): $59-$79 depending on day (ages 14-24 $10 cheaper)
• Kid day pass (7 hours): $34-54
• Peak Elevation: 7300 ft.
• Number of runs/ number of lifts: approximately 45/11
Cooper Spur Ski and Tubing
10755 Cooper Spur Road, Mt. Hood
Cooper Spur is located in Hood River, OR and is a mostly laid-back daytime resort. Adult ski passes are only $39 regularly and if you stay in the lodge, special passes to Mt. Hood Meadows are available for purchase with a free shuttle included. They offer night skiing until 8pm on Fridays (for $15 if you have a Safeway club card) and other Nordic activities like snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and snow tubing, however the tubing area is still in the works and isn’t available this season quite yet. Cooper Spur is one of the smaller and less overwhelming resorts on Mt. Hood, containing just one ski lift and rope tow, which makes it ideal for teaching little ones without fear of them being trampled.
The Mt. Hoodoo Ski Area is technically the closest to Corvallis and home of Thrifty Thursdays, where day passes are just $25 on Thursdays. Hoodoo is also one of the more accessible ski areas, because roads are often clear until one reaches the parking lot, so any vehicle would be able to travel. This isn’t always the case, however, so definitely check road conditions before traveling without chains or 4-wheel drive. Hoodoo has a snow tube park and Nordic trails that are open on weekends, plus they offer Military Mondays, where veterans receive 2-for-1 ticket pricing on Mondays.
Approximately 9000 ft. in the sky, this mountain has 7 different terrain parks and over 100 runs, the most runs and terrain parks in all of Oregon. Mt. Bachelor also has the highest skiable peak in all of Oregon, and is considered by many to be a great place for expert skiers and a trickster’s paradise. Because of its central Cascade location, Mt. Bachelor has an extremely long ski season, beginning in November and lasting well into May most years. Often coated in powder, you won’t be lonely on top of the mountain as you’re accompanied by a great view of the Three Sisters.
Mt. Ashland Ski Area
11 Mt Ashland Ski Rd, Ashland
Way down in Southern Oregon, Mt. Ashland is a gorgeous gem with ticket prices that make the drive worthwhile. Guests are even permitted to use the mountain for uphill activities like mountain climbing, while making sure to steer clear of grooming machines and skiers. Three of their lifts stay open during most Thursday and Friday nights for twilight skiing, and tickets are only $25. Mt. Ashland is a non-profit, has a commitment to sustainability, and holds a STOKE certification, which is a benchmark for sustainable tourism. In their efforts, they incentivize carpooling, serve as a lab for sustainable Southern Oregon University studies, and generate solar power.