I will be on a temporary assignment in Portland Oregon basically all winter. I have never skied either place. I would like to do day trips or perhaps stay over nite to either place. I am thinking of getting a season pass. Questions are the time to drive from Portland, General snow conditions, types of runs, lodging if needed and crowds.General info: I have been skiing for 30 years pretty much all over north america. My favorites are copper mountain, lake louise and jackson hole. I like blacks, double blacks and tree skiing. thanks for input
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Mount Hood or Timberline in oregon
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The short answer is Mount Hood Meadows is better/steeper than Timberline. Timberline Lodge is worth a visit or a stay. Ski Bowl is interesting, especially if you want to night ski. As far as I know there is no lodging very close to Meadows.
A lot of info here: http://www.epicski.com/t/120056/moving-to-portland-or-seeking-info
Meadows is the most popular Mt. Hood area resort and has the most varied terrain. From Portland it is an extra 20-30 minutes depending on traffic compared to Timberline, and is probably 1.5 hours from Portland or more if traffic or roads are bad. It does get crowded on weekends but weekdays generally aren't too bad. We live near Hood River so we don't go from Portland and we only ski Meadows as it is the closest resort. If you are thinking about a season pass they will be going up in price a bit after November 2nd and then quite a bit more after November 17th.
As far as snow conditions, it can be all over the place from rain to ice to snow. You won't see the dry light powder that you'll find elsewhere, but it does get quite a bit of snow. Powder gets tracked out rather quickly and surfaces range from packed powder to groomed hard pack to somewhat icy depending on the weather. Nothing too extreme as far as runs, but there are a few to challenge you - especially if some of the gated areas are open. There is some tree skiing, but once again, not an overabundance.
With fresh snow on a weekday meadows can be a lot of fun. Get up there early on weekends to get your runs (and parking spot) before the late morning crowd rolls in, and find something else to do if it is raining on the mountain.
BTW, Bachelor can be very good as well if you hit it right. Lighter snow and colder temperatures, as well as less crowds. But conditions can be variable and blustery with only the bottom half of the mountain opening on a somewhat regular basis. We are hoping to make some weekend trips to Bachelor weekend trips this year when conditions warrant, but otherwise will be at Meadows.
You should always have Bachelor on your radar. If you see a favorable short term forecast that the Summit is likely to be open on a weekend, that's where you should go. Summit is open only about half the time in winter. In April I would be at Bachelor every weekend to get a shot at the best lift served corn in North America.
For the closer-in areas I agree Meadows has the most interesting and varied terrain.
You should go to Crystal in Washington for that. It's 4 hours from Portland but has more steeps than all of Oregon's areas combined.
- Mount Hood or Timberline in oregon
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