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Mt. Hood

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
I've never skiied the Mt. Hood areas. I'm going to ski them w/ my 2 sons right before Christmas. I only have 2 days and am wondering which of the 3 I should ski. Also, the first day, I'll be driving from Portland. How long is the drive and which area is closest. After Mt. Hood, I'm going to Bachelor. I know I have to make a drive from Bend each day. Is 4 wheel drivew necessary if it's snowing. Any local knowledge would be helpful.
post #2 of 14
I heard good things about Mt Hood Meadows. never skiied it. Question I have is can an advanced skier ski MHM for 3 days without getting bored?
post #3 of 14
Meadows is by far the best ski area at Hood.

As for driving to Bend without a 4-wheel drive I did it for decades through numerous passes including the one you'll use. I did have to chain up on numerous occasions. If you don't have 4-wheel drive or chains don't even think of going over the pass if they are requiring chains. The snowfall in the Cascades can be heavy both in amount and snow density.
post #4 of 14
As Rio says Mt Hood Meadows is the best of the bunch. Will you get bored after 3 days? Depends on your style of skiing and whether you get some big dumps of snow. Terrain is mainly cruising and, with a few exceptions, tends to lack steepness. Good lift system and decent sized area though so you should enjoy for 2 days.

Mount Hood skibowl is smaller and a more vintage lift system but has a good small resort feel, it also has night skiing. Timberline is worth visiting to see the lodge. Meadows and Timberline are both about 75 miles from Portland, a fairly easy 1.5 hour drive but sometimes requires you to chain up for last 10-15 miles if it has been snowing. Skibowl is a bit closer at about 60 miles and you pass it going to the other 2 resorts.

Also as per Rio the road across to Bend can get pretty rough when it snows, definitely not recommended without chains or 4WD if that is the case. I found drive time is heavily dependent on weather and hard to predict as there is also a huge variation between the mountain passes and then emerging into the high desert areas.

The drive from Bend to Bachelor is about 20 miles. Hope this helps.
post #5 of 14
I only have 2 days and am wondering which of the 3 I should ski.
Each area has it’s good points; Ski bowl is 90 minutes out of Portland if you take Hwy 26 and is right at Government camp. Another (suggested option) is to take I84 east to Hood River then 35 up to Meadows. About two hours but so much easier and almost no traffic whereas 26 can get tied up for hours. So you drive past Ski Bowl to get to the other two areas but it is also the lowest and the smallest with the worst lift system. If you and your sons are good skiers then you can have a fun day in the back bowls. Take the tour to learn a lot about the place. Really only worth it if its been snowing heavily for a day before and the day you are skiing. Timberline is just down the road and then up the hill for a long 6 miles. Wonderful lodge that is a must see so plan on a walk through even if you don’t choose to spend the day. The slopes are so-so with the highest (Palmer glacier) used in the summer for training camp. It is often closed in the winter for wind and ice but a fun ride even if it would be a blue groomer anywhere else. The rest of the runs are fairly short but varied and can be fun if you are not arrogant. Meadows is the best designed for what we currently expect from a resort, good high speed quads, varied areas separating different skill levels and lots of room to roam around. There are some rather shocking bottle-necks though where fast not so skilled people push through the slower crowd. It does take some getting used to so a tour is good or watch where other people go and ask where they are going. People are generally friendly and happy to show the way. Check out the map online to get the lay.

After Mt. Hood, I'm going to Bachelor. I know I have to make a drive from Bend each day.
Rental cars usually won’t allow chains but check the road/weather reports at the desk before going up. It might be worth getting a set of chains the right size for the tire from a local shop depending on the conditions.




the highway 26 comes from Portland going east whereas 35 come from the North going South to the mountain. Just to clear that up.
post #6 of 14
Legally, in Oregon you need to carry chains in a snow zone even when they are not requiring chains so you better have a set in your trunk.
post #7 of 14
Maui Steve, If you'd like a local guide around Bachelor PM me with your arrival. Always like to help out a fellow Bear. And do see Timberline Lodge.

Hey Rio, I heard they changed that law this summer, now you don't have to pack Iron. Go figure. Anyone in their right mind would be crazy not to. ODOT is putting up the Snow poles along side the road today.
post #8 of 14
Meadows has great interesting skiing, particularly if the snow pack is good. Bachelor is sometimes called "flatchure" but that isn't quite fair....if the summit is open (unlikely at Christmas due to wind whiteout) the back is outstanding and the trees on the Northwest are fairly steep and endless.

The drive is pretty easy. It only snows heavily at the mountain. The trip from Hood to Bend is in desert and even Bend (3700') is unlikely to have a white Christmas. I have skied from Bachelor to Bend only once. Expect snowy weather up high, a good base at the areas and be prepared to use chains for the last 10 miles to the lifts.
post #9 of 14
i would not go to timber line pretty boring in winter not a lot of good terrain but mt medows is a little better but WATCH OUT FOR RAIN was there last year on the 1 of jan and was extreamly wet . also ski bowl is not bad have some good skiing but is low elevation so snow not always good also WATCH OUT FOR RAIN . not my favorit reasorts at all but will do if it is cold and not raining. lot of rain lol
post #10 of 14
Thread Starter 
I see a lot of people recommend chains. would 4WD be sufficient?
post #11 of 14
Originally Posted by Maui Steve
I see a lot of people recommend chains. would 4WD be sufficient?

I have not put chains on my Subaru in about 300 trips to Bachelor, and lots of trips to Hood. I run full studs though. If I had a rental car I'd line up chains.
post #12 of 14
If it is snowing they might require either chains or 4 wheel drive to go over the pass.
post #13 of 14
Thread Starter 

ski shops

Any suggestions on where to rent equipment in either Portland/mt. Hood and Mt. bachelor.
post #14 of 14
personal favorite is US Outdoor http://www.usoutdoor.com/index1.html
but it would depend on arriving and leaving from Portland etc. There are rentals available on both mountains so not a big issue. What works best for you? Three day or on site?
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