Mount Hood Meadows

February 17th, 2009

Mount Hood Meadows

I was in Portland with the GF this past weekend, so one day of our trip we planned to ski at Mount Hood. It’s ski season afterall, Bridger Bowl has been hurting for snow, and it looked like a lot of fun to ski when I visited last summer, so it was the only thing to do. There are three main resorts on Hood: Mount Hood Meadows, Timberline, and Mount Hood Skibowl. We hemed and hawed and debated and finally decided to ski Meadows because it looked like the nicest mix of size, steep runs, high speed lifts and night skiing. The other places looked like a lot of fun to explore as well, but we chose Meadows.

We missed our turn leaving Portland and ended up looping all the way around North though Hood River, but we made it to Meadows eventually. It was a busy President’s Day weekend and we had to park in the lower lot, but it looked like it was going to be a fun day anyway: it had snowed six inches or so the last two days, and the visibility was good all the way up until the top of the Cascade lift. You couldn’t see the top of Hood, but there was no fog or flat light.

Heather canyon pow powA-Zone freshies in Heather CanyonMount Hood Meadows powder

Heather CanyonWe battled lines on the lower mountain and skied some soft crud (on top of blue ice - rain?) until we heard that “Cascade was open”. Meaning it was closed? Closed since the last snow fell?? We hurried up there into the cloud and were treated to lots of fresh snow. The actual terrain under Cascade was extremely low angle… but if you head out to “Heather Canyon” you are treated to a couple thousand feet of steep, open bowl skiing. We managed to get two runs in there despite our late start, and it was awesome. The top part was untracked! An probably close to a foot deep some places. w00t w00t!

Sunny pow on Mount Hood

Dusk on Mount HoodAt 4 most of the lifts closed, but a few are open with the lights on until 9 or so, and since our ticket was for the “11 to 7″ shift we figured it would be fun to hang out a ski a few more runs as the sun went down, and do a little night skiing! (a rare thing in Montana). Our plans fell apart quickly, though. First we realized we had to ski down to our car and drive it up to main lot, since the night skiing didn’t extend down to our lot. We had to ride up a slow, old double chair to get back to the lot we were parked in. The top of the lift is kind of strange… it dips you down to unload and the the chairs go back up to a bull-wheel that’s at the full 20ft tower height! We… got confused. It looked from our angle like it might be a mid-station. Rather than try to determine if it really was or not, I started reminiscing about Grand Targhee’s old mid-station, and how long it’s been since I saw one. And we didn’t get off.

Turns out I still haven’t seen a mid-station in a while. Why didn’t we get off?? I’m still not exactly sure. We hit the stop-gate before the bull-wheel, and hung there for five minutes hotly debating the deeper implications of our apparent (and severe) retardation while the liftie tried to figure out what had happened and reset the stop gate. Then, because the lift is so high there, we couldn’t even unload at the top! We had to ride all the way back down, as some sort of cruel public humiliation. And then ride back up again! *sigh* (We did much better the second time around, btw).

Night skiing begins a MeadowsSo, thoroughly humbled by this experience, we got the car and drove to the main lot. There was a sign that said we had to pay to park… but we didn’t feel like figuring that out; we just wanted to do a couple more quick runs. So we just parked and hoped for the best. Arriving at the main night skiing lift it looked like no one had in fact left for the day, and instead everyone was just crammed onto this one lift now. We toughed out the line once, but were feeling cold and a little put off by the turn our day had taken so we bailed, figuring we could at least save ourselves a parking ticket (we did, thankfully).

All-in-all it was a swell day. Powder in good visibility on Mount Hood! But we were excited to head back to Portand and drown our gaper-shame in micro brew…

Mount Hood from Portland

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3 Responses to “Mount Hood Meadows”

  1. Gaper shame is the worst. Welcome to my world, where I just try to look like I’m having more fun than anybody else in hopes that the crowd will forget that I just fell down in the lift line.

  2. A Warren Miller moment. Were’s Bill Heath when he’s needed? At least you made the day for some lifties!

  3. [...] the full post from Oronaut here. Share and [...]

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