The Best Mt. Hood Ski Resort For This Season

A look at the top of Mt. Hood from the Magic Mile Lift on Timberline
Photo by: Casper Eichman.

Mt Hood is the home of two of the most popular ski resorts in the state: Timberline Lodge and Mt. Hood Meadows. Both resorts have their pros and cons, but which one should you spend your money on? 

Timberline is a great family ski resort. There is a good mix of easy and difficult runs, tree access, and a couple of terrain parks along the way.  

Price: Season pass prices at Timberline are pretty expensive. Junior and Senior winter passes (ages 7-14 and 65+) are 389 dollars a piece. Teen passes (age 15-24) are 529 dollars, and Adult passes (age 25-64) are 949 dollars. Although these prices are high, they allow you to go to Timberline any day you want during the season.  

Terrain: Timberline has a total of six full chair lifts and one small lift for the bunny hill. There is a large amount of terrain at Timberline, including seven terrain parks, and an even mix of beginner, intermediate and advanced runs throughout the mountain. “There’s just a little bit of everything there. And it’s really a great place to learn and get better,” says Timberline snowboarder and Cleveland High School Student, Lawson Vella. There is also a trail that you can ski all the way to Government Camp called the Glade Trail. 

Parks: Timberline has a fantastic variety of terrain parks spread across the mountain. There is everything from 20 foot jumps on spray paint to small boxes and rails on schoolyard. 

Parking: The Coronavirus oddly impacted the parking at Timberline more than anything else. Last season there was a limited amount of cars that were allowed in the parking lot; this rule was put in place so that social distancing could continue. The problem with this plan is that they were stopping people at the bottom of Timberline Road once the limit was reached. When a car comes down, a new car could come up. This seems like a great way to prevent the spread of Covid, until there are 50 cars piled up in the turn lane of the highway waiting for hours before they are able to use the $949 ski pass that they paid for. Timberline has not announced if they will be using this system again, but your best bet to be able to ski is to start driving as early as possible. 

Amenities: Timberline Lodge is one of the most beautiful and historic buildings in the Northwest. It includes a full restaurant and bar, breakfast buffet, hotel, stores and ski rental establishments, and best of all an outdoor heated pool and hot tub. 

Lessons: Timberline offers private lessons for any age starting at 140 dollars for one person, adding an additional 100 dollars for each hour and each extra person. They also offer group lessons for kids twelve and under for 125 dollars. This includes a full day pass, and free rental gear along with the two hour lesson. 

Overall: This resort is for families and intermediate skiers with great amenities and solid terrain. However, the parking and lack of difficult terrain gives some disadvantages.  

Meadows is a resort geared to skiers looking for more of a challenge. There is a ton of terrain and that’s all it needs.  

Price: Meadows is also a bit pricey, with winter passes ranging from 29 dollars for kids six and under to 1,039 dollars for the full adult pass. This is slightly more expensive than Timberline but not by much. 

Terrain: There are nine lifts at Meadows with a massive amount of terrain to explore. This includes six terrain parks, a massive canyon filled with double black diamond runs, and an awesome assortment of intermediate runs for everyone. 

Parks: The six parks at Meadows range in size of the obstacles and difficulty of the tricks from beginner one foot jumps to massive jumps onto a rail. However, the coolest part of these parks is that four of the six have massive overhead lights so that you can ski them while it’s still dark. 

Parking: Seems to be very easy at Meadows; there are three parking lots and it doesn’t seem to be a problem getting a spot in any one of them this year. Just like Timberline though, there is a limited number of spots so it’s first come first serve. 

Amenities: Meadows is not as grand as Timberline, but it does include some restaurants and bars, along with ski shops that have rental gear available. 

Lessons: Meadows provides youth groups, private lessons and ski school. Ski school is a lot like a group lesson but it’s every weekend for a certain amount of time. Meadows also has adult lessons available. 

Overall: Meadows is a great resort that gives people really good memories. Just like Meadows ski instructor Tommy Hurley, who states how impactful Meadows has been to him. “The best part of Meadows is a bluebird day, being on the first chair on the Cascade lift the day after it snows. The feeling just after you get off the chair, taking in the view 9000 feet below you, knowing you’re about to ski untracked snow. That specific feeling is the best,” Hurley states.

Both of these places are great choices on where to ski this year but honestly it’s all about personal preference. Go wherever all your friends are going or wherever the best snow is. It doesn’t matter because it’s gonna be a great year for winter sports.

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