Mount Hood, Oregon Offers Winter Or Summer Sports Year Round | Magazine
Snow! Snow! Snow! Ski! Ski! Ski!
Wait what? It’s July, the sun is shining, the grass is a bit brown, the kids are running in the sprinkler and the pool is perfect. It’s barbecue season, not snow skiing season.
Why do we talk about summer snow in the northern hemisphere? Because we are fortunate to have a mountain nearby that has summer skiing. Yes, you read that right. So, unpack your ski gear, wax those skis, and head to Oregon’s Mount Hood for some non-traditional skiing.
Our family is a dedicated ski family. And by dedicated I mean I married a skier raised in Colorado so our three kids have been on skis since they could walk and we can easily ski four days a week during the typical ski season. . Although our native mountain is White Pass, we appreciate all the Pacific Northwest has to offer when it comes to snow skiing. And Oregon has a treat with a large glacier providing stable summer snow.
Timberline Resort is only a three hour drive from Yakima which is very doable in the summer. And quite frankly, you could make Mount Hood your home mountain for a regular ski season just to try it out.
We’ve been going down Mount Hood for several summers now, usually around the 4th of July vacation. Our kids love to go to ski camp there and get world class training in all disciplines. Some of our friends are doing downhill team races, while others are doing freestyle ski camp, where massive jumping and sophisticated aerial tricks dominate the day. Our 9 year old took a serious jump last summer, then was featured on Instagram by a world class skier (hint, on the cover of ski magazines), getting accessories from famous skiers around the world.
The Mount Hood ski camps are surreal that way. You could end up skiing with former Olympians or skiers who are in the prestigious Warren Miller ski movies.
Camps can be flexible and offer some families to dive for just a few days or take a full seven-day program with accommodation and food included. Children from all over the world descend on Mount Hood for summer skiing; some are already geared towards the expert level and come with coveted sponsors, while others see it simply as a great way to keep skiing all year round.
Some camps offer both mountain and off-mountain training. If you’ve ever watched the X Games and wondered how a skier can do so many tricks in the air and land them perfectly, know that they trained in a facility like Mount Hood, where there is a huge gymnasium with practice trampolines and jumps where you land in foam pits. Practice makes perfect, so after a morning on the slopes our kids head inside to work on the trampoline.
However, all of this excitement and fun isn’t just for kids. Several camps on Mount Hood now offer an adults-only weekend so people like my husband can go from a simple backward ski jump at White Pass to something even more outrageous, with the right guidance.
Timberline sells day passes as well as summer ski passes, so you can go down several times during the summer to enjoy the first mornings on good snow. The prices are higher here than in our home mountain, but summer skiing is such a novelty, it’s fun to treat yourself.
Timberline has a beautiful large lodge with food services, restrooms, shops and a few accommodations. We spent hours on the patio, relaxing in the sun, eating delicious burgers and fries as our kids wrap up a long day of ski camp. Government Camp is just down the mountain, but it’s a quaint little ski town with exceptional shops, restaurants, bakery, and accommodations – both have a gorgeous Best Western as well as various Airbnb and VRBO options.
Our family invested in a trailer, so we go down to Mount Hood and camp at a local RV park. Our favorite is Mount Hood Village, just down the road from Timberline to Welches.
This park offers everything from basic campgrounds to full hookup RV sites and even several adorable cottages, yurts, and cabins. They have a swimming pool, hot tub, beach volleyball court, playground, laundry facilities and games room.
Nearby, and accessible from the campground, is the lush Wildwood Recreation Site. Here you will find over 500 acres of spectacular wilderness with old Douglas fir, western hemlock and western red cedar. Run along well-maintained trails through a fern-laden valley to the river and enjoy a picnic.
For children raised in a shrub-steppe valley, this kind of wilderness looks like a movie set. From this recreation area you can join more challenging hikes such as the Boulder Ridge Trail.
If your family is out on the slopes and you’d rather skip the summer season, or you’re just not an avid skier enough to haul your gear this summer, the Mount Hood area is full of other activities, including biking. mountain, hiking, horseback riding, paintball, rafting and more.
We especially like the Mount Hood Adventure Park at the Mount Hood Ski Bowl across from Government Camp. This activity center has a ton of fun, including a half-mile alpine slide (like a toboggan), go-karts, disc golf, a climbing wall, pony rides, a mountain trampoline. rubber band, mini golf, batting cages … the list goes on. If you like mountain biking you can rent absolutely anything on the mountain here and take the ski lifts and hike miles of trails.
One of the best memories I have from our summer vacation in Mount Hood was the spectacular waterfall hike to Tamanawas Falls. A gentle 3.4 mile hike winds through the forest to reveal a 110-foot curtain waterfall above a lava cliff.
I will never forget the sheer delight on our youngest 6 year old’s face when she came to the bend and saw this beauty. While his siblings tore him to pieces on Mount Hood, our little one learned that nature can be truly extraordinary.