Mount Hood an intermediate skier’s dream

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Story
and photos by Marlene Greer
/Correspondent


If
you want to feel like you are king or queen of the mountain, head to
Oregon’s Mt. Hood Meadows ski resort.

That’s
the way my daughter and I felt on a recent day in February. We
stopped midway through a run and stood under a mostly sunny sky – a
rare occurrence in Oregon in winter – looking down the snow-covered
slopes of Mt. Hood, across the fog-shrouded valley and took in the
sweeping vista of the Cascade Range.

Miles
of pine tree-covered mountains and snow-capped peaks stretched as far
as the eye could see. If we weren’t so focused on enjoying our
first ski trip of the season, we could have spent the afternoon
parked mountainside savoring a cup of hot tea and the fabulous view.

Stopping
frequently to take in the views is one of the joys of skiing at Mt.
Hood Meadows on a good day. And with a solid 12-foot base and six
inches of fresh snow this week, those good days should last well into
April.

Mt.
Hood Meadows, a little over an hour’s drive from Portland, is the
largest and most popular of the several ski resorts around Mt. Hood.
It’s also an intermediate skiers dream. With 50 percent of the
mountain labeled intermediate, skiers at that level have the run of
the place. That leaves 35 percent of the mountain for experts and 15
percent for beginners.

Experts
can hike the peak’s Superbowl ridge and make their way through
Clark Canyon – all double black diamond terrain. For the less
adventurous, a jump off into Heather Canyon from the Cascade and
Shooting Star lifts offers a smorgasbord of double black diamond
choices.

Beginners
have a quiet little edge of the mountain all to themselves. Tucked on
the resort’s west side off the Vista Express is a selection of
green runs offering a fun variety for the novice skier.

Being
so close to Portland, Mt. Hood Meadows can get crowded on the
weekends, with the biggest crush at the Main Lodge and the Mt. Hood
Express in the mountain’s central ski area.

To
get away from the crowds, skiers can head to the more remote Shooting
Star Express on the mountain’s east end. Here, my daughter and I
felt like we had the place to ourselves – even on a Saturday. Many
times we could look 50-plus yards in all directions and not see a
single person. This portion of the mountain is quiet, peaceful and
perfectly suited to immediate skiers.

There
is no lodging at Mt. Hood Meadows. Several hotels in Hood River on
the Columbia River about 30 miles from the ski resort offer ski and
stay packages, including room, hot breakfast and lift tickets for
two.

For
those staying in Portland, bus service direct to Mt. Hood Meadows
picks up at locations throughout the Portland Metro area. Or shuttle
services are available through private companies.

Visitors
can find information on lodging in Hood River and bus service from
Portland on the Mt. Hood Meadows website.

MT.
HOOD MEADOWS SKI RESORT

Lift
tickets:
$54 adults, $44 college students 18-24, $35 juniors age
7-14, $9 children age 6 and under; $99 unlimited spring season pass

Information:
www.skihood.com

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