Lets get one thing straight, a summer at Mount Hood is probably not for you. I'm sure you've seen plenty of Windells edits, glorifying the summer shred lifestyle, full of smiling 13 year old rich kids and perfectly manicured parks but for the most part this is an image fabricated by filmers and editors who are posted up in a lavish house down in Welches, not a worry on their mind.
In reality the Mount Hood national forest is a dark gloomy place, a damp quiet oasis for meth heads looking to get their fix in peace. You better believe Government camp and the surrounding area is full of burnout ski bums and suspect folk, probably hiding from the Portland law. There is an abundance of shithole living accommodations, obnoxious, cocky ski racers and the rain….we haven't even gotten to the rain yet. I'm sure you imagine Mt. Hood as a gorgeous mountain, drenched in sunshine for the summer months but don't get it twisted, it rains, and rains, and doesn't stop.
You will spend countless days and weeks posted up inside a one bedroom apartment with 6 or 7 other dudes, smoking your boredom away, or smoking yourself even deeper into oblivion. You won't see the sun for weeks on end in June and don't think that just because your from the East Coast you can handle the weather. It will fog and rain so hard that you can't see a foot in front of you, vertigo so overwhelming that you will fall over just standing in one place. But if your the type of dirtbag that can ride out weeks of depressing weather and stay somewhat sane, you WILL be rewarded.
July 4th rolls around and things change on a dime, the clouds part to reveal the most majestic mountain you have ever laid your sorry eyes upon. Full of rolling hills and a glorious open snowfield, the slow grind halts to a stop, allowing one to indulge in the summer of a lifetime. Full of skiing, bronzing, camping missions and overpriced tequila sipping.
There are a handful of ways to make a summer in Hood happen. I'll take you through a few of them here. Probably the easiest and best way to ski everyday in the summer is to get a job at Timberline lodge. You'll work some odd and stressful hours if your priority is making it out on the hill everyday. Timberline offers a plethora of entry level jobs. Your best bet is to apply for the highly coveted dishwashing position in the Cascade dining room. While enduring abuse from disgruntled chefs, eating crew chow not fit for a starving dog and whipping through a never ending stack of plates and fine china, you will get to ski to your hearts content. Bust ass, especially in your first few shifts and take over the night position.
You will follow in the line of many a Hood Crew member, skiing from 10 to 3 everyday, then heading into work to bust ass for the next 8 hours. High as fuck, of course, as it is necessary to show up intoxicated to deal with the shitshow you are being thrust into. Another opportunity is taking a position as a buss boy or server in the Cascade dining room, CDR for short. You'll show up at 6 AM every morning still drunk from the night before, put up with endless complaints from elderly tourists but by the time 11 AM rolls around you are let loose to go destroy the public park. Put in a summer or two in the CDR and you might just move up the ranks to work alongside Timberline summer loc, Andy Parry, in the Rams Head restaurant, working afternoon shifts pulling in well over a hundred dollars a shift. Apply for these jobs as early as possible as these are sought after positions.
Option two is to go hardcore dirtbag on 'em. Your number is three grand. Save that up in the winter and you are clear to buy a summer pass for 900 bucks and spend three or four months living in the woods, skiing everyday without a job, stress free. While this may sound like a dream come true, having a full summer with no structure can be downright depressing. When it rains for a week at a time and you have no obligations and can't ski, one can be overwhelmed in depressing thoughts like "what the fuck am I doing with my life" or "I should have just stayed in Vermont for the summer, this is SO damn boring". Like I was saying though, once the sun pops out to stay, every ski bum in Govy is wishing they were in your shoes.
Spending full days on the mountain and afternoons lounging in lake trillium is a fantastic way to spend your summer. When most of your buddies are grinding away their summers in construction jobs you will be jibbing the Timberline public park and enjoying some life changing views. You can spend evenings posted around a camp fire deep in the woods, passing a bottle of Seagrams Whiskey between your closest, like-minded homies, only to pass out in your damp tent, waking up to do it all over again the next day.
If a summer full of lighting couches on fire, waking up way to early for work and drowning your boredom in a bottle sounds appealing than this place might just be for you. You'll spend hours on end bitching about the public park but in the end, your skiing! In the summer! Send it and you will meet some of the most absurd and awesome people of your life and progress your skiing more than you did over the previous 3 winters. It is no secret that the summer sun acts as a steroid, bringing out abilities you never knew you had.
In part 2 I'll cover living accommodations, how to manage your funds in the money sucking town you live in and how to really live as a dirtbag in the Oregon woods, stay tuned!