I think that this is important enough to be on Ski Gabber since most of us are interested in skiing nearly year round and especially being able to ski park 9 months of the year or more.
At the end of the 2007 season in Vermont, I wasn't ready to stop skiing yet. I wanted to move to Hood because who wouldn't want to ski year round.. Thing is, I had no idea what it was like and couldn't find any info about it. I didn't go right away. I finally drove out to Hood in late October of 2007. One of the best decisions of my life...850 inches of snow...
Here is a guide for anyone who is interested in getting out there and being able to ski from morning to late night every day in the winter and ski park from December to late August. Some of this is a little bit disorganized- I am taking it from some messages I sent people.
2007-2008 season snowfall 850+ inches
Three ski resorts: Mt. Hood Meadows, Timberline Lodge, Ski Bowl also Summit Ski Area which is tiny.
All of these are within several miles of each other.
During the winter you can ski all day at Meadows or Tmberline, and then go for night skiing at Meadows or at Ski Bowl. In the summer you can ski Timberline until late August, and ski park the whole time on the Palmer Snowfield.
hood might not be the best overall place for winter skiing..and i haven't been to enough places to really judge that..
in terms of snowfall:
859 inches of snow since September 1, 2007
Hood had two days of a foot of powder..in June! the insane amount of snow isnt usual even for Mt. Hood, but i think they average around 500 a season which sure beats anything on the east coast..
I am totally used to skiing 200 inches a season on crappy icy slopes like in Pennsylvania, Mt. Creek NJ, upstate New York.. Killington..etc
So going out to Mt. Hood last October (2007), I showed up on October 30th, and the lifts were running up at the snowfield. Not sure if you've ever seen pics.. but go and do a mt.hood image search on yahoo. then search palmer snowfield images. So anyway, I was there all winter until May 12 or so, when I went back east.. And what a winter it was.. almost 900 inches of snowfall is immense.. I think most of january and february was just a constant snow storm.. thankfully its nowhere as cold as it is at killington, vt for example.
At Killy I always bought toe warmers because toes would freeze, but at Hood my toes were cold maybe twice out of 150+ days. Plus our base was at 250 some inches most of the time which is more than a lot of places get all year
The snow is great for skiing but it also fucks a lot of stuff up. Obviously if you bring a car, esp. an suv you'll have an advantage. You'll have to buy some chains, and i recommend a chain/studded tire combo. . Basically the studs were fine most days, because the Oregon DOT did a good job of plowing even in the freaky amounts of snowfall. You just need to keep the chains in your vehicle in case..occasionally you might have to go through snow thats deeper that several inches and if you stop on an uphill in that snow youll be stuck even with studs, unless you have 4WD..anyway I recommend getting studded tires/chains when you get out there.. no sense in buying them ahead of time though.
Of course you might not want to bring a car.. I if you do you will drive it cross country, which will probably cost a lot in gas. I was able to drive all the way across from Oregon to NJ for about 500 bucks in gas, but i get good mileage. Might be a lot more for other people Once you get there, whether you have a car or not also depends on where you will live, which depends on a lot on what kind of person you are and how much you really want to ski.
Basically if you take your car out there you have the advantage of being able to sleep in it in the Timberline Lodge parking lot pretty much as long as you need to.. Its not really appealing, but thats what I did for a few days and later for over a week. It gets cold at night lol. But basically you can sleep in the parking lot and no one from the resort will kick you out. I think its because overnight parking is a allowed because so many people climb Mt. Hood. They come the night before, camp out and then wake up mad early to go climb it.
Here are some places which you can live at and pros and cons.
Let me give you a layout of the towns and resorts. Portland, Oregon is about an hour to hour 30 mins away from Mt. Hood. Portland is a real city with lots to do. You probably wouldn't want to live any farther than that. But if you want to make better money, living and working in Portland might be good. You'll need a car then. The negative is that to drive to Hood you might be dealing with traffic, and even if you have a day job you could ski every day in the winter by going to a night ski area called Ski Bowl.. Problem is, thats a lot of driving back and forth. From Portland you eventually take route 26 all the way to Government Camp, which is the town most associated with Mt Hood. If you drive from Portland on snowy days, which happened a lot, you will encounter a lot of chaining up as you get closer to the mountain. Basically people will be on the side of the road putting chains on their tires. This causes delays and traffic and really sucks. Plus route 26 is sketchy as hell..look it up...
Closer to Mt. Hood is Gresham, which is basically right next to Portland. I'd say the same thing for Gresham. Next is a town called Sandy.. From Sandy to Government Camp is probably average 45 minutes. Sandy can be considered an actual town. From then on its really small towns along 26. Welches, and Rhododendron. Welches is 16 miles from "Govy" and Rhody is 12. Once you pass Rhody you are going uphill a lot and you are pretty much in the forest. Then finally you hit Government Camp.
Living in Sandy poses similar problems to Portland, except that its closer. Comparing Sandy to Portland isnt realistic though as Sandy is just a small town. Living in Welches is more realistic but even then its still sometimes a 30 minute drive to the mountain. Rhody is closer, but the same thing. You probably want to take gas prices into consideration.
From Welches on to Govy and Timberline Lodge Ski Resort its really easy to hitch hike. Timberline also runs an employee shuttle all the way from Sandy I believe. But the shuttle times are not always convenient. If you were to live in Sandy and your job started at 8:30 am for example, you might still have to take the ass crack of dawn shuttle at 5 am.
Finally we get to Government Camp.. Theres not much to do there.. except for ski.. alot. And drink..a lot If you live in Govy, you dont need a car, unless you want to be really independent. Ski Bowl Ski Area is right across the street from one end of Government Camp. Timberline Lodge access road starts off of Route 26 on the other end of town. Its 6 winding miles of uphill to the resort. If you go 8 miles past Govy you get to another resort on the other side of the mountain called Mt. Hood Meadows. Also there is a tiny beginner ski area. right in Government Camp..called Summit
Its pretty easy to get picked up at the bottom of Timberline Road if you are hitch hiking and its totally acceptable. If you like being independent its still nice to have a car as long as you can afford it..
Anyways, my advice is, if you are there to ski then live in Govy. You can always move down the mountain if you dont like it.
The benefits for a hardcore skier in Govy are as follows: Ski Bowl is right there next to the town. Timberline is a short drive away, as is Meadows. You can ski Meadows or Timberline all day, and then go to Ski Bowl for night skiing.
Let me tell you more about the resorts:
Meadows is the best all around resort in the area for steeps, parks, variety, etc. However a Meadows pass is more expensive than Timby or Ski Bowl. In fact last season Timberline and Ski Bowl offered a Fusion Pass for both resorts for under 400 bucks I think.. Definitely sweet. I think Meadows pass is over 600. Meadows is a little bit farther than Timberline from Govy as well.
I am not a big expert on Meadows since I went there once. It has sick steeps for pow days and a lot of trails. Its definitely the upscale resort of the area. Lots of parks from what I hear too.
Timberline, is called "Timberflats". Its basically an intermediate mountain. IF you like riding park, TLine's parks are pretty good and some people compare them to Meadows. A specific compliment I have heard is that Timberline parks have better flow than Meadows parks although Meadows has more parks and variety of features. You can read comparisons on Oregon regional forum.
And all the TLine Parks are accessed by one high speed chairlift so you can do under 15 minute laps of the park and chair ride.
Then there is Ski Bowl. Basically its the dopest chillest little ski area. Its bigger than most east coast ski areas, other than some in vermont. What makes it so amazing is that its a primarily night ski area and it has sick back country terrain.
No shit..you can wrap up a day of shredding at Meadows or TLine and then head for steeps and even cliffs under the lights. Its really sick, and they have night park as well. You can ski Ski Bowl during the day as well on weekends, and there is a lot of sweet back country type stuff thats not open at night. But even at night you can drop cliffs..Really sick.
I wound up living right across the street from Ski Bowl, so I could walk there if I wanted to.
As far as work goes..pay is pretty low unless you have some unique skill or are just really good at getting a nice job. You can expect to be paid anywhere from 8 to 12 dollars an hour on the mountain depending on what you do. Some manager positions start at 11 or 12. You cant really be out there for the money.
I started out as a ski instructor, which i had been before. Its a pretty tight job..has its drawbacks like any other, but you do get to be on snow a lot. To make 40 hours a week is impossible and to make 30 requires working almost every day. Timberline is where I worked and tips were usually not very good. Its not a bad job if you just want to ski and have enough money to get by. Park Crew is a sick job. I got on Park Crew at Ski Bowl in December and then at Timberline in January and I still kept both jobs. So I was doing about 60 hours a week of park crew for a few months. It made me decent money and I was skiing and doing what i love as a job.
Just remember, when trying to get a job out there, especially at Timberline its good to just show up. I think they get tons of apps from people who arent serious at all. You should still fill an app out and try to get a job lined up, but I don't think that the HR office is counting on people from the east coast moving out there.
Anyway, your best bet is to do some advance research on a job and send in an app and maybe even a resume. You could work at Meadows or Ski Bowl, but I recommend Timberline because they have employee housing in Government Camp and because Timberline is where you want to be for the summer. So obviously if you show yourself in the winter and make connections even at a shitty job it'll be easier to get hooked up in the summer. And a summer pass is expensive..750 i think
so best bet, get a job there and keep scouting out for better ones and if you know one you like with no openings keep talking to the manager and staying in contact..politely keep yourself in their mind for the position..i am sure you know how all that works.
Best time to come out for the winter is probably in early October. At that time there is usually still housing available and you'll have time to set things up before the season gets rolling. As far as where to live, there is a place called the Summits which I can tell you more about if you want. Its owned by Timberline and is for employee and or low income people. Tline has other employee housing too.
There are condos and apartments for rent in Govy, Rhody and Welches. A good paper to check is the Mountain Times. I am not sure if its online but you can definitely get a copy in Oregon. You'll probably want to have a place lined up before you get there. I know some places that are usually available but they aren't necessarily the best..
Basically, as far as the season, its kicks off full time around mid November depending on snow. It lasts until late May and then enters into summer season. In the summer its only Timberline Lodge, and only the Palmer snowfield. Its not much for regular skiing but there is a sick Public Park and tons of camps like windells and high cascade which have their own private parks.
I left right before summer kicked off so I dont know whats its like other than its obviously slushy and each day they can lose feet of snow. But there is tons of snow and even more in canyons, which they can farm with snowcats. Summer season usually lasts till late August or early September. Then they close for two weeks of maintenance. In the fall: Sep and Oct they have lifts running on Fri, Sat, Sun conditions permitting. On the off days you can hike the snowfield with no problems. Its pretty limited skiing in the fall and definitely no parks then. But it could be the time to go work elsewhere and make some big bucks. So if you are a hardcore park rider you are basically looking at a bout a 3 months off season where you can still ski and have fun and probably build your own shit. If you dont ride park you can make turns all summer and fall though without much variety.
Govy is actually busier in summer than winter.
Heres more stuff:
- cascade concrete- i never actually heard that while i was there.. but you have to remember that we just had a record season..there were very few days when conditions were bad.. the only issue with all the snowfall we got is that it gets pretty gnarly up where the parks are at timberline, and it makes hitting jumps sketchy..but its super powdery.. so the blizzardy days are a negative for park in the short term, but thats when you can whip out your fatty pow skis. and of course all the blizzardy days make the nice days worth it in the park because its super soft. there were some nights at Ski Bowl when it got icy just because the snow would get pushed around a lot. also in the spring ski bowl will be slushy during the day and icy at night.. ski bowl is much lower than timberline
the scene out there is pretty laid back...most of the kids in govy are pretty chill in the winter..obviously i havent been there is the summer but the town really explodes with campers and i heard it can be kinda crazy and chaotic.. but i guess thats a cheap price for being able to ski park in the summer
portland oregon, which is pretty close is a pretty artsy town with a huge skateboarding scene. govy its more of your ski bum and tourist crowd
in terms of actual ski scene.. freestyle skiers are really outnumbered by snowboarders at Hood except for the summer.. I basically heard that the northwest and especially the Hood area is snowboard country..
At Meadows there are a lot more freestyle skiers..its Sammy Carlson's home mountain. At Timberline there are a lot fewer as most of the good ones ski at Meadows (its not because TLine has worse parks but because Meadows has overall better terrain and they occasionally build a superpark at the end of season..i've heard a lot of skiers say that Timby parks are better but they go to Meadows for the steeps.) So in the winter at Timberline you wont see a lot of people at all, and definitely a lot less skiers skiing park than you are probably used to. Ski Bowl is even more so.. Ski Bowl is pretty much snowboard dominated.. I was the first skier on Ski Bowl park crew.
Basically I never had any problems with any snowboarders and made friends with tons, and most of the local skiers are really chill. You might have heard that the Pacific NW has its own style of skiing.. Slow..styley tricks.. Its pretty much true.. And even though you wont see a lot of skiers in the park like you do in colorado and on the east coast, you will see several unique things:
1: a lot of that slow spinning styley stuff from the really good skiers..
2: a lot of no poles park skiing
3: you'll see some of the originators and innovators of freestyle skiing, for example Eric Pollard lives in Welches! and I saw him filming that Hunting Yeti Webisode 2 right at Timberline. Josh Frasier and Griffin Cummings are two locals who pretty much invented twintips.. (try googling or yahoo for their names) Andy Mahre is around there too. In the summer you'll see all kinds of pros. This spring I saw Pollard filming as well as Wallish and Steve Step.. I think Pep Fujas goes to Hood sometimes too
overall theres a good vibe for skiing out there and its kinda fresh there in terms of park in the winter..
-Employee housing is different. I lived in the Brew Pub Apartments right across the street from Ski Bowl..Those are really nice. You share a big common room and a nice kitchen and bathroom with two other rooms. There's two rooms and one loft room basically. Each room can have up to two people. I lived in the loft which wasn't the best but wasnt too bad either. Rent was 350 a month which included absolutely everything except cable and phone. No A/C but central heating..which is huge.. When my buddy from Vermont came, he moved into the loft with me, which is totally allowed by their rules, and so our rent was only 175 per month, which is a sweet deal if you can stand to live with someone in the same room. Getting into those apartments is harder and they generally look for people who aren't going to fuck them up so you want to present yourself as well as possible.. You also have to be a Timberline employee.
The other option owned by Timberline is called the Summits and they are on the other side of town.. Now they have a nickname : "The Scummits" Generally they aren't as nice but it depends on who you live with. There is an employee housing part of the Summits and then another part which is for anyone with a low income whether they work for Timberline or not. Those ones have four rooms that share a common room and kitchen but all have their own bathrooms. 400 a month i think for those.
There's other options in Govy and Rhody and Welches and in between. What you really want to look out for is if a place has heat included in the price. If they just have a fireplace/ wood stove that might be kinda sucky. I dont know if you've ever lived with no heat but it SUCKS BALLS in the middle of winter. And even if they have a wood stove, just consider that you might shred timberline all day, then go to ski bowl till 10 pm or 11 and then get home pretty late..Are you really going to have the energy to start a fire which might take 20 minutes..probably not.. My sincere advice is that if you are serious about skiing a lot and being happy, try to get a nice place that has heat and low rent. Obviously the more cash you have on hand when you get there the better.. But even before you get there do your homework on available places because it will save you a lot of money and aggravation in the long run. I lived at two places before i finally found the one i liked. One place was nice but it was too expensive and too far from the mt.. I was looking at 200 dollars in gas per month minimum, and that would be even more now.. The next place didnt have a decent kitchen and only had a wood stove for heat. I froze my ass off in there half the time because i was working double shifts and coming home dead tired.
-Bring all your skis. If you are going to ski a lot and a lot of park you will likely break your skis. fatty pow skis are really useful too. This past season I broke the binding on my k2 fujatives, destroyed the edges on my atomic tripplets (rails), and destroyed the edges on my rossi sprayers (rails) If you ski park 150 days you will trash your skis.. Definitely have a pair of all around rail/park/all mountain shredders that you can trash..then buy used ones to replace
job perks for timberline.. you can find them on the website under jobs: www.timberlinelodge.com
cell phone coverage: i have tmobile and i got service in most of Govy and parts of timberline though not on the access road..The Brew Pub apartments were also sick because they had free wireless internet.
GAS- there is one gas station in town called Chevron. Prices a slightly more expensive than down the mountain but not too much
-as far as girls there are mostly tourists, a lot of the hotties you'll see are only passing through
-theres several bars in town and i think any of the restaurants are overpriced.. Its pretty much a small town.. it kinda of sucks because to get decent grocery stores and prices you have to go to Safeway in Sandy or to many of the stores like WinCo in Gresham.. Another reason why having a car is a plus or being friends with someone who has a car..
COPS-the cops might be bad in the summer..i dont know.. in the winter they generally aren't around though you'll see a Statey ocasionally and some forest rangers. i got pulled over once for having my headlight completely out and got no ticket whatsoever from the forest ranger dude.. i can see why summer might be different though but i dont know
-there are a couple of hotels in govy and they seems pretty decent.. One is is right next to the Brew Pub apartments..rooms are at least 99 a night though. you can actually stay at Timberline Lodge which is a museum/hotel/lodge and it has rooms for 99 and up and maybe discounted ones for employees
Ski Shops- There are no good ski shops for freestyle skiing in Govy. Closest is at Meadows or in Gresham and Portland.
There's a place in town where you can do laundry and its pretty nice. Just coin operated machines. Its run by the Huckleberry Inn and is in a part attached to it. Some of the employee housing has laundry machines but they might not be the best.
it definitely rains a lot in the PNW which sucks.. But its good for snowfall obviously. There were some sunny days in the winter, but year its mostly overcast or stormy on the mountain.. But most people agree its very much worth it for the tons of snow we got. In the summer I hear that when you are skiing on the snowfield, you are often above the clouds. Supposedly summer is actually the sunny season up there, and sometimes it will rain in Govy but be totally sunny at the mountain because the clouds are below you. I definitely saw this effect even in the winter.
As far as snow wetness. ITs super wet in the summer..obviously.. the snow is generally heavy and wet, but this winter we had a lot of dry powder which was definitely sweet.
Best bet is to bring all the gear you have, is thats possible. You can always decide there what you need and dont need. Its also nice because the weather is generally warmer than out east. Sure there will be cold days up at the mt. but most of the discomfort will come from the blizzardy conditions and wind. The blizzardy conditions are something to keep in mind too..
I've got some more detailed info:
Some food is available at the gas station, but its your usual convenience store.
Village Store (503) 272-3355 88821 E Government Camp Loop, Government Camp, OR The Village Store is small and I only went in there once.
Govy General is the main grocery store. Its small and overpriced.
Govy General Incorporated (503) 272-3107 30521 E Meldrum, Government Camp, OR
MT Hood Foods (503) 622-4652 73265 E Highway 26, Rhododendron, OR This one is about 12 miles down the mountain from govy..small place
Thriftway in Welches..
Still overpriced and about 30 minutes down the mountain. called "Theftway"
This has an overall better and larger selection than any of the previous three. You can get legit groceries.
Fred Meyer and Safeway in Sandy, OR
This is 45 minutes down the mountain or so..These are finally two real grocery stores.
WinCo in Gresham,
I forget how long it takes to get there but I think no more than an hour. They have really cheap stuff and its a full grocery store. Gresham has pretty much everything you need. And Portland is just a little bit further.
Places to Live:
Government Camp, OR 97028
Their office is open Tuesday through Saturday. Usually about 9 to 4.
Maggie and Jim Taylor are the people that work there.
Again this is for both employees and non employees as well as low income non students.
If you are an employee you can get into other housing which is generally better. Its located above the Brew Pub and is basically the first building you see in Govy when you are coming from Portland. There is other housing elsewhere in Govy I heard for TLine
The Inn is right in government camp. I think they let some of their employees live there but I am not sure.
Ski Bowl- I've heard of Ski Bowl having employee housing somewhere in Govy but I have no idea where.
There are condos and houses for rent in govy. You can find these in the Mountain times..I havent been able to find that paper online.
Theres also cabins for rent somewhere in the woods near govy.
Theres also a ski lodge or hostel in govy where you can stay relatively cheap if you pay a membership fee.
Our guest rate for all non Cascade members (adults and children) will be $ 22.00 per person, per night, a great deal up on the mountain.
Affiliated club members are invited to join Cascade Ski Club and will have their one-time initiation fee ( $ 50.00) waived.Here is their website: http://cascadeskiclub.org/
Couch surfing- you can definitely do this if you make some friends until you get a place..
Car- you can sleep in your car as long as you need to. Timberline parking lot is one place to do that.
In the summer you can set up a tent up near Timberline, and you can do the same in the winter but its pretty crazy weather for that..
Like the guy who was at Hood this summer said, it takes time to get a place in employee or low income housing and takes a deposit and first months rent. I had to pay 700 just to move in. So think about where you might live before you get into employee housing.
I dont know about places to live around Meadows unfortunately. So maybe someone can add to that.
but the bottom line is that its very possible to come to Hood and ski your heart out especially in the park.. some of you might have commitments in the fall and winter. If you are in college in another state, you can easily come out to Hood for your summer break. Get some cash saved up and do some research on how you are going to live there. Once you get there, it will be so worth it. And if you spend the whole summer there you'll get so much better at park skiing while all your buddies are waiting for snow for half a year.