Oregon might be underrated when it comes to skiing and snowboarding. But with 12 resorts offering experiences ranging from big-mountain destination skiing to small community mountains (and even the chance to ski and ride year-round), it’s definitely worth a visit! Here are our picks for the best ski areas in Oregon.
Due to COVID-19, safety measures were put in place by the State of Oregon which impacted the 20/21 ski season. These included mask-wearing, physical distancing and increased sanitization protocols. In Deschutes County which is home to Mount Bachelor, the return to High Risk Classification resulted in the reduced capacity of indoor and outdoor dining. Such restrictions are not anticipated to continue into the 21/22 winter season.
Only 90 minutes from Portland, Mt. Hood Meadows is the largest of the five ski resorts on the iconic Cascade peak. Its 2,777 ft of vertical and 87 trails will keep skiers and boarders of all abilities busy for days! Beginners and intermediates will enjoy some of the best grooming in the region, and experts will be thrilled with the gate-accessed steeps in Heather Canyon. Hike-to terrain offers another 1,700 ft of vertical, and the opportunity to ski a thigh-burning uninterrupted vertical of almost 4,500 ft! There isn’t any ski-in/ski-out lodging, but there is a wide selection of accommodation in the nearby towns of Government Camp and Welches.
Less than a half hour from the outdoor adventure hotspot of Bend, Mt. Bachelor offers more than 4,300 ac of skiable terrain, making it the largest in the state and one of the largest in the U.S. Its high elevation often lends itself to drier and lighter snow than is common in the Northwest, and you can ski with 360-degree views of the Cascades and eastern Oregon’s high desert. Mt. Bachelor offers great amenities and activities, with a variety of dining options on the mountain, childcare, a tubing park, and more than 35 mi of Nordic skiing trails. However, you’ll have to travel around 30 minutes to Bend for lodging options.
Another of the resorts on Mt. Hood and just under an hour and a half from Portland, Timberline Lodge’s claim to fame is its long season, with most of the resort often open through the end of May and skiing on Palmer Glacier through the summer. There’s even fall skiing on weekends until there’s enough snow for full-time operations! It’s also known for its lodge, which is a national historic landmark and filming site for The Shining. Although it’s rare for the entire area to be open at the same time, Timberline Lodge offers a truly unique experience that’s not to be missed!
The closest of the Mount Hood-area resorts to Portland (only an hour away), Mt. Hood Ski Bowl is sometimes overshadowed by bigger—and higher—resorts like Timberline and Mt. Hood Meadows. But it packs a lot into its 960 ac and 1,500 ft of vertical. It has 69 runs, half of which are lit for night skiing, more than any other ski area in the country! Roughly 80% of its terrain is rated for intermediates and experts, but there are enough beginner trails to make for a great experience for the entire family. And with other resorts getting all the attention, Mt. Hood Ski Bowl is generally uncrowded!
Just over the California state line and one hour from the town of Ashland, this community-owned spot is the go-to ski area in southern Oregon. Its 240 ac and 1,150 ft vertical drop offers plenty for intermediate, advanced, and expert skiers. Though there is a learning area, the few beginner runs combined with sometimes icy conditions make it a better choice for more experienced skiers and riders. They’ll surely enjoy testing their mettle against the double-black-diamond chutes into The Bowl, as well as tree skiing the Moraine Glade. Amenities at the mountain are limited, but the town offers great dining, plenty of lodging, and a bustling arts scene.
Just over an hour from Eugene, Willamette Pass is the college town’s local ski area with the fun, laid back atmosphere to match. There’s plenty for beginners, including some surprisingly long trails, meandering intermediate runs, and enough advanced runs to keep the more ambitious shredders happy. The RTS run has pitches as steep as 52 degrees! The resort’s location and elevation often mean wet, heavy snow, but the panoramic views of the Cascade Mountains’ volcanic peaks and high mountain lakes make it worth a visit!