1. Mount Hood Meadows
Mount Hood Meadows has been one of Oregon's premiere skiing destinations for over 40 years. Today Meadows' trails are open seven days a week -- and night skiing is offered five nights per week. The mountain faces southeast, which means wind shelter and plenty of sun, and it's just about a 90-minute drive from Portland. Meadows often features a party scene and a younger crowd, with tailgate parties in the parking lot the norm.
As of the 2012/13 season, full-day adult lift tickets are $89 during peak season and $74 off-peak. Discounts are available for kids, seniors and half-day passes. Lifts run 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, and 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. For those who don't feel like driving through traffic and inclement weather, Meadows offers a park and ride bus from Portland on weekends and holidays for $20 round trip.
430" average annual snowfall
2,150 skiable acres (140 acres at night)
1,700' vertical, with another 1,300' available by hiking
7,000' at top of highest lift, 9,000' at top of Superbowl via hiking
Up to six terrain parks
More info: skihood.com, 971-373-8100
2. Mount Hood Ski Bowl
The Mount Hood Ski Bowl traces its roots all the way back to 1928, making it one of the oldest surviving ski (and snowboard) resorts in the U.S., and the Ski Bowl's night skiing dates all the way back to 1966. Ski Bowl is the country's largest night ski area, so the good times don't stop with sundown. Tubing snow parks accompany the skiing and snowboarding for an all-ages family fun experience, including the "Cosmic Tubing" with lights, lasers and dance music.
Ski Bowl has an old-school flavor -- it lacks some of the glitz and glamour of Meadows, but also has charm because of that. It has the steepest terrain of the Mount Hood resorts, but because of its lower elevation is more susceptible to rain.
2012/13 tickets are $49 for an Adult day pass, or $69 for day and night combined, with discounts for kids and seniors. Lifts are open Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m.-10 p.m.; Friday, 9 a.m.-11 p.m.; Saturday, 8 a.m.-11 p.m.; Sunday, 8 a.m.-10 p.m.
300-350" average annual snowfall
20% beginner, 40% intermediate, 40% advanced/expert terrain
4 lifts (and 5 rope tows)
960 skiable acres (550 acres at night)
5,027' at top of highest lift
More info: skibowl.com, 503-222-BOWL
The historic Timberline Lodge, featured in The Shining, offers the only on-mountain lodging of the Mount Hood resorts, and is one of the most iconic buildings in Oregon. Built in 1937 as part of Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal, the lodge is a living testament to a time gone by, and just a really cool place to sip hot drinks by the fire.
Timberline's terrain is ideal for a family with skiers and boarders of varying abilities, and the more rolling terrain is a big hit with the snowboarders. The recently constructed Still Creek Basin adds 220 acres and eight trails along with gladed tree skiing to the available options. The ski/board season is among the longest of any resort, with the winter season typically kicking off by November -- sometimes earlier, with skiing in September and October -- and running through Memorial Day. A second summer season runs from June through Labor Day, so no matter when the mood strikes you to hit the slopes, there's a good chance Timberline is open. The Palmer Snowfield offers above-tree-line skiing to the public all summer, and various private ski race and snowboarding camps are also available.
Full day adult tickets are $60 off-peak and $66 during peak season, with discounts for kids, teens and seniors. Lifts typically open at 9 a.m. and night skiing runs through 10 p.m., but check the website for daily specifics and conditions.
400-500" average annual snowfall (175-200" average base)
25% beginner, 50% intermediate, 25% advanced/expert terrain
7 lifts, with 2 surface transports
1,415 skiable acres
3,690' vertical in winter -- the most in the Northwest; 2,616' in the summer season
8,540' at top of highest lift
Five terrain parks and one pipe
More info: timberlinelodge.com, 503-272-3158
4. Mount Bachelor
Mount Bachelor's location at elevation in Central Oregon's alpine desert means the resort's snow is light, fluffy and dry -- a relative rarity for Oregon. Bachelor also offers all the glitz and high-tech amenities of Mount Hood Meadows, but there's a lot more of it -- at almost 3,700 skiable acres, it's one of the country's biggest resorts. But since Bachelor is just outside of Bend, Oregon, it's also a longer trip to get there -- a difficult one-day journey, for sure, but well worth making a weekend (or more) out of it.
If you prefer a more aerobic-based winter activity, Bachelor also offers an impressive 56km of groomed cross-country terrain.
All-day adult lift passes are $76, with discounts available for kids, teens, active military personnel and seniors. Lifts run from November through late May (weather permitting), and from 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
387" average annual snowfall (150-200" average base)
15% beginner, 25% intermediate, 35% advanced, 25% expert terrain
10 lifts, with 2 surface transports
3,683 skiable acres (1,600 acres groomed daily)
9,065' at top of highest lift
Five terrain parks and one pipe
More info: mtbachelor.com, 800-829-2442
Hoodoo is located at the top of Santiam Pass -- between Salem/Eugene and Bend in Sisters, Oregon. According to the resort's website, it's 44 miles west of Bend, 85 miles east of Eugene and 130 miles southeast of Portland. The family-friendly resort offers plenty of wide-open groomed runs as well as some unmaintained and more challenging terrain.
All-day adult lift tickets are a relatively reasonable $45 off-peak and $48 during peak season, with just a $3 upcharge to keep on night skiing until 9 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Discounts are available to kids, seniors and for beginner-only lift access. Hoodoo also offers Nordic trails and cross-country ski rentals.
450" average annual snowfall (120-180" average base)
30% beginner, 30% intermediate, 40% expert terrain
5 lifts, 2 surface transports
800 skiable acres
1,035' vertical in winter -- the most in the Northwest; 2,616' in the summer season
5,703' at top of highest lift
More info: hoodoo.com, 541-822-3799
6. Cooper Spur
Cooper Spur is on the north side of Mount Hood, heading towards Hood River on Highway 35 -- just 90 minutes from Portland. The resort is inexpensive and features lots of beginner-specific terrain. The tubing center makes snow fun accessible to all ages and abilities.
The season typically runs from December through March. Lift tickets are $28 for adults over 15 years old, with discounts for kids. Lifts run on Friday from Noon to 6 p.m.; Saturday from 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sunday from 9 a.m.-4 p.m.; and for extended hours during the holidays.
100" average annual snowfall
40% beginner, 40% intermediate, 20% advanced terrain
1 lift, 1 surface transport
50 skiable acres
4,350' at top of highest lift
More info: cooperspur.com, 541-352-7803
7. Summit Ski Area
The Pacific Northwest's oldest ski -- and now snowboard -- area, Summit opened in 1927. Today the resort located on Mount Hood, within walking distance of Government Camp, offers a family-friendly experience with plenty of beginner terrain and instruction available. The Snow Bunny snow play facilities also adjoin Summit for tubing and other snow-centered frolicking.
The typical season is November 15 - April 15, and the resort is open weekends and holidays from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. 2012/13 lift tickets are $30 for an Adult all-day pass, with discounts for kids and seniors. Kids under five ski free with the purchase of an adult ticket. The resort also boasts 15km of nordic, cross-country ski trails.
4,306' at top of highest lift
Five terrain parks and one pipe
More info: summitskiarea.com, 503-272-0256