Oregon has got some of the most well-rounded ski resorts in North America, with plenty nearby its largest city, Portland. Somehow, the Cascade Range hotspot has remained an afterthought to the famous Colorado, Utah and Northern California ski areas that dominate west coast ski and snowboard culture. Oregon’s biggest city, Portland, sits comfortably in the Willamette …
Guide to Oregon’s 12 Ski Resorts
To find North America’s longest skiing and snowboarding season, look no further than Oregon. While the state boasts 12 official ski resorts, it only has one resort that’s open for a whopping ten months out of the year.
It also has one of the largest ski areas in the United States, plus plenty of small and local slopes for any skier’s budget. Most skiing and snowboarding resorts are found in Oregon’s forests stretching along the western part of the state, with a few ski areas in the state’s northeast corner.
Snow falls in Oregon from November through April, with the highest snowfall occurring in December. Resorts on and near glacier-covered Mount Hood can receive as much as 540 inches annually. Oregon’s snow is usually fairly heavy, which may require some adjustment for those used to the light powder found skiing along the Rockies.
The largest and most challenging resorts in Oregon are located in the Cascades around Mount Hood, the state’s highest peak. Smaller ski areas are found throughout the state to the west and in the Northeast in the abundant National Forests. The 11 resorts have plenty of skiing choices for beginners, recreational, and serious skiers.
Mount Hood Area Resorts
The most popular and most notable ski resort in Oregon is Timberline Lodge. The historic lodge, with restaurants and accommodations, is worth its own visit. The glacier mountain sees snow nearly every day in the winter and even during some summer days.
The ski season lasts continually until May, then a high-speed quad carries skiers to one area of the mountain where skiing is available until the end of September. The resort reopens in October or November when snow begins to fall.
Timberline Lodge only has 40 runs but they’re mostly blue and perfect for recreational skiers. Other Mount Hood resorts have skiing and snowboarding, ranging from a basic hill to expert slopes.
To the East
In the northeast corner of the state are 2 resorts near Oregon’s national forests and within the Blue Mountain Range. One is Anthony Lakes Mountain Resort, which receives 250 inches of snowfall annually. It has Oregon’s highest base elevation at 7,100 feet and 21 runs, mostly for intermediate and advanced skiers.
On the flip side, there’s Ferguson Ridge Ski Area, a low-key resort in the Wallowa Mountains with 2 lifts and 8 runs. The ski area is community-owned and volunteer-run, and only accepts cash or checks for T-bar lift tickets. Locals can take advantage of Ferguson Ridge’s inexpensive membership and annual dues which require volunteering several days during the season in exchange for ski area access.
Bend and to the South
In the southern part of Oregon, a number of national forests and mountain ranges make the area a destination for outdoor activities like white water rafting, hiking, and skiing. Near Crater Lake, skiers can test their skills with Cat skiing and enjoy downhill skiing at a number of resorts a short drive to the north and south.
Being able to ski during every season is one benefit Oregonians have that isn’t available anywhere else in the country and has made it a popular off-season destination for skiers around the world. In the winter months, Oregonians have a selection of a number of mountain ranges to experience a variety of downhill options.