Downtown Portland with Mt Hood in the distance | Photo: Jeff Gunn | Cover: Mt Hood Ski Bowl

Living comfortably in a quaint mountain town with rad skiing just miles away is unfathomable for most winter sports enthusiasts.

The lack of opportunities to find decent work in small mountain towns, not to mention affordable living, can push skiers to compromise their dream of settling down in a mountainous locale. So where do skiers find solace when living in a city of millions? Fortunately even in the most crowded centers of North America, just hours away from the hustle and bustle of city life, there exist ski havens whose slopes are legendary

The Portland > Ski Bowl Commute

Mt. Hood is an icon of the Portland skyline, and just over an hour drive from downtown. The massive cascade volcano that is “Hood” is also a popular hub for outdoor recreation year-round.

Mt Hood Ski Bowl is the first ski area people reach when driving from Portland. It’s conveniently located right off US 26, and as such, equates to a faster day trip than Timberline, Mt. Hood Meadows or Mount Bachelor.

The commute is always worth it | Photo: Mt Hood Ski Bowl

Travel Distances:

  • PDX Aiport > Mt. Hood Ski Bowl 52 miles
  • Vancouver, WA > Mt. Hood Ski Bowl 58 miles
  • Powell’s City of Books>Mt. Hood Ski Bowl 54 miles

Mt. Hood Ski Bowl may be thought of as the lesser relative to the other nearby ski areas, but the small hill still has some admirable characteristics. For those working 9-5 jobs, chairlifts turn until 10pm weeknights, and 11pm weekends with the largest skiable night acreage in the United States.

Mount Hood Ski Bowl Stats:

  • Average Annual Snowfall: 300″
  • Vertical Drop: 1,500′
  • Skiable Acres: 960 
  • Trails: 96
  • Night Skiing Trails: 36
  • Lifts: 4

The Mt. Hood Ski Bowl Atmosphere:

The larger Oregon ski areas are known for there high-alpine terrain well above the treeline, Mt. Hood Ski Bowl is a sanctuary for those seeking seriously steep tree skiing. When winter storms favor lower elevations in the Pacific Northwest, Mt. Hood Ski Bowl can provide a intimate, uncrowded powder day.

Night Skiing @MtHoodSkiBowl | Photo: Mt Hood Ski Bowl

Skiing in the Upper Bowl, off Tom Dick or Ski Bowl Peak is excellent expert terrain full of cliffs, chutes, and bumps. The terrain hidden at Ski Bowl rivals even some of the mega resorts in the PNW. When the powder starts accumulating in the afternoon– no worries at all, since the lights come on to keep skiing into the evening.

If finding big mountain lines isn’t your thing, the incredibly fun rope-tow serviced terrain park is uniquely skate-influenced. Sessions go off even at night, where Portlanders can hit rails and boxes after post work.

Snow can be great or lackluster at Ski Bowl season to season, but the vibe is always authentic and it’s cherished for convenience and worthy terrain when the snow gods deliver.

A visit to Portland is not complete without a side trip to the flanks of Mt. Hood. Besides getting a drink in the bars of Government Camp, skiing at Mt. Hood Ski Bowl is easy to fit into your winter schedule day or night. Stopping in at the Ski Bowl may be a variation from your typical trips up to the bigger ski resorts of Oregon, but if the views of Mount Hood can’t sell you on the concept, the underappreciated and wildly fun terrain available definitely will.

Also Read: Major City Ski Haven’s – Seattle & Alpental

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