Trip Report: Night Skiing at Mt. Hood Skibowl
Location: Mt. Hood Skibowl
Conditions: Cascade Concrete
Difficulty: All levels
Kid Friendly: Yes
Usefull links: skibowl.com
Night Skiing on a Workday
6:00 pm — I hit the time clock and dash out of the employee exit of our Grand Avenue location, shouldering my freshly-waxed skis, and boots with a new custom footbed (thanks Chris and Tyler!). It’s been snowing all weekend up at Mt. Hood, and if I hit all the green lights, I can pull into the Skibowl parking lot in exactly one hour. The people’s ski resort, Skibowl is everything you’d ever want from a low-elevation, high-slope angle haven. At $47 for a 7 hour night-window, under more lighted terrain than anywhere in the U.S., it’s a true local gem. Windshield wipers at hyperspeed, I soar down I-205, into the night.
7:15 pm — It’s wet. My chair up the mountain swings around the bullwheel and greets my pants with a fresh puddle. I’m undeterred. Temperatures at the base of the mountain are warmer than the summit, right? I thank my lucky stars for the bottle of Nikwax I recently used to waterproof my shell, and gaze longingly at the summit of this enchanted nocturnal snowglobe.
7:30 pm — It’s still wet. I’m looking out at the hazy silhouette of Mt. Hood, a behemoth across the highway. The rain has passed, but not before dampening the 5 inches of fresh snow that accumulated at the summit of Skibowl. My Champagne Powder dreams have been dampened with Mashed Potato reality, but my spirits are still soaring. These skis could sail through hot mud, and I’m skiing on a workday! I drop in and catch a full face shot of thick, mushy pow. Hooting with delight, I bounce through the trees, chasing my shadow in the ghostly light. A little rain really doesn’t hurt.
10:15 pm — Back at the parking lot, I shake droplets of water from my jacket and hop into the car. It’s cooled down since I got here, and it began to snow as I rode the last chair up. The following week is forecasted to dump feet of cold snow over the volcanic heights of the Columbia Gorge, but I won’t be too disappointed if it just keeps raining. Nights like these aren’t often remembered by skiers like the fervorous stories of deep powder days, but those recollections are for snobs that can’t have as much fun as me. This is what skiing is all about.
I moved to Oregon from Colorado a year ago, and my ski buddies back home cackled when I told them I would be skiing at 3,500 feet. They can keep their 9,000 foot base area, along with their hour and a half liftlines, two-hour commutes, and $200 day-passes. I’ll be here in my little corner of the Pacific Northwest, shredding untracked lines under the stars, clouds, whatever.