The snow has (mostly) melted, but that doesn’t mean Oregon’s gorgeous ski areas are closed for the season. Five ski areas across the state take on another personality for the summer as they switch from snow sports to one-stop shops for chairlift rides, biking, hiking and running trails, sunset dinners, go-karts and other shenanigans. Here’s your guide to unforgettable summer memories at Oregon’s off-season ski areas.
Mt. Hood: Skibowl
Mt. Hood Adventure Park at Skibowl is a playground for the whole family, with more than 20 attractions including zip lines, the Malibu Raceway, a bungee tower, mini golf, disc golf and a kiddie canoe. The half-mile dual alpine slide may just be the most thrilling, with speeds up to 20 miles per hour along the 350-foot drop. For the two-wheeled set, a new Bike Learning Center offers lift assist and instruction to beginning mountain bike riders. Experienced riders can geek out at Skibowl’s Portland Freeride Bike Park, with its high-speed bermed out runs, giant doubles and gaps through the trees and log roads. Rentals and Bike the Volcano tours are also available, as are guided tours and equipment rentals for kayaking, paddle boarding, canoeing, whitewater rafting, rock climbing, fishing and even hiking and waterfall exploring.
Mt. Hood: Timberline Lodge
You will still find snow near Timberline Lodge, which has the longest ski season in North America. (So it’s no wonder Winter Olympic athletes train here this summer.) Take the Palmer Express high-speed quad lift to ski or snowboard to your heart’s content through Labor Day. Or, explore the mountain’s biking and family-friendly hiking trails, including trips to Little Zig Zag Falls and Paradise Park Loop, both short drives from Timberline. The lodge itself — a 1977 National Historic Site and scene of The Overlook Hotel from “The Shining” — kicks off its summer fun with a free Mt. Hood Stargazing Party on July 1 and another set for July 29. During the daytime, the U.S. Forest Service gives free 45-minute tours of the Lodge. The kids will love the heated outdoor pool (yes, at an elevation of 6,000 feet), open all summer. And the Magic Mile Sky Ride (adults $15, kids 6 and under free) offers spectacular views of Hood, Palmer Snowfield and Mt. Jefferson nearby. A Labor Day Mountain Music Festival (Sept. 4) will cap the season with hot tickets in the local and national acoustic, bluegrass and folk music festival scene.
Mt. Hood: Hood Meadows
Mt. Hood Meadows comes alive on weekends this summer, starting with a wild mushroom brewmaster dinner. In between events, hop on a $12 chairlift ride to soak up the sunshine and view the wildflowers below and Mt. Jefferson and Three Sisters on the horizon. There’s also the 4th annual Uphill Challenge (1.2 miles with 621 feet of elevation gain, Aug. 5), a hiking photography workshop (Aug. 12), a paint night with Naked Winery (Aug. 12), a Hood River Valley Wine Festival (Aug. 19), a Mutts on the Mountain event for pups and their friends (Aug. 26) and the Beer and Cider Fest (Sept. 10) featuring local seasonal brews. An acoustic concert series lineup is also coming soon.
Have you dined at 7,800 feet? Mt. Bachelor in Central Oregon is rolling out a sunset dinner series starting July 8 on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights, a unique way to take in the sunset and dine on local fare with spirit, beer and wine tastings. The chair lift ride here ($19 adult, kids 5 and under free) is simply stunning, with views of Three Sisters peaks, Broken Top and many of the Cascade Lakes below. Once you’re up top, you can grab a meal on deck at the Pine Marten Lodge, play a round of disc golf or take a U.S. Forest Service-led interpretive tour. Or, take to the trails by foot or bike. It’s a bike-lover’s paradise here, with 13 miles of newly established single-track trails, bike rentals of all types, trail maps and Gravity Bike Camps for youth are offered all summer. A Gravity Race Series launches its third summer on July 14, and the Under Armour Mountain Running Series kicks off July 22. And thanks to an epic winter snow pack, this year Mt. Bachelor brings back the tradition of July Ski (July 2-4). Get ready to shred.
Mt. Ashland in Southern Oregon comes alive for a few hardcore trail events in the summer, including the Mt. A 5K run (July 8) — all the way to the summit and back — as well as the Siskiyou Out Back Trail Run (July 22) and the Mt. Ashland Hill Climb run (Aug. 12). The 13.3-mile Hill Climb is for the die-hard enthusiast; with 5,600 of climbing to the summit at 7,533 feet, it’s the second-highest elevation gain of any hill climb in the U.S. Mt. Ashland is unique in that it’s been run by a nonprofit — the Mt. Ashland Association — for 50 years. The fund relies on donations to provide affordable ski lessons for first-time skiers and makes investments in lodge and lift improvements, new grooming machines to keep things humming all season long. Oregon’s ski areas are shining jewels year-round; make sure to show your love.
For the first time in 50 years as a ski area, Anthony Lakes Mountain Resort in Eastern Oregon is open for summer operations. Located in North Powder (between La Grande and Baker City), the resort’s rugged terrain and accessible trail system make it a hotspot for mountain biking, with their 4th annual Mountain Bike Festival (with free camping, live music and $10 chair lift rides) set for August 5. Food and music are also a big draw. Enjoy the deck at the resort’s Starbottle Saloon, a family-friendly restaurant that offers fresh, locally sourced food with spectacular views at 7,100 feet along the Elkhorn Scenic Byway.