It may be summer in Oregon, but there’s still plenty of snow — so don’t stow the gear in the garage just yet.
Every year between June 1 and Labor Day, skiers and snowboarders of all skill levels — juniors to Olympic athletes — head to Timberline Lodge at Mt. Hood for sublime conditions on the slopes.
The conditions are so ideal, in fact, that the United States Olympic Ski, Snowboarding and Freeskiing teams will once again be descending on Timberline’s Palmer Snowfield for summer training before the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea.
While this year’s visiting athletes haven’t yet been confirmed, Winter Olympic devotees will recognize the names of many of the pros who’ve trained at Timberline over the years, including Tony Sailer, Billy Kidd, Steve and Phil Mahre, Ted Ligety, Cindy Nelson, Picabo Street, Julia Mancuso and Mikaela Shiffrin.
The summer 2017 Timberline athletes will sign autographs for fans at meet-and-greet event set for Saturday, July 1, complete with food and beer. The event is free and open to the public; check back for details on this and other events.
So why Timberline? Timberline first earned its place on the global map in 1978 when the Palmer Chairlift opened for the summer season. It upped the ante in 1996 with the installation of the current Palmer Quad — a high-speed detachable quad that quickly moves visitors to the breathtaking 8,200-foot level, just below the summit.
If you’re feeling inspired, summertime is the perfect time to brush up on skills or immerse yourself in the mountain environment with a camp or class. Some of those offered for kids, families and adults include Timberline Snow Camps, High Cascade Snowboard Camp and Windells Snowboard Camp.
If you’re on the mountain for just a day, head up on the popular Magic Mile Sky Ride, which takes you to the 7,000-foot level in the summertime with no skis or snowboards needed. The 30-minute ride ($15; free for kids 6 and under) offers stunning views of nearby Mt. Jefferson and a unique opportunity to hike back down — or hop back on the lift.
Conditions at the mountain are unpredictable, so come with cold-weather gear, no flip-flops. “We do advise them — it might be warm and fuzzy here at the lodge, but it’s snowing up there, so be prepared,” says John Burton, a Timberline spokesman. “You are in a pseudo-winter environment.”