From late April through Memorial Day Weekend, Oregon reigns supreme with the most lift-accessed terrain available anywhere in the country. Three ski areas — Timberline Lodge & Ski Area and Mt. Hood Meadows on Mt. Hood and Mt. Bachelor in Central Oregon — keep the lifts spinning, laying down fresh corduroy runs and grooming freestyle park features throughout the month of May. The truth is this is when you find some of the best and most consistent ski conditions of the year. It’s that magical time of uncrowded slopes, non-existent lift lines and long sunny days —it’s T-shirt and sunglasses season, people.
In contrast to deep winter snowstorms, spring skiing in Oregon is all about following the sun. For the best spring experience, keep an eye out for warm, sunny days, then get up early to experience fast groomed runs, which quickly transition into slushy corn snow through the early afternoon.
From March 30 through closing weekend (May 25–26, 2019), Mt. Bachelor’s lifts are spinning, from 9:00am – 4:00 pm until April 28, then 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., seven days a week, with the Nordic Center open 8:00 am – 1:00 pm.
As part of Sunchaser Spring, all 4,318 acres of terrain are scheduled to remain open weather permitting through the end of April. Then in May, more than 2,000 acres of intermediate to advanced terrain will remain open daily including Pine Marten, Skyliner, Summit and Northwest lifts (closing May 5) accessing numerous runs as well as a trio of terrain parks and a halfpipe. The main West Village Lodge facilities are open, as well as the rental, demo and ski school departments, which operate through the end of the season. Mt. Bachelor also allows overnight RV and trailer camping for $20 a night at the base of the lifts in the West Village Main parking lot.
In the spring, the parking lot is home to trucks and vans loaded up with mountain bikes, drift boats and dirt bikes. With the afternoon free, you can follow the lead of these Bend-ites and transition from skiing to mountain biking the popular Phil’s Trail network; the trailhead originates on the return drive back to Bend. Or book a rafting trip on the Deschutes River with Sun Country Tours. The most popular spring trip is the Big Eddy Thriller, a three-mile journey through Class III rapids. This stretch of river is just minutes from Bend, with the round-trip adventure completed in just two hours, which leaves plenty of time to make it to happy hour downtown.
Timberline Lodge & Ski Area
Timberline Lodge & Ski Area is by far the most recognized late-season ski destination in the country, with the longest ski season in North America. In spring, the resort grooms and maintains five separate terrain parks across the mountain. Once summertime hits, the upper glacial slopes serve as the official training site for U.S. Skiing, U.S. Snowboarding and U.S. Freeskiing, as well as a destination for freestyle ski and snowboard camps. Throughout the month of May, Timberline operates from 9 a.m. – 2/3 p.m. seven days a week before transitioning to summer skiing on June 3, 2019 (June 3 through September 3 hours are 7 a.m. – 2 p.m.).
Timberline runs the “best three lifts” daily. Depending on conditions this can include the uppermost Palmer Lift, which rises to 8,540 feet on the Palmer Glacier (the 2019 opening date for Palmer is planned for April 25, 2019). This wide-open, above-tree-line run features one of the most spectacular views across Oregon, with Trillium Lake sparkling through the endless blue and green foothills.
Timberline offers a spring pass for $139, which is on sale from March 4 through May 12, 2019 and valid through May 27, 2019.
Mt. Hood Meadows
Mt. Hood Meadows is open Friday through Sunday April 26-28, and Friday and Saturday May 3 and May 4, with lifts running from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Access the famous Buttercup and the beginner-friendly Buttercup Fun Zone, as well as Vista Express, Mt. Hood Express and Cascade Express at an elevation of 7,300 feet. In addition to fresh groomers, the Vista Park, banked slalom course and halfpipes are all groomed for spring riding. The season-ending party on May 4, 2019 is a great opportunity to party like a local with live music on the Mt. Hood Meadows Sun Deck.
Mt. Hood Meadows will reopen for Memorial Day Weekend with Cascade Express running from 8:00 am to 2:00 pm May 25–27, 2019. The resort will also offer three-day race camps, two-day skiing/riding improvement camps, plus a lift-accessed snowshoe tour on Saturday, and a special three-course luncheon on Saturday and Sunday.