- Written by Ben Jacklet
- Category: Resorts
- Published: May 28, 2014
- Last Updated: June 10, 2014
The 2014 spring season at Timberline ended on Memorial Day, May 26, but lifts will keep spinning on Mount Hood through the summer and up to Labor Day.
It was an excellent spring on the mountain, with snow piling up well into May to build a base of 122 inches going into the summer season. That's just about average for the end of May, and Timberline spokesman Jon Tullis says resort visits have also been above average, partly because the lack of snow at lower elevation sent skiers and boarders up to Timberline in search of snow rather than rain.
Most skiers and snowboarders have moved on to other pursuits by the time late May rolls around, but it is one of the great times to be on Mount Hood. Between the racers training on the Magic Mile, the freeskiers and snowboarders shredding Paintbrush and Conway, the groomers building huge jumps and halfpipes to prep for the summer season, and the climbers and backcountry explorers sampling everything from Cooper Spur to Illumination Saddle, there is good mountain fun to be had in every direction.
Here's what it looked like the other day over by Illumination Rock:
The snow was nice and creamy and it was completely safe there. But you definitely want to watch out for crevasses and holes like the one pictured below, which I shot with a zoom lens from stable snow on the safe side of the ridge that separates Palmer Snowfield from White River Glacier:
Definitely don't want to fall down in there. There have been two serious accidents over the past couple of weeks on Mount Hood. One climber fell through a cornice and died; another slipped on the ice and slid into a fumarole, where he was rescued and air-lifted to a Portland hospital.
The risk is always there, but climbers come out in full force in May, because conditions can be stellar if you time it right.
The same applies to the freeskiers and snowboarders who flock to Timberline from all over North America after their home resorts close for the season. They hang out in Govy and find a place to crash cheap or for free or just camp out. If you hit the men's room at the Wy'East Day Lodge on a May morning, you're bound to see a couple of lean-looking dudes brushing their teeth in there. They get a spring pass for 99 bucks, and they get their money's worth. The park scene at Timberline in May is something to see, people routinely throwing down tricks that would have been unheard of not so long ago.
Some of these freestyle athletes will stay on for the summer season to work for Windells or High Cascade Snowboard Camp. This will be the first summer when the two big freestyle camps on Mount Hood work together, and thousands of campers from all over will travel into Oregon for the chance to hone their skills with the likes of Kelly Clark, Sage Kotsenberg and Nick Goepper. Camps run from June through August on the mountain.
It's a similar deal for up and coming racers, who hit Palmer early in the morning when the snow is still firm to pound the gates and learn from the best, including Ted Ligety and Andrew Weibrecht.
Timberline has 122 camps registered for the summer of 2014, including eight U.S. teams.
Most of the summer action at Timberline involves high-level training and camps on the upper mountain, but anyone can buy a day pass for $62 or a summer pass for $899. That is $400 more than I paid for my winter Mt. Hood Fusion Pass, good for Timberline, Skibowl and 10 Powder Alliance resorts throughout the American West. With the longest running snow season in North America, Timberline has a lot of power when it comes to summer pricing.
"Business levels are strong and all indications are it'll be a great summer ski season at Timberline," says Jon Tullis of Timberline.
Between the ripping racing scene, the slopestyle superstars and the beauty of the Mount Hood National Forest, it is bound to be yet another sweet summer on Mount Hood. Shred Hood will remain live through the summer while also priming up some site upgrades for Year Two. See you on the mountain!