Can I just say, Oregon is pretty damn beautiful. Even more so, skiing in Oregon is pretty freaking awesome too. I’ll lead off by saying that I am in no way an advanced skier, or even mediocre for that matter. But since my boyfriend Aidan is an avid and quite experienced lover of the winter sport — and because he’s the only person in the world that can get a gal like myself to try something as “active” as skiing — I’m currently learning to flail down snow-covered mountains with the hope of not hurting myself.
Thank goodness we live in such a beautiful area as the PNW that’s filled with some fairly magical spots to play winter Barbie, and Oregon has proved to be one of those. And not just for skiing, I might add. Perhaps the drive out to the mountain along the Columbia River Gorge is the best part of all. But you’ll have to read on to learn why…
If hiking the PNW is something you’d rather try before scaling snow-covered mountains, along with exploring Washington State instead, head over to my blog post “The Best Hikes in Washington for Mountain Views, Beaches & Waterfalls.”
Mount Hood, Here We Come.
When skiing in Oregon, there are a couple places to choose from, but our place of choice was Mount Hood. The drive from Seattle is 232 miles, roughly 4 hours, and it’s completely worth it. Once you hit Portland, the drive along the Columbia River Gorge spans for 63 gorgeous miles that is one for the books. Every couple miles, you will see waterfall after waterfall far up in the rocks that line Interstate 84. It said that the Oregon side of the gorge has over 90 waterfalls alone! Many of those are probably small and hidden, but I don’t doubt that number at all after seeing so many for myself. Check out this full list of the top waterfalls to see along this route.
Any person could spend literally several days on Interstate 84 to hike and view the best waterfalls, but unfortunately, Aidan and I were on a time crunch to get to our Airbnb before dark. We did stop to catch this pretty impressive waterfall that included a short boardwalk out onto a small body of water. One of the most visited waterfalls, however, is Multnomah Falls. While we saw this beautiful huge waterfall and its infamous bridge from our car, we decided not to get out because of how crowded it was.
A Stay With Major Views
Our Airbnb was on a beautiful farm in Parkdale, just 20 miles from the mountain. The views of Mount Hood were breathtaking and so serene with the quiet farmland in the background. The room we were in was an upstairs guest house built on top of a family home. I highly recommend finding a stay in this area, which provided the quickest route for skiing at the mountain along with a brewery and places to eat nearby.
Skiing On The Mountain
A beginner skier, our visit to Mount Hood in April was my first official ski lesson and a great way to kick off skiing in Oregon. I was a quick learner, but I not only credit my ski instructor — the warm weather and bright sun made it so much more comfortable for me. Skiing in winter is a concept that truly sounds like punishment as someone who hates being too cold (and too hot for that matter), or as my fellow Army reservists like to call it: having “tiny-heart syndrome.” (It’s true, I’m really meant to live in San Diego where the weather is always a perfect 75 degrees with a chance of golf and beach time and minimal sweating.)
But skiing in spring is a whole other thing…a beautiful thing. Within the first hour, pretty much everyone on the mountain stripped down to t-shirts and shorts. Although I highly recommend coming in warm ski pants and a coat to start.
The Ride Back…
Leaving Mount Hood proved to be much more eye-opening to Oregon’s beauty. Not only did we catch an incredible view in Hood River of two mountains between a gorgeous vineyard — that we simply had to pull over for — we also stopped at the most stunning hotel on the gorge.
The Columbia Gorge Hotel and Spa is absolutely breathtaking and overlooks the gorge. It boasts its own waterfall that you can actually look down on from the top (see my video below). Even more pretty than the full-frontal water views is the garden that wraps around the hotel. It’s totally tranquil, filled with blooming flowers, and has the most romantic bridge over a pond that flows into the waterfall. The most impressive part about this experience that left us in awe? We never even went inside the hotel! Though I’m sure it’s just as amazing.
What are you waiting for? Plan your next trip to the PNW for skiing in Oregon and the most memorable drive down the Columbia River Gorge. Just be sure to plan for multiple days if possible to get the full experience!