One of the best things about living in Oregon is how quickly you can go from enjoying the pleasures of the city to enjoying the great outdoors. A great example of this is what some friends and I planned on a whim—snowboarding at Mt. Hood.
Evan, his sister Kala, and her boyfriend Matt drove from Eugene to Portland to pick me up. The plan was to stay at a bed and breakfast named Panorama Lodge outside of Hood River, which included the price of the lift ticket in the night’s stay.
On our way to Panorama Lodge, we stopped at Double Mountain Brewery, one of my favorite breweries in the Portland area. This is a little hidden gem in Hood River with some delicious pizzas and even more delicious beers. If you ever plan on visiting Portland, I highly suggest making a trip to Hood River and enjoying what Double Mountain has to offer. (Full disclosure: Double Mountain is a client of mine at Watershed Communications).
We arrived at Panorama Lodge fairly late in the night, but the caretaker of the estate—a nice older lady—was very welcoming to the three-story building that was all ours that night. The lodge had a human touch to almost every room with self-shot landscape photography and odd trinkets in various cabinets and we were sad to hear that her husband had passed away a few years back. She explained that he was the one who made the place what it was and I felt humbled by how fragile life can be sometimes.
The next morning we awoke to the smell of pancakes, omelets, fresh-brewed coffee, and the ever-growing excitement to go snowboarding. As soon as we finished breakfast, we packed our gear and began our 30-minute drive to Mt. Hood on a foggy Saturday morning. However, it didn’t stay foggy for long and we all feared that the mountain was going to be an icy playground.
We parked at HRM, which is just south of the main parking lot, and prepared for whatever snow we would encounter on this balmy 42-degree Fahrenheit day. Evan and I rode up the lift with a girl who worked at Mt. Hood and she told us that it hadn’t snowed in over a week-and-a-half, which made me afraid that we were going to be riding on ice. Boy, were we wrong.
I don’t believe that I could’ve asked for a better day to snowboard. Between the clear skies and soft snow, it was exactly what one asks for when snowboarding for his or her first time that year. In between runs, we’d go back to the truck to snack and re-hydrate, and I discovered a little bird that likes to snack as well.
Oregon is one of those places that has something special to offer in every season of the year. Whether it’s snowboarding at Mt. Hood in the winter or hiking Smith Rock in the summer, it’s always made better with great friends and some good brews.