Apologies to homey options Skibowl, Cooper Spur, and Summit: Mount Hood’s abominable snowmen of ski-season fun (and funds) remain Timberline and Mt Hood Meadows. The former rides high on sheer elevation and classic lodge appeal; Meadows counters with a raucous we-came-we-saw-we-shredded vibe, while the kids are borne aloft on that magical Magic Carpet.

These mastodons of the mountain perennially go tusk to tusk. What’s next in the battle for the hearts—and dollars—of Portland-area day-trip skiers and weekend slope seekers?

MT HOOD MEADOWS

Construction crews spent the summer laying the foundation for the new Sahale Lodge, which will house an upgraded ski and snowboard rental center and a new ski school area. (That means no more schlepping kids and gear into a windowless basement.) And a new 10,000-square-foot restaurant will help increase overall space for dining by a very welcome 900 seats, some of them set aside for brown-baggers. The catch: construction won’t be complete until the 2020–2021 season. But parking relief arrives sooner: the resort is adding 250 new spaces for peak days this season, meaning you can sleep ever so slightly later on a Saturday morning. 

TIMBERLINE

Meanwhile, Timberline’s purchase of Summit, the historic but minuscule hill smack in the village of Government Camp, could eventually mean a stunning new ride: a lift connecting the two areas, which are currently separated by about a mile of mountainside. That plan, however, remains on the drawing board. For now, stretch your legs on a snowshoe adventure with Timberline Lodge’s mascot Saint Bernards, Heidi and Bruno—$125 buys a 45-minute guided trek with a doggo for you and your nearest and dearest, capped off with trail mix for humans and salmon-flavored treats for the pups.

Bottom line: if you want to stay practically right on the mountaintop and ski out the front door, this 81-year-old icon’s hot tubs and rustic, WPA-era rooms are still the only way to go. 

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