Places to go in the snow

Sure the mountain looks dry and barren, but just try to not wear a jacket outside lately. Eventually those rocks are going to be covered with piles of snow and what better way to spend your vacation than on the slopes.

In just over an hour’s drive from Portland, Mt. Hood offers skiers and snowboarders three excellent locations for snow.

Mt. Hood Meadows is a great place for college students on a tight budget, but still want to hit the slopes. Every Saturday night, starting in December and running through March 30, Meadows holds “Safeway Saturday Nights.” This gives Safeway club card members a discounted lift ticket for $10 for the night ticket, 4-10 p.m. The regular night lift ticket price is $20. The club cards are free at any Safeway store.

Normal ticket prices at Meadows vary from $44 for a nine-hour pass to $37 for an afternoon (noon-4 p.m.).

Meadows has a good variation of runs for all skill levels.

The Beginner lift and Easy Rider lift tickets cost $25 and $30. Those are for the two easiest runs on the mountain, Buttercup and Easy Rider. Those tickets are good from open to close.

If you don’t have your own gear it can get expensive, but a few trips to the mountain isn’t that bad. For the adult skiers, rental of the full-set is $22; only boots – $22, skis only – $15 and poles only – $5. The boarders run a little more. For the board and boots – $28, boards only – $21 and boots only – $11. Helmets are also available to rent for $20.

Mt. Hood Meadows Resort is nice all around, but the first ski/snowboard area you’ll hit at Mt. Hood is Ski Bowl. The Bowl is the lowest of Hood’s skiing areas.

Although Ski Bowl is the last to get snow, it can be a little cheaper. A full-day, mid-day or afternoon pass is $27, during Monday-Friday. Weekend and holiday prices are a little more for full-day, mid-day or afternoon passes at $32. Half-day passes on weekends or holidays are $26. They also offer adult weekend, holiday, all day/night (open to close) passes through Ticketmaster Outlets for $30 and nights for $18. The regular night lift tickets from 3:30 to close are $20.

Rental packages for skiers run $15-$21. Snowboard rentals range from $32-$21 for both board and boots. Boots only range from $8-$13.

Ski Bowl offers alternatives to skis and boards. The Bowl offers horse drawn sleigh rides, dogsled rides, snow tubing and a kids snowmobile track. For times and details call 1-800-SKIBOWL. There are also U.S. Forestry Service trails for skiing in the outback, but Ski Bowl warns that there are unmarked hazards and potential avalanche hazards.

While Ski Bowl is last to get snow, Timberline rarely is without. Timberline offers the longest runs on the mountain with the Magic Mile and Palmer Express. Timberline day/night (9 a.m.-close) passes cost $39, mid-day (1 p.m.-close) $30 and night (4 p.m.-close) $19.

The full-set for skiers for day/night, afternoon and nights are $21, $19 and $15. Full set boarders are $33, $31 and $23.

Timberline is also offering an online discounted rate for the lodge of $106.

If Mt. Hood doesn’t soot you then you could travel a bit farther and hit Mt. Bachelor’s slopes. Regular all day lift price is $44 for adults. The late arrivals ticket (noon-4 p.m.) is $38.

There are several places for people to go for the snow, if you’re not one who’s trying to escape to the sun.