Free Skiing For 75-Plus.  Nice.

A skier hits the slopes of Powder Keg at Mt. Hood Meadows.
Credit: John Nelson

This resort on the southeastern flank of a 11,249-foot volcano has a lot to recommend it: great terrain, great proximity to the hipster-haven of Portland, OR., and ample snowfall from regular winter storms.

If you’re 75 and older, you’ll have another reason to love Meadows: It’s free.

Jeanne Farwig, a ski instructor at Mt. Hood Meadows for 44 years, is honored in a ceremony last season by Chris Kastner, Meadows ski school director.
Credit: Mt. Hood Meadows

“It reminds me of the Matterhorn—it’s just so majestic,” says Jeanne Farwig, a Mt. Hood Meadows ski instructor. “There’s something for everyone here.”

Farwig, 84, is entering her 44th season of teaching on the mountain. Her passion for Meadows remains as strong as her desire to pass on her slope knowledge.

“I love working with older skiers,” she says. “I especially like working with people who have given up skiing and are taking it up again.”

And the free skiing isn’t bad either.

“Now my boyfriend has a free pass,” she says.

Snow, terrain and more

  • Location: Hood Meadows is about 60 miles from downtown Portland via U.S. Highway 26, and 35 miles from the Columbia River Gorge outdoors mecca of Hood River.
  • Snowfall: 440 inches of snow pile up every year from Pacific storms that pummel the mountain.
  • Terrain, lifts: With the pointy summit of Mount Hood looming above, Meadows feels wild, with runs that take advantage of the many ridges and canyons falling off the side of Oregon’s tallest peak. About 35 percent of the mountain’s 2,150 skiable acres is rated advanced, 65 percent is rated intermediate or beginner. Six of the resort’s 11 chairlifts are high-speed quads that do most of the people-moving on the mountain.
  • Vertical: Nearly 2,800 feet from the base at Hood River Meadows (4,528 feet) to a lift-served high point of 7,305 feet. On nice days, hikers can gain an additional 1,700 feet of vertical by climbing to the top of the double-diamond Super Bowl run.

Lot to lift access

  • The roadways from the Portland metro area can be clogged on weekends, so plan on skiing during the week if possible. Parking at Meadows requires a $5-per-day pass from the Forest Service, which you can purchase from a parking lot attendant. A large loading zone is available to dump gear near the lodge.
  • Public transportation: Several companies offer shuttles to Mt. Hood Meadows from downtown Portland.
  • Accommodations: Nearby Timberline Lodge is a national treasure if you manage to score a room. Cooper Spur ski area and the town of Government Camp have lodging, and Hood River is just 45 minutes away.

Culture

  • The vibe: A mixture of hard-cores who love the Meadows’ extreme terrain and friendly locals who enjoy cruising its many groomers.
  • Dining: You’ll find most food in the main base area’s two lodges; on slope, check out two cafes, one at the base of the Hood River Express and the other at the top of Mt. Hood Express.

Bottom line

  • You’ll ski for free if you’re 75 and older. Seniors (65-74) pay $54; regular adult passes are $79.
  • Weather can close the mountain’s upper lifts limiting skiers to lower slopes during storms.
  • A big-mountain feel to the dramatic upper slopes.

Trail Map: Click Here

Webcam: Click Here

Skiers ski the run Discovery near the top of the Shooting Star Express at Mt. Hood Meadows. Credit: John Nelson

 

5 Comments

  1. Where’s this list of the free skiing over 70 resorts?

  2. Tell Chris and Jeremy that Ray Morris is still in therapy and plans to
    to recover but with the damaging stroke ,therapists think it’s doubtful.

  3. How to get the pass or ticket at Mt.hood meadows ?

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