Eugene Weekly : Winter Getaways : 10.27.11

Get Your Snow On
Where to get away this winter   
By Kendall Fields

As the leaves turn gold and red, autumn sweeps over Eugene and stores begin putting out their Christmas decorations (be it a little early). It’s time to start thinking about the real meaning of winter — not the presents or the stick-to-your ribs comfort food — it’s all about days spent outside bundled up playing in the snow or getting the most air off a ski jump. 

EW has broken down some of the top surrounding areas to get your snow on. 

Stephen Semansky, a trip initiator advocate at the UO’s Outdoor Program, says “Getting out to recreate in the snow is an awesome way to spend your free time in Oregon winters.” 

UO students are automatically members of the Outdoor Program, while community members can join with an annual $15. Its trip initiators (along with input from members) plan simple day trips to the closer summits and weeklong trips places like Whistler in British Colombia. “The possibilities are literally endless,” Semansky says, adding that the Outdoor Program has access to discounted ski passes at many resorts and rents equipment to members for $20 or less a day. 

Where to go really depends on personal preference, Semansky says. The closest mountains are Hoodoo and Willamette Pass, which he says offer great terrain and affordable prices. But with a little more driving, Mount Bachelor and Mount Hood have even more terrain and better-developed terrain parks.

Mount Bachelor Director of Marketing and Communications Andy Goggins agrees that it’s never too early to start planning those winter getaways, adding that the folks up at Mount Bachelor are shooting to open the season the week of Thanksgiving. And they are predicting a big season with the recent onset of wet weather. Goggins also says the resort will begin selling passes (with great deals) at Berg’s Ski Shop on Oct. 28. 

But for Goggins, the best thing about hitting the slopes at Mount Bachelor is the unique wilderness experience of being surrounded solely by acres upon acres of Deschutes Forest. “For being the largest resort in the Cascades,” he says, Mount Bachelor has “kind of a unique feel. It’s just that unspoiled, natural mountain experience.” 

For those that don’t ski, many of the resorts offer other activities such as tubing and sledding. At Mount Bachelor people can even participate in the Oregon Trail of Dreams, a dog sledding program.

And there is also each summit’s base community to consider. For Mount Bachelor, these are Bend and Sun River, which Goggins says offer great attractions for all. Bend hosts a wide array of shops and restaurants and has the most microbreweries per capita, while Sun River is “an amazing family destination.” Over in the Mount Hood area, there’s the option of heading down to the beautiful Hood River or into the big city of Portland. 

And Semansky says for the more adventurous skiers and for those who may not to want to pay or are looking for alternatives to skiing and snowboarding, his favorite winter getaway is the backcountry ski access. “Skiing for free, without lift lines, and fresh tracks all day with your friends does not get much better.” He adds Hoodoo has great cross-country ski and snowboard trails for people looking for an aerobic workout or just wanting to tour around and enjoy the snow.

Whether you make the trek up to Mount Bachelor or Mount Hood or stick to a closer snow park, Semansky says, this winter “escape the rain of Eugene and explore the incredible terrain that surrounds us.”

For more information on trips or to purchase tickets, visit one of these sites:




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Get Your Snow On
Where to get away this winter