Get your ice cream here! PHOTO: Clark

Get your ice cream here! Photo: Courtesy of Clark

Whether you’re flying over it or driving on one of its scenic highways, 11,250-foot Mount Hood looks like a giant ice cream cone. Its monolithic presence draws you in, almost to the point of disbelief that you can get this close to such a towering volcano.

And the best part, aside from the expansive views of the carpeted forests and waters of the Pacific Northwest? The countless opportunities available to play in the snow.

Our tour of the mountain started at Mount Hood Meadows, one of the three main ski areas on Hood. Offering up the best overall ski experience on the volcano, Meadows is the closest to Hood River and the farthest from Portland.

From there, we moved west to the historic Timberline Lodge and indulged in delicious food, drink and the warmth radiating from the massive fireplace.

If you’re visiting, it’s definitely worth it to stay a few days and explore the different ski areas on the mountain.

Mount Hood Meadows

When the snow or fog comes out, Meadows offers up some great tree skiing on the lower half of the mountain. PHOTO: Clark

When the snow or fog comes out, Meadows offers up some great tree skiing on the lower half of the mountain. Photo: Courtesy of Clark

Featuring 2,150 acres of skiable terrain and 3,000 vertical feet, Mount Hood Meadows Ski Resort offers the most challenging skiing for the advanced skier out of the three main ski areas on the flanks of the volcano.

Due to its location on the southeast flank, it's wind-protected and sports varied terrain from intermediate groomers to playful boundary cornices, massive bowls and vert in Heather Canyon, as well as trees and cliffs in Private Reserve.

Timberline

The historic Timberline Lodge is the place to go on Mount Hood, whether you have a room or not. PHOTO: Clark

The historic Timberline Lodge is the place to go on Mount Hood, whether you have a room or not. Photo: Courtesy of Clark

Timberline likes to promote that it has the longest ski season in the U.S. But it’s also noteworthy because most of the ski area lies below the Timberline Lodge.

With long, meandering groomers and a terrain park that attracts a collection of the top freestyle talent in the Pacific Northwest, Timberline serves multiple opportunities for those looking for a great introduction to the Mount Hood winter lifestyle.

Accommodations and Dining

In 1936, FDR commissioned the Timberline Lodge to be built, and it quickly became a landmark of the Pacific Northwest. It has remained so, highlighted by its designation as a National Historic Landmark in 1977.

And perhaps most famously, it appeared in the 1980 Stanley Kubrick film The Shining, an adaption of Stephen King's novel of the same name.

The cozy confines of the Timberline Lodge originate from the hearth. PHOTO: Clark

The cozy confines of the Timberline Lodge originate from the hearth. Photo: Courtesy of Clark

A giant, crackling fire (a real wood fire, not the gas variety) acts as the centerpiece of the hotel where you can lounge on cozy, era-specific furniture or enjoy a drink or meal at the restaurant and bar.

The massive beams and expert craftsmanship makes it feel as if you traveled back in time. The restaurant and staff at the Cascade Dining Room go to great lengths to ensure their guests (skiers and riders) feel satiated from a hearty steak menu and impressive wine list.

The breakfast is nearly as delicious as the dinner offering. Head on up to the Ram’s Head Bar for après drinks or a late evening cocktail. The whole experience — from ski in/ski out, to prodigious servings of hot chocolate to cozy comfort and five-star food and wine dining, can make you feel like your own best version of being president for a day.

When the clouds part, careen your necks skyward for majestic views of Mount Hood. PHOTO: Clark

When the clouds part, careen your necks skyward for majestic views of Mount Hood. Photo: Courtesy of Clark

Government Camp

If you’re looking for the most “ski town” scene on Hood, “Govy,” as it’s called, is your best bet. Head to Mt. Hood Brewing Company for pints and pub food and Charlie’s for more of an après bar experience.

Of course, a trip to Hood, even in the winter, isn’t complete without sucking down a huckleberry shake or inhaling huckleberry pancakes at the Huckleberry Inn.

John Stifter & Janna Irons, @vanventures

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For more information on the Mt. Hood/Gorge region, click here.