Mt. Hood Ski and Bike: Ultimate Multi-Sport Day

Post by blogger | August 7, 2017      

It’s been hard to stop skiing this summer; it just keeps going. A few weeks ago I thought I had finally hung the planks up for good –made the transition to summer living. Little did I know that I’d be pulling them out again in August.

Thanks to Timberline Lodge, Mt. Hood has the easiest accessible summer snow in the PNW. Timberline is also the start to an incredible mountain bike trail with over 4,000 feet of flowy singletrack descent. Even better, there’s a bus with a bike trailer that takes you back to the lodge — for two dollars. All that adds up to an irresistible multi-sport descent.

Starting 4,700 feet of biking after skiing 4,000 of summer snow.

Starting 4,700 feet of biking after skiing 4,000 feet of summer snow.

With forest-fire smoke choking the air and a heatwave crushing Washington, it was prime time to combine skiing and biking on the flanks of a volcano. (Hopefully) far from the flames.

We rolled into the Timberline parking lot well after dark. This late in the season the upper parts of Hood don’t usually hold the nicest snow, so we decided to wake up a bit later, and simply go as high as we felt like. At 5 a.m. we began the skin. We ended up getting to about 10,000 feet, before turning around in the face of deepening sun-cups. Or rather, sun-buckets.

Starting out the day skiing up the groomed snow at Timberline Meadows.

Starting out the day skiing up groomed snow at Timberline Lodge.



Hiking near our high-point of the day.

Hiking near our high-point of the day.

August turns!

Julia making August turns!

As we started skiing, we began to notice thousands of Monarch butterflies flying across the slopes of Mt. Hood. I’ve never experienced anything quite like it. There were so many that it was impossible to avoid hitting some of them in mid-air while skiing. The descent started out a bit bumpy, but after a few minutes the snow smoothed out, and we enjoyed superb summer corn snow through the ski area and to our car at Timberline.

After a few minutes of relaxing by the car, we stored the ski gear and hopped on our bikes, ready for 16 miles of fast riding. The bike trail was even better than I remembered. It started out fast and smooth, with tight corners to keep you on your toes. In a few miles the trail became less steep, and a bit rockier. After a couple hours of almost non-stop fast descending, I was grateful to pedal up to the shuttle stop, right outside of the Rhododendron Dairy Queen, which I took full advantage of.

Taking a lunch break at the car, as we prepare for the biking portion of our dual-sport day.

Taking a lunch break at the car, as we prepare for the biking portion of our dual-sport day.

Biking out of the Timberline parking lot, prepared for a whole lot of downhill.

Biking out of the Timberline parking lot, prepared for a whole lot of downhill.

Quite the contrast from the high alpine ecosystem on Hood, to the lush forests at lower elevation.

Quite the contrast from the high alpine ecosystem on Hood, to the lush forests at lower elevation.

Editor’s note: If you’re shopping for volcano slayers: Louie skied Mt. Hood on G3 skis. Julia cruised down the slopes on Line Pandora 110s,


13 Responses to “Mt. Hood Ski and Bike: Ultimate Multi-Sport Day”

  1. Lisa Dawson August 7th, 2017 8:51 am

    I remember driving down the highway after spring skiing on Mt. Hood. A light rain had freshened the air, the oleanders were in full bloom, and the fragrance was intoxicating. I can only imagine how lovely it would be to bike down through the forest.

    Thanks for sharing a wonderful adventure.

  2. Ronald Cassiani August 7th, 2017 12:34 pm

    A bit confused . Which ski area did you start skinning from: Timberline Lodge or MT Hood Meadows?

  3. Louis Dawson August 7th, 2017 12:44 pm

    oops, I don’t know why I added meadows to Timberline, haha. We started at Timberline Lodge.

  4. Lou Dawson 2 August 7th, 2017 1:08 pm

    I was wondering about that as well! Need to listen better to my editing instincts…

  5. Aaron Mattix August 7th, 2017 5:44 pm

    Dang, this sounds like a bucket list adventure for sure!

  6. Bard August 7th, 2017 7:47 pm

    I have added this to my to do list, thanks Louie!

  7. Louie Dawson 3 August 7th, 2017 11:33 pm

    It’s definitely a fun day! The trick is timing it so there is nice ski conditions, but also no snow on the bike trail. The trail usually melts out sometime in July, depending on the year. Last year we went a bit earlier in the year, and skied from the top, and it wasn’t very good. Earlier in the year is much better. It’s hard to hit good skiing while still having the trail free from snow.

  8. Mac August 8th, 2017 4:10 am

    Would dearly love to buy some G3 skis, but no one sells them in New Zealand anymore, and getting them shipped from Canada costs twice as much as the purchase price of the ski!

  9. Lou Dawson 2 August 8th, 2017 9:41 am

    Hi Mac, sorry to hear that… what saves you is you can almost buy skis while blindfolded these days and end up with something good. It’s quite something, really… what are you looking for, perhaps folks here can help with suggestions. Lou

  10. Ian August 8th, 2017 5:28 pm

    Hi Mac.
    Small Planet have G3 Synapse carbon on special.

  11. Mac August 9th, 2017 12:33 am

    Lou / Ian,

    I was keen to get a pair of FINDr 86 for ski mountaineering and hard snow. I was thinking of something that is relatively light, quite stiff and damp, no too much rocker and a flat tail.

    I’ve already got wider (98mm) skis for softer/deeper conditions.

    Nearly bought a pair of Dynafit’s older (red) Baltoros, but the guys at Dynafit did an awesome job of putting me off by not answering my questions and putting on the hard sell for a totally un-suitable ski.

    If you’ve any suggestions, I’d be keen to hear them!

  12. Lou Dawson 2 August 10th, 2017 10:12 am

    Hi Mac, it always amazes me how many people eventually figure out that “relatively light, quite stiff and damp, no too much rocker and a flat tail” pretty much describe a versatile “true” ski mountaineering ski. But man, what versions of that exist is indeed the question! The Scott skis tend to be a bit more on this side of equation (see Scott Superguide 88), or at least that’s my recollection. And how about some of the Black Diamond current offerings? Please let us know how your search progresses. Thanks, Lou

  13. Mac August 11th, 2017 2:56 am

    Cheers Lou,

    Yeah, kind of a catch-all request I know!
    I couldn’t find any backcountry <88mm waisted Scott or Black Diamond skis in NZ!
    The thing is that there isn't much of a market for thing sort of ski in NZ. There are a few decent shops, but even they have really small stocks and very limited ranges. Most NZ retailers seem to sell wide power skis (i.e. over 100mm waists) – which given our shitty hard pack snow makes no sense.
    Its all the inter web's fault really, I spend too much time looking at all the new shiny stuff. In the bad old days, I would have been happy in my blissful ignorance.

    Might have to bite the bullet and do a season in Canada or your neck of the woods, and buy some skis while I'm there, given a return air fare to the US is cheaper than the cost of posting skis from North America.

Got something to say? Please do so.

Anti-Spam Quiz:

You can subscribe to comment notification by checking the box to left, but you must leave a brief comment to do so, which records your email and requires you to use our anti-spam challange. If you don't like leaving substantive comments that's fine, just leave a simple comment that says something like "thanks, subscribed" with a made-up name. Check the comment subscription checkbox BEFORE you submit.
If you need an emoticon for a comment just copy/paste off the following list, or use text code you might be familiar with.

:D    :-)    :(    :lol:    :x    :P    :oops:    :cry:    :evil:    :twisted:    :roll:    :wink:    :!:    :?:    :idea:    :arrow:   
Due to comment spam we moderate most comments. Please do not submit your comment twice -- it will appear shortly after approval. Comments with one or more links in the text may be held in moderation, for spam prevention. If you'd like to publish a photo in a comment, contact us. Guidelines: Be civil, no personal attacks, avoid vulgarity and profanity.

  Your Comments

  • Lou Dawson 2: The ATK did do well in my evaluations. Lots of people like them. Lou...
  • HansDampf: In 2014 I contacted Völkl and asked for the required distance of drilling h...
  • Wookie1974: really nice idea. Put them in a little pack with a blob of skin wax and an ...
  • See: I too am ready to be amazed, but the graphic on the Bauer website comparing...
  • Andrei: So if you make one size that's about 65mm by 100mm with staggered spikes an...
  • SteveR: Need to be available in a range of widths (like harscheisen). 65/80/90/100 ...
  • Patrick Gasparro: Yes See. I think that most of us chargers like to push things to far. Ski...
  • Patrick Gasparro: Good point about the alignment of the spikes Andrei! The only reason they ...
  • See: Yeah, wtofd, I'm speaking from experience on this one....
  • wtofd: See, I am guilty of this. I keep the skins on even though I know it's getti...
  • Frank Kvietok: Very interested to learn more about and try 'Thindown'. Should allow for s...
  • See: (except maybe the south pole, etc.)...
  • See: Understood about breakable crust, and I’m not trying to suggest that Skeats...
  • Andrei: Utah is the same. Totally stoked to try these things out this season. I ...
  • Lou Dawson 2: We get a similar snowpack in Colorado, when you can go on hard crust with s...
  • Patrick Gasparro: Hi See, I appreciate your thought process. However certain situations d...
  • Patrick Gasparro: Thanks., Wtofd. The Skeats™ really are compatible with the Voile™ ski st...
  • Lou Dawson 2: It's so attractive, the goal of having a quiver of one that'll work on or o...
  • wtofd: Patrick, congrats, this is great. I imagine you'll eventually need to hand...
  • See: Just a general comment about technique: if the terrain is approaching the l...
  • David Dodge: Hi Lou, I'm aware of the Vipec. I think it solves the fundamental proble...
  • Patrick Gasparro: Dan, your point about a narrower plate is dead on., and maybe more urgent ...
  • Dan: 1C makes sense. Thanks FOR explaining that. Also a narrower option (6) woul...
  • Patrick Gasparro: I'll try to answer the previous few questions: 1. Glide: a. We really onl...
  • Dan: So you basically trade off glide for a few grams? Why?...
  • See: If the 100mm plate is good for 100mm-135mm wide skis, are the skis shown in...
  • Jusku: Seems great when youre having your skis flat on the ice. But how would the...
  • Louie Dawson 3: Thanks for answering all these questions Patrick, this is great! One though...
  • David: Hot dang! And I just shelled out for a pair of Dynafit crampons two weeks a...
  • Andy Carey: I think a pair that would fit 84-90 mm waists would be great; my mountainee...

  Recent Posts

Welcome to Louis (Lou) Dawson's backcountry skiing information & opinion website. Lou's passion for the past 50 years has been alpinism, climbing, mountaineering and skiing -- along with all manner of outdoor recreation. He has authored numerous books and articles about ski touring and is well known as the first person to ski down all 54 of Colorado's 14,000-foot peaks, otherwise known as the Fourteeners! Books and free ski touring news and information here.

All material on this website is copyrighted, the name WildSnow is trademarked, permission required for reproduction (electronic or otherwise) and display on other websites. PLEASE SEE OUR COPYRIGHT and TRADEMARK INFORMATION.

Backcountry skiing is dangerous. You may be killed or severely injured if you do any form of ski mountaineering, skimo randonnee and randonnée skiing. The information and news on this website is intended only as general information. While the authors and editors of the information on this website make every effort to present useful information about ski mountaineering, due to human error and passing time, the information, text and images contained within this website may be inaccurate, false, or out-of-date. By using, reading or viewing the information provided on this website, you agree to absolve the owners of Wild Snow as well as content contributors of any liability for injuries or losses incurred while using such information. Furthermore, you agree to use any of this website's information, maps, photos, or binding mounting instructions templates at your own risk, and waive Wild Snow owners and contributors of liability for use of said items for ski touring or any other use.

Switch To Mobile Version