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,


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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.

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