Asit Rathod knows Mount Hood.
The latest Wi-Fi hotspots on Mount Hood are the Wy'East Day Lodge at Timberline, the Alpenstube Restaurant at Mt. Hood Meadows and the Skibowl West base lodge.
Timberline has added to the solid connection in the main lodge by expanding Wi-Fi service to the day lodge. Skibowl and Mt. Hood Meadows both installed fiber optic lines that will significantly improve connectivity in their main lodges.
Dave Tragethon, executive director for sales, marketing and communications for Meadows, says the new fiber at Meadows will increase the resort's bandwidth by 20 times.
"We run our entire company on that bandwidth, so we have been very protective of it in the past," he says. "Now we'll be able to share a lot more of it with our guests."
Tragethon says there will be hotspots throughout the public areas in the main lodges at Meadows as well as in the Alpenstube Restaurant.
Unfortunately, the notoriously bad AT&T cellular phone signal at Meadows is not expected to improve any time soon.
With the recent addition of a new cell tower in the foothills, the cellular connection on Mount Hood is ubiquitous and fairly strong - on the Portland side of the mountain, anyhow. On the Meadows side, the gap between Verizon's fairly decent coverage and AT&T's poor coverage is huge. Years of complaints from Meadows regulars have not brought improvements from AT&T.
"We continue to tell AT&T how important it is, and our guests continue to tell AT&T how important it is," says Tragethon. "But AT&T apparently has other priorities."
The lack of cellular coverage becomes a bigger deal every year, as smart phones grow ever more commonplace and useful on lifts and trails and in the backcountry. Skiers and riders use their phones to hook up with friends, shoot pics and videos, listen to tunes and track everything from vertical feet to speed to aerial rotation.
Even without decent cell coverage, the new fiber optic line should at least enable Meadows guests to find a Wi-Fi hotspot to jump online and check their e-mail and social media.
Here is a list of Wi-Fi hotspots on and around Mount Hood. Let us know if we missed your favorite.
The North Lodge at Mt. Hood Meadows has the most reliable free Wi-Fi coverage on that side of the mountain. The connection is strongest higher up, so the Vertical Restaurant & Sports Bar may be your best bet if you need to get online for a while. The new fiber also makes for a better connection in the Alpenstube Restaurant.
Timberline Lodge also has free Wi-Fi, both at the classic ski lodge and at the Wy'East Day Lodge.
As of November 2013, the Skibowl West base lodge also has free Wi-Fi. Skibowl invested in a fiber optic line that will improve the resort's bandwidth big-time.
Most lodging properties on and around the mountain come with private WiFi accessible through a password. But there are also a number of public hot-spots for folks passing through.
In Government Camp, the High Mountain Cafe has comfortable couches and free Wi-Fi to wait out downpours in comfort.
Charlie's Mountain View also has a decent Wi-Fi connection across the street.
The Ice Axe Grill just off Highway 26 on the west end of Govy has a serviceable connection too.
In Welches, Cafe Aria may be your best bet for a place to chill out and get online for a while.
In Parkdale, Solera Brewery has free Wi-Fi, although it can be spotty. It's right across the street from Apple Valley BBQ in Parkdale, just off 35.
Oh year, you probably knew this already, but you can turn your iPhone 5 into your own Personal Wi-Fi Hotspot. Provided you have the right data plan. Here are the details.