Ski season is upon us!
Parking is free at all Mount Hood ski resorts and backcountry entry points, except for the fact that it isn't.
You don't need to pay each time you park in Mt. Hood National Forest — as long as you have an Oregon Sno-Park permit on your windshield. Keep in mind that Washington Sno-Park permits are no longer accepted in Oregon, so if you plan on shredding Crystal and Baker as well as Meadows, Timberline and Skibowl, you will need to buy two separate Sno-Park permits for your windshield.
Pretty much any snow spot worth visiting in the Mount Hood National Forest requires a Sno-Park permit, and the cost is $20 for the season (November 1-April 30), $7 per day, or $10 for three consecutive days. Private vendors are allowed to charge more, so they usually tack on $5 or $10 for resale.
The fine if you get caught parking without an Oregon Sno-Park pass is $30.
Here's where you can buy your Oregon Sno-Park permit:
1. Any Oregon DMV office You can save five or 10 bucks by buying directly from the state if you already have to go to DMV for something else.
2. At the ticket counter at any Mount Hood ski and snowboard resort;
3. At one of the 22 ski and snowboard shops on and around Mt. Hood;
3. From the Mt. Hood Ski Patrol. If you buy from this volunteer nonprofit organization, you can write off the cost as a tax deduction.
4. Pretty much any business in Govy, plus dozens more in Portland, Hood River, Welches, Sandy and all over Oregon.
Here is a link to the full - and quite extensive - list of private vendors selling Sno-Park permits valid for Mount Hood. There are 16 options in Portland alone. Keep in mind that at least one of the businesses on the list, the Ski Chalet, no longer exist. So call before driving.
The Sno-Park system has been raising money for public agencies for a long time. But there is a big change in how it works. Unfortunately, Washington and Oregon are no longer sharing Sno-Park priviledges. Vehicles registered in Washington will need a valid Oregon Sno-Park permit displayed when parked in an Oregon Sno-Park as of Novermber 1, 2013. If you want to shred both Crystal and Mount Hood you will need two separate stickers on your windshield.
Good news for Schweitzer and Squaw fans: Sno-Park permits from Idaho and California still work in Oregon, and vice versa.