Ski season is upon us!
No car? No license? Bald tires? No desire to drive bumper-to-bumper on icy roads? No worries. You can still travel up to enjoy Mount Hood in winter. Here are some options.
A New Public Bus: For starters, there is the newly expanded Mt. Hood Express bus line from Sandy to Timberline, with stops at Skibowl and Government Camp. Buses will operate seven times a day, seven days a week for the winter season, Dec. 1-March 31. No service on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day, and the bus will not travel to Mt. Hood Meadows. The cost is $2 one-way. Not as fast as driving, but you'll get there. Here is the schedule. And here's the back story on how this new bus line came to be.
Getting to the new Public Bus from Portland: As for getting to Sandy from Portland via transit, it isn't easy, but it can be done. Take the #12 or the #21 from Portland by bus, or the MAX train east to Gresham Transit Center. Then take the express from Gresham Transit Center to Sandy Transit Center and hook up with the Mt. Hood Express in Sandy.
Buses to Meadows: Mt. Hood Meadows offers a wide variety of transit options from Metro Portland to the resort, and given their parking problems they would love for you to ride transit. Meadows runs weekend shuttles from Portland, plus buses on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Day visitors who take the shuttles can get reduced lift tickets. There are also programs for youth, high school students and college students. Meadows has a list of transportation options you can use to find your best choice.
Catch a Ride: If you're in a hurry to get to the slopes, the fastest way is usually by 4X4. And you don't need to stand out by the highway freezing your thumb off to catch a ride. ODOT operates a carpool resource called drivelessconnect.com. There is also a Facebook Ride Share group that you can join here.
No Longer Available #1: Fusion Shuttle: The Fusion Shuttle, which used to connect Skibowl and Timberline, is no longer in existence. It has been replaced by the expanded Mountain Express.
No Longer Available #2: Grease Bus: The once-popular, biodiesel-powered Grease Bus used to run six days a week from Portland to Meadows, with visions of expanding to Govy, Timberline and SkiBowl. Sadly, the Grease Bus is no longer in operation due to onerous regulations and insurance requirements, at least not for now. There is definitely strong demand for a City-to-the-Mountain Shred Bus to take its place. Any entrepreneurs out there?