Asit Rathod knows Mount Hood.
As hard as it is for the snow-sports diehards among us to believe, not every child loves skiing and snowboarding. That doesn't mean they don't get to take a fun trip up and out of the Oregon rain to play in the Mount Hood snow.
In the old days there was just sledding: drag the sled up the hill, hop in and look out below! Repeat until exhausted, soaking wet and half-frozen. It was fun, free, and occasionally scary. It still is.
Tubing, on the other hand, is not free. But it can be a lot of fun. It's easy, and, yes, it is probably a lot safer than traditional sledding. Plus you get more trips down the hill, since you don't have to drag your sled back up every time.
Sledding and tubing can be a blast, especially with kids or with visiting friends from climates without snow.
Here are some good options for family sledding and tubing on Mount Hood:
Skibowl East has a lively tubing hill with a huge selection of tubes, an efficient conveyor lift and fast but safe runs. Cosmic Tubing (weekends and holidays until 11 pm) is a good choice if the kids are in the mood for party music and lights. Parents can watch through the window upstairs in the newly designed Multorpor Lodge if they choose. Open weekends and holidays, exit Hwy. 26 at Government Camp and follow Multorpor Road to Ski Bowl East parking lot. Adults $25 for three hours, Kids $20. Children under six need to be with an adult.
Summit Ski Area in Government Camp also has a tubing hill, and it is open weekdays as well as weekends, although I'd recommend calling first, 503-272-0256. $20 on weekdays, $25 on weekends. Kids under four feet tall tube for $20, accompanied with an adult. Summit also offers tubing on weekends and holidays at Snow Bunny, a few miles east on Hwy. 26, just east of the Timberline Road turn-off.
White River Sno-Park on Hwy. 35 between Mt. Hood Meadows and Timberline is a big draw for free sledding, snow-shoeing, backcountry skiing and all-around playing in the snow. There's space for 200 vehicles in the lot, and it can get pretty crowded in winter. But it's also a lot of fun to let the kids find their own paths up and down the hill. You need a Sno-Park permit to park in the lot, but other than that it is free.
Little John Sno-Park is a little less crowded than White River and offers similar opportunities for playing in the snow, provided it is a good snow year. It's between Hood River and Meadows, on your left if you are traveling up the mountain from Hood River and on your right if you are traveling down the mountain from Meadows. You need a Sno-Park permit to park here.
Let us know if we missed any good spots!
Oh, yeah, and BEWARE: Driving on Mount Hood can be treacherous if you don't know what you are doing or lack the proper gear. A few key tips: