Silcox Hut is Oregon's highest hotel room, at 7,000 feet. Photo courtesy of Timberline Lodge.

Nothing like waking up on the mountain when the snow is fresh and the skies are clearing. Why not spring for a room for the night, or a cabin for the week? Mount Hood's lodging options are abundant. It all depends on what you want, what you need, where you want to be and how much you are willing to pay.

You've got some sweet options up on Mount Hood, on the Portland side between Sandy and Rhododendron, and in the Hood River Valley.

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It's hard to beat the hot chocolate at Timberline Lodge.

Dining and drinking options on and around Mount Hood range from an irresistably greasy bag of donuts at Joe's in Sandy to fine fondue and chardonnay at Timberline Lodge's Cascade Dining Room. A good hard day of shredding at high altitude makes everything taste better, so it's best to be open-minded about all your mountain options. I'll organize this article into three sections: Heading up to the Mountain, On the Mountain, and Heading Back Home.

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Mount Hood offers plenty of solid choices for snowboarders and skiers.

Mount Hood offers plenty of solid choices for snowboarders and skiers.

One sweet thing about Mount Hood is that it's just an hour's drive from Portland. Another is that it offers six solid options for skiing and snowboarding.

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Portland's Next Adventure on SE Grand is one of many independent ski and snowboard shops for Mount Hood enthusiasts.

Whether you're looking to spring for the latest super-gear or just get the kids cheap season rentals, there is no shortage of local options for buying gear on and around Mount Hood. The independent shops listed below are scrapping it out with Internet discounters and big-box giants, and they are eager for your business. I'll start with the options in Metro Portland, then list the shops from Mount Hood to Hood River.

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Fuel costs can add up in a hurry.

Whether you like to admit it or not, transportation may be your biggest expense when it comes to heading up to enjoy the mountain. There's simply no skimping on four-wheel drive and good snow tires. But when it comes to gas, the less spent the better. That's why new competition from low-price box stores selling gas and/or partnering with gas stations is a good thing.

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Sometimes all you really need is a cold one and Wi-Fi.

Need to get online while you're up on the mountain? No problem. The list of Wi-Fi hotspots on and around Mount Hood gets longer every year. And with the recent addition of a cell tower in the foothills, the cellular connection is ubiquitous and fairly strong, with the unfortunate acception of AT&T's spotty-at-best coverage at Mt. Hood Meadows.

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Driving up into the snow? You'll need a Sno*Park permit. Photo courtesy ODOT.

Parking is free at all Mount Hood ski resorts and backcountry entry points, except for the fact that it isn't.

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It's worth the trip.

No car? No license? Bald tires? No desire to drive bumper-to-bumper on icy roads? Tired of getting parked out? No worries. You can still travel up to enjoy Mount Hood in winter. Here are some options.

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Tubing on Mount Hood can be a blast.

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.

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Start 'em young!

So there's a foot of fresh snow and blue skies, and you really don't feel up for the whole child care thing just this moment. I mean, yeah, you love 'em, but. No worries. If you're a parent of young children on Mount Hood and you'd rather be out shredding, you have options.

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