When the snow flies in the nearby mountains, it’s time to hit the slopes. Some of the best ski areas in the world are right in our back yard, and they make the perfect play day for Portland families looking to have a little fun. Grab the kids, grab your  Sno-Park pass, and enjoy epic adventure PNW-style. Find out where you can purchase tickets, rent gear, and find the best ski areas below. Read on for all the details.

photo: Honza Soucup via flickr


Summit Ski Area
Driving distance from Portland: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Small, but complete with a lodge that serves hot food and drinks, a chair lift, and a tube hill, Summit Ski Area is great for families and novices. The resort backs up its boast about being a great place to learn to ski or snowboard and providing a variety of lessons for skiers and snowboarders of all ages and abilities. They also offer Jr. All Day lift tickets that cost only $28 for anyone between the ages of 7-11.

Summit Ski Area
90255 Government Camp Loop Rd.
Government Camp, OR
Online: summitskiarea.com

Mt. Hood Meadows
Driving distance from Portland: 1 hour, 25 minutes

Meadows offers varied terrain that challenges all skier levels on over 2,150 square acres from Heather Canyon to South Canyon, and from Buttercup to Show Off, there’s something for everyone. For children between the ages of four and fourteen, camps, lessons, and clubs are available.

Mt. Hood Meadows
14040 Hwy. 35
Mt. Hood, OR
Online: skihood.com

photo: Christine G. via Yelp

Mt. Hood Skibowl
Driving distance from Portland: 1 hour, 10 minutes

With thirty-four lifts, 1500 feet of vertical drop, and sixty-five runs, there are hours of fun to be had at Skibowl. There are more black diamond runs than at any other ski resort in the state and two fully lit runs. For younger skiers, there are kiddie snowmobiles, a kiddie carousel, Frosty’s Playground, and an indoor play area.

Mt. Hood Skibowl
87000 U.S. 26
Government Camp, OR
Online: Mt. Hood Skibowl

Cross Country Skiing

Teacup Lake
Driving distance from Portland: 1 hour, 7 minutes

Escape the speed demon crowds, and enjoy downhill’s quieter winter kin—cross country skiing. Enjoy twenty kilometers (12 miles) of groomed trails, relative solitude, and a spectacular view of Mt. Hood once you pass frozen and snow-covered Teacup Lake.There are groomed tracks and a skating lane. Teacup’s pristine trails stay that way because dogs and snow shoes are not allowed, and a friendly emphasis on a particular standard of trail etiquette. A day-use cabin is there for warming up and is open to the public most Mondays, Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Check the website for race schedules when local high school competitions take place and access to Teacup Lake for the public is limited and check the website for directions.

Online: Teacup Lake

Tips for Getting Ready to Ski with Young Children.

Expect shorter skiing days and take plenty of the right kind of gear, as well as plenty of snacks and water. Children’s growth spurts make buying a little frustrating financially, so renting is a great option. The one piece of gear to purchase, though, is a good helmet. Here are a couple of ski shop outfitters.

The Mountain Shop
The Mountain Shop offers a wide array of outdoor gear, including skis and ski rentals for everyone in the family. Staff are friendly and know their gear and want you to have a great day outside whether you’re snowboarding or splitboarding, cross country skiing, skate skiing or telemarking, or alpine skiing or touring, they’ll be able to help. They have a repair shop, too. Check the website for rental prices.

Online: The Mountain Shop

Next Adventure
Next Adventure offers outdoor gear to purchase, rental equipment for outdoor pursuits, and a variety of classes from show shoe tours to cross country day trips to wilderness first aid. Check the website for rental prices and the repair shop, class schedules and costs, and to shop online.

Online: Next Adventure

Note: It’s always a good idea to check weather and road conditions at the link to Oregon’s Road and Weather Conditions at Trip Check.

—Jenny Forrester (updated by Annette Benedetti)


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