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Which Mt Hood Pass Should You Buy? – Mt Hood Meadows vs Fusion Pass

To buy a Fusion pass or a Meadows Pass is a question debated every year by Portland residents new and old alike. And there’s no right answer. With three resorts to choose from, and a list of pass options a mile long, the only thing we can definitively say is you definitely should by a pass. With Portland’s dark and gloomy winter looming, this $500ish dollar investment is guaranteed to make your life in the Rose City better, while incentiveizing you to actually go snowboarding. Just trust us on this one – when the snow flies the mountain gets further away (in time, not distance) and all of a sudden getting drunk every night at Reel Em In, skateboarding, going to art shows, watching netflix, etc – sounds way more fun than doing dawn patrol with every other asshole who has their schedule set so they can skip out of work on powder days.

If you’re trying to get max days without splitting/hiking/snowmobiling, there are two main options and we’re tossing a third, more complicated, but comparably priced option, because we’re nice like that.

In bounds at Meadows, lift accessible and every bit as amazing as it looks. 

Meadows Unlimited Pass $549

Summary: For the powder hound who’s concerned with logging vertical and getting wicked extreme, Meadows is preferable. There’s more trees, more steeps, and a network of lifts that move people around fairly quickly, even on the most crowded days.

Pros:
-Steeper steeps and deeper deeps – and with several high speed quads that take you off in every direction, it’s possible to find something worth riding any day of the week, any time of the day.
-Sweet pros, young and old. Wanna see the best freeriding go down infront of your eyes? Post up at the bottom of Rock Gardens on Shooting Star on a deep pow day and watch guys like Colin Langlois, Johnnie Paxson, Ahmon Stamps, Nick Dirks and more send it off features that are at least worthy of a web edit clip!
-Sick trees – Meadows has the monopoly on wide open old growth forests that are easily accessible from the chairlifts with almost no insider knowledge.
-Exchange deals: Get five day tickets at Mt. Baker, three at Steamboat and 25% off at Big White FULL DETAILS
-Legit night riding – There’s a ton of terrain that you can access under the lights (or next to them.)

An average pow day at Meadows. 

Cons:

-Cool guys/Pow Hounds. Don’t be surprised if you get elbowed in the lines or yelled at for scraping the snow off the landing. The Meadows crowd tends to be a bit more aggro when it comes to “getting some.”
It’s further from Portland. Depending on if the state of Oregon can figure out how to fix the recently burned out gorge to prevent the inevitable mudslides in time, there’s a good chance I-84 will be closed for some of the winter. If this happens, the traffic on route 26 will increase and with no other way around, you’re stuck sitting in it for longer to get to Meadows than Timberline. However, if you live in Hood River/East of Mt. Hood, this isn’t an issue and you should disregard this statement.

The view from Ski Bowl is the stuff Mastercard ads are made of. 

Fusion Pass

This pass will get you full access to Timberline and Ski Bowl and for the casual enthusiast living in Portland (or anywhere west of Mt. Hood) this means shorter drive times and the potential for double pow days by hitting Timberline in the morning, Charlie’s Mountain View in the afternoon, and Ski Bowl at night.

This view when you come around the last corner on the Timberline road never gets old – and it’s WAY more impressive IRL. 

Pros: Way mellower. Rumor has it, on a busy day Timberline sells 1/4 of the tickets of Mt. Hood Meadows because of an agreement with the US Forest Service. Even if the parking lot is full, the trails won’t be.
Amazing parks. The Timberline Parks stuff does a great job keeping multiple parks in solid riding shape – a serious feat given the amount of snow that falls through the season on Mt. Hood.
Access to the best terrain not actually on Mt. Hood. Ski bowl lies in the foothills and the lower elevation.
Fewer ag-bros. Yeah, there’s a bit of the park kid vibe if you’re trying to lap the mega booters in the Timberline park, but for the most part, Timberline and Ski Bowl attract more casuals, and the people who ride there are mostly concerned about having fun, not showing off their sick gear. In fact, if you’ve got a boner for vintage gear you’ll probably run into some real gems in the lines at either of these two resorts that people are riding them totally non-ironically.
-Ski Bowl has a rope tow park. Many a mitten has been destroyed and many a movie has been filmed on this short stretch of terrain.
-Awesome mid-mountain bars. Timberline has a hut serving tacos and tall boys and Ski Bowl has a midmountain lodge that’s steeped in history. Or if you’d rather, the Beer stube at the base serves a minty booze hot chocolate that’ll knock you on your ass and the nachos that were the inspiration for Airblaster’s Nacho Mountain.
-Part of the Powder Alliance. This means your Fusion pass not only enables you to not only ride all of its amazing terrain, but also gets four days at places like Mt. Baker, Bogus Basin and more. See the full list here.

Forget to wax or lift up your nose when it dumps at Timberline – this could be you.

Cons:
-Timberline is “flat.” The topograpy of the resort means you will be traversing from lift to lift. When there’s more than 4 inches of snow, you’ll spend as much time digging out as riding. And while there are steep sections if you know where you’re going – your chances of happening across them by pure dumb luck are much slimmer.
-Just because it’s snowing at Timberline, doesn’t mean it is at Ski Bowl. It might be rain, rain and more rain. Hell, there have been years Ski Bowl has barely opened at all. But NOAA and all the other predictors are saying the 2017/18 season is gonna be a good one, so cross those fingers, fools!

Joey Carnera, on a rare sunny day on the Magic Mile. 

THE WILD CARD – A Ski Bowl Night Pass (TBA ~ $149) + a Meadows 5 ($299) or 10-time Pass ($409) + Timberline Spring pass (TBA ~ $99-119)

If you’re an “average boarder” with a 9-5 job, this is the combo that will guarantee you the most riding and the best combo of all of the above. It’s totally doable to work a full day, go home, get your gear and hit Ski Bowl post rush hour for three solid hours of riding. Adding the Meadows 10x pass gives you the option to ditch work any time there’s a day worth ditching for – which let’s be real, if you do more than 10 times, you’re probably gonna get fired anyway. And finally the spring pass gives ya access to Timberline parks when they’re the best. And the best part – you get the spread out the cost throughout the entire season.

 

IN CONCLUSION

Anyway you go, you’re going to be glad you bought a pass – maybe not when your alarm goes off at 5 am on a pow day, but definitely when you’re exploring the nooks and crannies of Mt. Hood with epic pow hitting you in the face with every other turn. And you have until November 5th to decide. Whatever you go for, don’t forget to buy your annual snow park permit – it’s required to park in either lot and the $25 one-time investment will pay for itself the first time you don’t get a citation from the man.

Urban First Descents

YoBeat Gets Urban During the Storm of the Century

EPIC SHREDDING? SURE THING!

EPIC SHREDDING? SURE THING!

So far this season, the YoBeat staff has managed to go snowboarding a few times, and never leave the parking lot. But I was determined to change that, as Sunday, December 14, the real hill, Mt. Hood Meadows finally opened. Unfortunately Nick left for Utah Saturday, and I had an incident with not one, but two kegs. Despite going big (for me anyway), I was awake at 8 am, calling homies to see if I could make snowboarding happen. Since the only person who answered the phone seemed to still be drunk, it wasn’t looking promising.

Slightly discouraged, I looked out the window and realized that driving to the mountain was actually unnessecary — there was a solid inch of snow on the ground! Confident that I could make journalist magic happen in the city, I opted to go back to sleep. When I finally got up, geared up and convinced my personal photographer to come with me, it was about 10:30. Perfect time for some urban boardin’! I should clarify though. I have no interest in jibbing, bomb dropping or otherwise having your typical urban shred sesh. I was looking for serious soul boarding, maybe even some urban first descents.

First destination was Mt. Tabor Park, but almost as soon as we got in the car, the phone rang. It was my formerly drunk friend Nate and I told him the plan.

“We have a stair set and a hill!” he said. And with that, we were on our way to pick up our posse. I told Nate we’d be there in a few minutes so to get ready, but when we arrived, I found him dicing potatoes for breakfast and drinking leftover keg beer. I was serious about getting the shot, but I figured I would be able to get more extreme with a good breakfast in me. As we ate, hungover people began emerging from all over, and pretty soon our crew was six deep and a dog.

NINJA NATE MAKES ANY DAY BETTER

NINJA NATE MAKES ANY DAY BETTER

With full stomachs, brand new gear and a cherry coke bottle full of keg beer, we finally started shredding in the street. Nate crushed the stair set, there was some warm up dancing and we even saw a hit and run. I decided to try a sweet stonewall drop, which not gonna lie, didn’t go so well. Finally, we all piled into Tim Breault’s van and headed off to get our shred on.

The first spot we ended up at was the high school next to Glenhaven skatepark. In my mind, there was a giant grassy hill next to the school, but as it turned out, the hill was covered in bushes and dropped off about 10 feet at the bottom. In the freezing cold and whipping wind, we trudged around the school, looking for another, more epic hill. We didn’t find the powder drifts I was hoping for, but we did find a perfect ollie-on ledge. Tim and Nate took turns riding a spot that has probably never been done on a snowboard before, and the rest of us stood around and froze. With a few shots in the bag, we decided Mt. Tabor was a better bet for truly epic shredding.

The roads we’re pretty trecherous, and we almost hit a dog trying to drive up the streep street to the park. We decided it might be better to just park at the bottom and walk. The scene at Tabor was amazing. Cross country skiers, extreme mountain bikers, dudes with Sims from the early 90s and of course, tons of children with sleds all vied to ruin our session. After all, if they did it first, it wouldn’t really be a first descent anymore. The jib possibilities were endless though. Flat bars, rock drops and cement ledges were everywhere. Nate, who at this point was drunk again, was unstoppable, riding his snowboard while the rest of us walked (in our defense, he was the only one with an old board.)

TOO BAD TIM IS RIDING LAST YEAR'S PRODUCT. SET UP BACKWARDS.

TOO BAD TIM IS RIDING LAST YEAR'S PRODUCT. SET UP BACKWARDS.

After climbing the hill for awhile, we saw it. A slight gully wrapped through trees and there was even a cat track that made for a sweet jump. This was it. My moment. I hurried up the hill, with Nate and our other friend Evan following behind. I claimed this one, and even though they managed to strap in before me, I was going to make it happen. The problem with riding on leaves covered with a dusting of snow is it’s hard to turn, stop, or really have any sort of control. It wasn’t going to stop me. I pointed my brand new snowboard towards the bottom and went for it. The snow was also very sticky, so it was a slow process at first, but i picked up speed and caught some out-of-control air off the jump. Stuck the landing, and as I rapidly approached the bottom, I realized there was no real way to stop. The edge of the road had other ideas though, and I jarred dramatically into it, ending my line. It wasn’t enough to kill the rush. I’d just had my first urban descent and it was a high I can’t possibly explain.

This day will undoubtedly go down as one of the best of my season, and only I (and Evan and Nate) can say we’ve shredded that line in Mt. Tabor Park. If you really want to read about Meadows Opening day, and find out if Ahmon Stamps was there or not, check out this blog. They promised actual coverage. Now watch the video.

(Photos by Jared Souney)