Snow sports enthusiasts take advantage of spring powder

Photo of student skiing
Courtesy of Diego Kagle

On a clear day, Mt. Hood is visible between the trees from campus. The 11,245-foot peak is the highest in Oregon and a popular destination for year-round recreation, but particularly popular are the numerous ski resorts and opportunities for skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, tubing and other snow sports.

Lewis & Clark students find opportunities to leave campus and make the hour-and-a-half trek out to Mt. Hood’s resorts. One student-run organization, Ski Club, “helps people find rides up to the mountain, and to events in Portland related to skiing and snowboarding,” according to the Student Engagement webpage Club president Maria Makman ’25 has been downhill skiing for over 15 years and backcountry skiing for 2 years.

“I’ve found a great community full of some cool people. I think there are a lot of people who love winter sports so I think it is fairly popular,” Mackman said via email. “You can always find someone to go on a winter adventure with.”

Ski club member Katie McColgin ’25 concurs that the community is strong. She has been skiing since she was 10 years old, but this is the first season she has purchased a season pass and has her own gear.

“The ski community here is great! So many people do it and ski and snowboard club is a great place to meet people,” McColgin said via email. “Everybody is outdoorsy here and will actually send with me.”

Mt. Hood is home to a number of ski resorts. Both Makman and McColgin have season passes to Mt. Hood Meadows, but have also been to Ski Bowl. 

“Meadows has more parks and better groomed runs but ski bowl has more backcountry stuff depending on your interest,” McColgin said.

James Fishman-Morren ‘26 is another skier. He has been both downhill and cross country skiing since he was seven years old.

“The winter sports community is definitely very alive on campus, and there’s lots of people who love recreating outdoors in the winter and do so together, whether at Mt. Hood Meadows for downhill or Teacup Lake Nordic for cross country,” Fishman-Morren said via email. “However, I imagine that downhill skiing in particular is very unattainable to those who are not already into it, and don’t have the gear, or friends to take them on the hour-and-a-half long drive.”

Fishman-Morren commented on the number of College Outdoors trips featuring snow sports, but is disappointed by the lack of opportunities for people to learn how to downhill ski through their programs.

“Downhill skiing is ridiculously expensive, and if you’re a beginner it really makes no sense to pay nearly $200 (day pass and rentals and gas) for a day of skiing and three hours of driving,” Fishman-Morren said. “College outdoors also does not offer downhill skiing trips, as it does with cross country and snowshoeing.”

Despite the resorts being difficult to access, the skiers find time to make it up the mountain and enjoy the powder. 

“Lewis and Clark is great for skiing, because Mt. Hood is not too far away. It’s a really cool experience to drive up into the winter world from rainy Portland,” Fishman-Morren said.

For students interested in skiing, snowboarding, sledding, snowshoeing, and other outdoor snow sports, the various resorts on and around Mt. Hood offers season passes, day passes, and classes to get people out on the snow.

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