Skiing at Mount Hood

In December 1964 I took a trip on the Canadian National Railway from Toronto to Vancouver. Then I proceeded by train to Portland and bus to San Francisco. The end-purpose of the journey was to visit U.C. Berkeley and Stanford for potential graduate study in Operations Research (I ended up going to Stanford after the new year). Having resigned from my job in Buffalo I indulged myself for some interesting travel. The following relies on notes that I took to document the trip along with my own memories.

After traveling by bus from Buffalo to Toronto, I spent a day exploring the city. The Canadian train traveled the route every day at the same time, so I bought a through ticket to Vancouver, got off at major cities, spent a day and a night there, and resumed the journey. I explored Winnipeg and Edmonton in that way, followed by a day in Vancouver. I then took the train to Seattle, spent a day there, then the train to Portland.

The ride to Portland took four hours, and the ski report was so good that I decided to go directly on the bus to Mt. Hood and stay at the Timberline Lodge there. I met a nice chap from Reed College on the bus. We got out at Government Camp in the evening, and because the bus wasn’t running to Timberline in the evening my friend invited me to the Reed cabin. It was wild, tromping through 2-3 feet of snow to find the cabin. We woke one woman to ask directions. We finally found it and stretched out on sofas for a well-earned sleep.

The next morning I went back to the road and caught the bus up to the lodge and the ski area. I rented Head skis; the girl at the ski shop was from Schenectady, New York originally, now living in a little town which was like a rain forest, toward the ocean from Mt. Hood. The snow was terrible, being wet and heavy; besides, only the lower lift was running because of fog causing a dangerous lack of visibility on the upper slopes.

I spent the evening and night in the lodge; a remarkable place, built as a WPA project. It has carved woodwork all over, and great wooden beams in the dining room and central hallway. After dinner in a charming atmosphere, watching the snow fall outside, I took great pleasure in my total sense of freedom.

The next day I skied some more in still bad conditions. My Reed College friend had come up the day before for a while, and I met a German fellow who had lived on the San Francisco Peninsula and liked it better in Portland – not so crowded, and skiing was closer. I returned to Portland that afternoon, stayed overnight at a YMCA, and the next day visited relatives in the city. Mt. Hood was visible from my relatives’ house, and the weather there had turned sunny, too late for me. I boarded the overnight bus for San Francisco, and woke up the next morning as it entered that city.

I never went to Mt. Hood again, winter or summer, but during my time in California did manage to go to a few major ski areas throughout the West.

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