Written by: Taylor Bunn | Edited by: Dara Barney
Imagine carving down a perfectly groomed slope just after dark and something catches your eye from the tree line. Something green and fuzzy. Something with horns coming out of its head. Just quick enough for your heart to sink into your stomach, you catch an edge and take a tumble.
After you dust the snow off, you look back at the tree line but the shadow is gone. There is nothing there. It’s time to finish up the run and grab a cold one to settle your nerves. While you’re in the lodge, you find yourself telling this foolish story until someone interjects with gut-grabbing laughter. Then, someone, or something, taps you on your shoulder… and just like that, you are meeting the mascot of Hoodoo Ski Resort, Harold the Hodag.
Are you asking yourself what the heck a Hodag is? It stems from Wisconsin folklore that describes Hodags as “fearsome critters” with frog-like heads, dinosaur-shaped bodies and a long tail with spears on the end of it. About one hundred years after the story began, another Hodag was discovered in the snowy mountains of Oregon. He was discovered by Chuck Shepard of Eugene, OR. Their friendship began to grow, and they each discovered that they had both come from Wisconsin long ago but shared a mutual love for the deep snow of Hoodoo Mountain.
A chance to spot the fuzzy, green creature lurking one of the trails isn’t the only reason you should visit the Hoodoo Ski Resort. This mountain is the most centrally located destination for Oregonians (and OR lovers) to ski. With more than 800 acres of terrain, five lifts, 34 runs, and a very large tubing park, you cannot possibly go wrong with a trip to Hoodoo. Plus, there’s a lodge with ice-cold beers and a damn good chili recipe.
Let’s talk terrain
With more than 800 acres to explore, you will have plenty of runs to test your limits. There are about six beginner trails and more than one dozen intermediate and expert level runs. So, no matter what level you find yourself at this ski season, Hoodoo has options for everyone’s comfort level. If you’re unsure where to begin, you can set up a lesson with an expert to determine your skill level, discuss the different levels of terrain on the mountain, and choose lesson rates that work for your speed.
So, what makes this ski resort one of the best in the west? What really sets it apart is the night skiing. Uncommonly found for anyone riding an Oregon mountain, night skiing is where all the fun begins. Shredding under the stars is about as close to being one with nature as you can get. It’s also not just one or two runs open for the night, it’s 23 different runs that cover about 500 acres of terrain. You can enjoy these runs safely under permanent lighting with custom-built filters and diodes, which provide optimal conditions on the mountain.
Other ways to explore
After skiing all day and all night, you might find yourself looking for something different to do the next day. Hit a freshly-groomed Nordic ski trail, as all levels are welcome. Whether you’re looking for a challenging route that pays off with incredible views, or if you’re just looking for a good time on rolling trails, Hoodoo Ski Resort is the destination for you. Just a heads up, the physical challenges of the terrain will have you peeling layers off one by one, so be sure to dress accordingly.
If you’re trying to plan a special weekend that can offer a little more than the trails on the mountain, check out the annual events hosted at the Hoodoo Resort. From a New Year’s Eve party to the Viking Festival, you’ll find events almost all year-round with special lift hours, new menus, and live music. Of course, one of the most special days that is celebrated every year is Harold the Hodag’s birthday bash!
Lastly, if the Hodag has caught your attention enough to check out Hoodoo Ski Resort, you’ve probably noticed there is an Autobahn Tubing Park. Amply named, this thing is a must-hit on your list of things to do while staying at Hoodoo Resort. After a long day of exploring the mountain, your legs will appreciate a much-needed break and welcome a seat on the tube. Not only will you fly down the run, but you’ll be smiling like a 6-year-old the entire time.
Where to stay
If you decide to start planning a trip to Hoodoo Resort, there are plenty of accommodations available nearby. A popular one to start with is Black Butte Ranch, which is about 20 minutes away. If you’re looking for a place to relax and maybe grab a massage after hitting the lifts all day, you won’t regret staying here.
An additional few minutes of travel could bring you to a nice room at the Five Pine Lodge in Sisters, OR. You can lounge in a cozy cabin, shared with a group of friends. It is truly an incredible getaway for the weekend.
If you’re keeping it more low-key, a beautiful spot to RV camp is at Camp Sherman, just outside of Sisters. You’ll find yourself close to the Metolius River, and tall, beautiful pine trees.
Book it and go
A trip to Hoodoo Ski Resort will be like no other. You’re surrounded entirely by Oregon terrain and smack dab in the middle of it is this beautiful mountain with more than 800 acres of land to conquer. Once your legs are tired, you can relax at the lodge for dinner and a beer or head back to your cabin and cozy up by a fire. However, let’s not forget the reason that Hoodoo caught your attention in the first place — good ol’ Harold. While you’re taking a turn through fresh powder, you might catch a glimpse of this wild, green creature gobbling up some forgotten gloves in the trees. He also might just sneak up behind you looking to snack on your goggles if you find yourself a few too many beers in. Unlike his ancestors whose diet consisted of Bulldogs, this Hodag is very friendly.
Grab your Indy Pass here!