Photo: Flickr user wka

Growing up in the Northwest, November usually meant two things: the beginning of the over indulgent holiday season AND a brand new ski season. While it is true that at Timberline Lodge they actually have a run open year round, if you are a skier or boarder who gets quickly bored with the same run, or hates wet slushy snow, then opening day of the WINTER season is better than Christmas.

Oregon offers numerous opportunities for winter sports enthusiasts to get their fix, but I was always on the lookout for two things. Was Meadows open yet? And could you get to the summit of Bachelor? I am referring of course to Mt. Hood Meadows and Mt. Bachelor, the two premier ski resorts in the state. The opening of Meadows before the first of December meant that my Thanksgiving was going to be filled with freshly groomed slopes, chairlifts and hot chocolate instead of dry turkey and the germ festival that we called a family gathering.

The opening of Mt. Bachelor meant that I could likely find myself doing what I love on another holiday later in the season. You see, I had the misfortune of being born the day after Christmas. This is something that to this day my mother apologizes to me for, and I generally let her continue apologizing because usually her guilty conscience allowed me to spend the 26th (and sometimes the 25th and 27th) on the slopes instead of at my aunts house.

For families out there who are looking for alternative holiday activities, I would highly recommend that you give snow sports a shot. Getting out in the fresh air, exercising without even thinking about it, and building memories that will go beyond any present or meal one could receive will be worth it. Not to mention that the usual long lines and crowds that Oregon’s most popular resorts are known for are darn near nonexistent on the 4th Thursday in November.

Mt. Hood Meadows and Mt. Bachelor are only two of many resorts in our great state that offer family friendly affordable entertainment. In the Portland area your other options are Timberline, Ski Bowl and Cooper Spur. In Bend, if you don’t want to brave the crowds at Bachelor, head West past Sisters and go up to Hoo Doo, a great small resort perfect for beginners who don’t want to blow the bank on a $60 lift ticket.

I hope this article has encouraged you to start a new tradition with your family this year. Remember, the holidays don’t always have to be the same, but they should always be memorable. So whats it going to be? Turkey with the in-laws, or the mountain with the family? Snowball fight, anyone?

Home Sports November in Oregon: Skiing, Snowboarding and Turkey