February 21, 2014 / Comments (0)

Ski the Glade day offers us the opportunity to connect with a rich Mount Hood tradition

Once a year, on the first Saturday in March, we can experience skiing the way it was done before there were ski lifts on Mt. Hood.

In the old days, people would simply climb up from Government Camp and ski back down.  Even after Timberline Lodge was built, people would still take the bus up to the Lodge and ski back down to Govy.  Over time, several distinct trails were established, including the Glade, Alpine, Blossom, and Cascade trails.

The map below, an old Forest Service Map from 1941, shows the trails used for skiing between Timberline and Government Camp.  Notice that the original Glade and Blossom trails started from Timberline Cabin, which was located west of Timberline Lodge, at the edge of Sand canyon. All that remains of the old cabin is some remnants of its foundation, and a sign points to it when you hike the Timberline trail. This map is on display at the Mt. Hood Museum:

This year, on March 1st, we can ski from Timberline to Government Camp without the need to hike up, thanks to the Mt. Hood Cultural Center and Museum in Government Camp, which holds this annual event by special permit from the US Forest Service. The historic Glade Ski Trail is opened and groomed for this participatory living history event. This once popular downhill ski trail starts at Timberline Lodge and ends in the heart of Government Camp, a distance of three miles.

The Glade Trail was built by the US Forest Service in 1937 as part of the Timberline Lodge ski complex. The trail roughly follows the route of the original Blossom Trail, dating to 1888 or earlier. Before the advent of ski lifts, skiing consisted of either jumping or trail skiing. Trail skiers climbed on skis equipped with climbing skins, to the Timberline Lodge area and skied back to Government Camp.

According to Lloyd Musser, Museum Curator, “This event helps fulfill our mission of preserving and interpreting the history of Mt. Hood. This is a chance for Grandparents to ski with their grandchildren and share the memories of skiing the Glade Trail, when it was the biggest ski adventure on Mt. Hood.”

The Guest of Honor at this year’s event will be John Wilberding. John is also this year’s King Winter. Skiyente Ski Club selects a King Winter every year as a way of honoring an individual who has made significant contributions to Mount Hood Skiing or snow sports. The coronation took place at Charlie’s Mountain View Restaurant on February 8th.

Ski the Glade day participants are treated to a red carpet day of skiing. Skiers are shuttled to Timberline in comfortable airport shuttle vans, escorted by local guides and senior members of the Mt. Hood Ski Patrol, and served a hearty lunch.

Shuttles will run from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM allowing ticket holders to make several trail runs. The events of the day are recounted at the Apres ski party, where prizes are awarded. Wearing vintage ski clothing is encouraged.

As an added (unofficial) benefit, after skiing the Glade Trail a couple of times, those in search of  more adventure might try skiing some of the un-groomed terrain adjacent to the Glade trail, or venture even further to try the Alpine trail and portions of the Blossom trail, which winds its way through the trees, crosses the Glade trail several times, and eventually ends up merging with the Glade trail at the very end.  The Blossom trail was considered an advanced route, and to some extent it still is, because of the trees and un-groomed snow, but it is not very steep.

All these trails are marked with letters attached to the trees along the way:  A for Alpine, G for Glade, and B for Blossom.  Unfortunately, these signs might be hard to find.  There used to be many of them, but over the years, many have fallen and disappeared.  Alpine and Glade trail signs are large and painted orange-red.  The Blossom trail signs are small blue rectangles.

Participation in Ski the Glade day is limited to 75 skiers. Event tickets are $100.00 per person, a portion of which is deductible as a donation to the MHCC&M, a non-profit organization. Members of Mt. Hood Cultural Center & Museum receive 10% discount.  Included in the event are breakfast, lunch, and an apres ski party.

Tickets may be purchased at the museum, or by calling 503-272-3301. Visa is accepted. 

The event is possible through the support of Timberline Lodge, Luxury Accommodations, Valians Ski Shop and Mt. Hood Ski Patrol.

Background information on Mt. Hood trail skiing is available in an article entitled Trail skiing on Mt. Hood – A Long Standing Tradition.

For more info see the Mt. Hood Museum’s website. The event director is: Lloyd Musser, 503-367-3946.

Emilio Trampuz is the newsletter editor and trip leader for Mountain High Snowsport Club.

Last modified: February 21, 2014

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