I haven’t always loved Oregon the way I do now. As a kid, I yearned to travel to new and far more interesting places. Oregon was where I was confined. Although I had an almost inborn sense of state pride — Oregon is way better than Washington to the north with its lame beaches and California to the south with bad drivers who come to our state and drive up real estate prices — this isn’t the place where I intended to settle.
Until I did.
One thing I’ve always loved about Oregon, though, is Mount Hood. Growing up, our living room picture window opened to a view of the mountain, just 50 miles away. Many mornings the view was breathtaking — a shadowy silhouette against an orange and purple sky awaiting the rising sun. I used to think that all I had to do was bush-whack a path through the overgrown blackberry fields and I’d be able to walk all the way to Mount Hood. Then one day a developer bought the property across from the house, and cut down all the foliage and the trees that framed my picture-perfect view. I cried that day.
While I always found it pretty, I was an adult before I began to appreciate Mount Hood for the fun it offers — snow sports within an hour of the city. In fact, Mount Hood is the only place in North America with a ski resort that stays open year-round. Welcome, Olympians!
I do not ski year-round. I do not ski at all, to be honest. I chose to learn snowboarding. And I only go when the snow is fresh and groomed and not at all icy. My sporty husband was the one who introduced me to the fun of Mount Hood, and for the second time we celebrated our anniversary with a day of snowboarding on the mountain.
After a three-year hiatus (a year of inadequate snowfall, followed by a pregnancy and then another weak snow year), I was quite nervous about returning to the board. But we had pre-purchased lift tickets, I already own all the gear, and I definitely needed the workout. So Saturday morning we dropped off the baby at Grandma’s house en route to the mountain, and were on the slopes by 10am. While my muscles were tense and tight at first, they hadn’t forgotten the technique. And, actually, I was surprised by how infrequently I fell. I think the three-year break might have actually enhanced my abilities!
Still, I’ll never be the athlete that my husband is.
But that’s okay. Extreme sports fanatic or not, Mount Hood is there for all to enjoy — whether close up or from a distance. And it’s a big piece of what now makes Oregon my favorite of the 50 states.