The way to go for someone who is not interested in Meadows is the Fusion Pass that gives you unlimited access to both Timberline and Skibowl. You get the great vibe of Timberline, long gentle well groomed cruisers, nice glades and the best parks on the mountain. At Skibowl, you get great free ride terrain that ranges from easy to highly technical. It`s terrain is every bit as gnarly as Meadows, just not as much of it in square acres. Then of course there is the aspect of the largest night skiing area in North America. Skibowl on a deep powder night is epic. The real downside to Skibowl is it`s elevation. It gets less snow that either Timberline or Meadows and often it is pouring down rain while both Meadows and Timberline are getting fresh snow.
While not as expansive as Meadows, the upper bowls at Skibowl are longer than Meadows` Bowls but not quite as steep. What is nice about the upper bowls at Skibowl is they all funnel you right down to the lift and warming hut. Lap the bowls for an hour, ride up to the warming hut and grab a beer by the fire, then go back for more. Skibowl on a powder night is really unbeatable. During the day, the Outback is a free ride utopia if you like a combination of open bowls, chutes, cliffs and trees. Depending on how far north you want to go, you will have to hike a bit to get to the final drop, but the views on a clear day make it more than worth it. You can see Hood, Jefferson, St. Helen's, Adams and Rainier from the top of Tom Dick and Harry mountain. There is a terrific series of chutes out there ranging from easy to highly technical
I wish that the three ski areas could all sit down and agree to offer a true Mt. Hood Fusion Pass that gives full access to all three resorts similar to the Epic Pass in Colorado that gives you access to all Summit County resorts. For years, there has been talk about a tram from government camp to timberline to replace that old Skiway Tram:
This old newsreel video of this thing is awesome:
In addition, there has been talk about a tram linking Timberline lodge to Vista Ridge at Meadows. This would make Mt. Hood a truly epic destination resort area and even though it would attract more visitors overall, I think it would reduce the shit show that Meadows becomes on peak days by giving people the option to spread out without having to buy a lift ticket at one resort when they have a pass at another.
I don`t know where the obstructionism to these concepts is coming from. I have heard rumors that it is the shareholders of Meadows that will not go in on a three way pass and I have heard rumors that it is RLK Corporation that does not want to include Meadows. As for the tram and overall development of Government camp, I have heard there is a lot of resistance from the local people who don`t want it to turn into a major shit show like Whistler and then there is the whole USFS issue since White River Canyon is technically withing the Mt. Hood Wilderness Area and a tram violates the wilderness ethos. Weather would also have to be a huge factor. I can see how maintaining a tram in safe operating order over that canyon and on Vista Ridge would be next to impossible with the fierce PNW storm we get on Hood.
Still, we need to get a three way Fusion Pass approved by all resorts somehow!