Yes you read that correctly! Ski turns in August, with a lift, in the northern hemisphere! Though I have more than a couple of friends still skiing in Colorado, hiking and earning their turns, I couldn't resist the opportunity to take the lift!
Mount Hood is the only place in North America that is opened year round (well almost). Depending on the snowfall they will only close for a few weeks before the next season begins. Timberline Resort at Mt. Hood is well known for there off season training camps for Olympic athletes and the like, but is now fully open to the public. After purchasing a ticket I unpacked the ski gear I had been hauling around. I thought there could be an opportunity to ski at some point, so everything came with.
Heading up the first chair
The day before I had been riding the bike park just a few miles down the road at Mt. Hood Ski Bowl. Now I traded out the bike for skis. There was no snow at the bottom lift so you had to carry all your gear for the ride up. Once you hit the second chair and the snowline you could boot up and ski to the lift.
Yes, I admit, I took a selfie....but with due cause..
The snow was some serious spring mashed potatoes but skied great! It took a few runs to get my ski legs back . The weather was perfect (of course) a sunny 65 degrees or so, just a t shirt and a hat for the day. As the skiers and snowboarders where taking laps, the "scenic" chair lift riders and day hikers watched with wonderment. Many taking pictures and pointing at the spectacle of summer turns!
Getting back on the skis got me thinking about the winter season coming, where the snow will fall, and where I will land.
With nearly 4500 miles and counting put on The Betty II I have reached the west coast. The first stop was to check out downtown Seattle! This proved to be the ultimate test in maneuvering her in city traffic and true "urban" camping.
Luckily I had a copilot for this endeavor. I had met Erica in Durango earlier in the trip and she had hopped a flight to join me on the Northwest leg of the trip. It sure was helpful to have a spotter! We had planned to get a hotel while checking out downtown Seattle but we decided to just pay for parking and "camp". It was much much cheaper than the upscale hotels in the area and certainly added to the adventure. We spent about 24 hours in the lot which added up to about 40 bucks in parking.
The time in Seattle was well spent, checking out the market, restaurants, and a little of the night life in the area. While we were out exploring I squeezed the bikes into the camper for safer keeping but it made the camper a little cozy.
Checking out The Market
6 point park job, with just enough room to squeeze out between the brick building
During our one night out in Seattle and a failed attempt to get into one of the local night clubs(no Chocos allowed!!) we decided to head home, aka, the pay lot down the street. It was a interesting night staying on the main night life drag. The shenanigans went late into the night, which kept me peeking through the blinds watching over the homestead. At one point a late night patron decided to jump on the bike rack rocking it up and down. By the time I hopped out to investigate, the perpetrator had moved on. All in all, The Betty survived the night, just a little short on sleep. It was time to get out of the big city!
"Betty at the Beach"
Next, it was North to Bellingham, WA. Known for some of the best riding in the Pacific Northwest. We spent a couple days exploring and riding in the area. It was cool to be in an area where the bike community is so strong. At the Galbraith trail head it was nearly impossible to find a parking spot! But with a huge network of trails you rarely saw another rider.
Stopped at one of the many coffee huts along the coast; not sure who's bigger.
For the trip back down to Seattle we decided to take a ferry to the Olympic Peninsula. We pointed The Betty south to Fidalgo Island, catching the Port Townsend-Coupeville Ferry. We lined up to wait for the ferry that departed every half hour. We were well outnumbered by Westfalia vans, also on various journeys' of their own. Our neighbor in line had a beautifully restored "Westi", out on her maiden voyage. It was a couple hour wait to load but we finally made it on(I guess reservations are recommended). Once across we took our time heading down the peninsula, stopping at the small towns and beaches before making our way back to Seattle. I put together a short video edit with a compilation of the ferry and coastal driving. Check it out at the end of the article.
"Eat, Sleep, VW"
Surprise Glacial Lake, two hours west of Seattle, just before the downpour
"Amongst the Giants"
"Over the Hood"
Below is the video edit from the PNW leg of the journey. I have been filming and photographing from the hood as I make my away around the US. Using a GoPro with the Bluetooth control app to link my phone. This set up allows me to film, shoot photos, and turn the camera on and off without leaving the cab. I have dubbed it "Over the Hood" Productions. It gives a "from the captains chair" perspective of the trip. So here is the first edit, with more on the way!
The term "Big" does not convey the type of riding you'll encounter at Big Sky Bike Park. The terrain in steep, loose, and unforgiving. For the majority of us gravity hungry riders, this is exactly what we're looking for. Within the first couple runs I burned up a pair of brake pads and the early season symptoms of hand pump had returned.
With fast laps that seem to bring you straight down the mountain you easily beat your chair down the hill(much to the amusement of the "scenic" chair lift patrons). It wasn't until my third day of riding that I actually felt completely dialed on the terrain. With moon dust on every corner and loose rocks the size of your fist biting at your tires, being on point was key.
This type of riding is how downhill was born. With steep technical descents and plenty of wooden features that bring these trails to another level. As of yet, Big Sky is the gnarliest, burliest bike park I have ridden. If you like tire dragging, white knuckle descents with serious freeride features, this is the place to go.
I put together a quick edit with some local rippers, check it out below!
With current work being performed by Terraflow Trail Systems, upgrades are well under way. There latest creation is a flow trail called Otter Slide. Perfect line if you need a brake from the big mountain riding. The freshly cut trail was just finishing up when I was here and is riding great. There are also more trails and current trail improvements planned which will only add to the appeal of this place. I put together a top to bottom GoPro video below.
If you want to see more reviews for this park or any of the 100+ bike parks in North America check out mtbparks.com!!
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The Story Behind the Story
After a year living in my camper named "The Betty", I've decided to take those adventures and make it a lifestyle. From the first day of the journey to the launch of my business I've kept a journal here at "Miles in the Mirror".
If you want to go back to the beginning, click the link below and it'll bring you to day one.