In my house, scary movies are a rare occurrence. Something about having watched cult-classic The Shining as an almost-seven year-old at my sister’s ninth birthday party scarred me forever. So, when we pulled our suitcases down the long wood-paneled hallway of the Timberline Lodge – the actual hotel that’s featured in the exterior shots of the Overlook Hotel in The Shining – and Barrett turned and whispered in his creepiest British accent, “Come and play with us, Danny. Come and play with us,” I just about turned around and walked right out.
Thankfully, the twins never made a real appearance. And our weekend was full of fresh powder, piping hot drinks topped with fluffy whip, and tacos eaten around outdoor fire pits with the softest snow dust falling overhead. Here’s a little peek at the winter white dream that was our weekend at the historic Timberline Lodge.
9am // We pull into a parking lot that’s covered in snow. We don’t worry about checking in because the sun is shining and Barrett is actually fidgeting in angst to put board to powder. We pull on our boots – him cushy snowboard boots, me the 10-pound ice blocks that are ski boots – and hit the slopes.
11am // I once read that you burn a thousand calories per hour of skiing. I’m fairly certain that only applies to Olympic athletes, which needless to say I am not, but I carry it around in my head for those times when I need a break. Or when garlicky truffle fries topped with pastrami are calling my name. The newly renovated Wy’East Café isn’t necessarily a luxurious place to dine, but it’s fast, affordable, and offers a variety of options from fries to burgers to tempeh brown rice bowls.
12pm // We’re back at it. Snow starts falling and, with our ski legs now officially warmed up, we resolve to work our way alongside the mountain to get in a solid few hours of skiing before the next snack break – me wobbling down the mountain thanks to the fifteen pounds of camera gear strapped to my back, Barrett searching for all the things on the trail to jump, ride, or otherwise injure himself on. Show off.
1:30pm // Just a few weeks ago, Phlox Point Cabin – an historic on-mountain cabin that’s been renovated into a restaurant – quietly opened. With few signs and an absence on the trail map, most visitors aren’t even aware it exists. (Yet.) At the advice of a ski area host, we headed down one trail, hung right past the lift, then left at the split and left again, and in the middle of it, there was the sweetest little amber-colored cabin with smoke spewing from the chimney and several gray Adirondack chairs surrounding a custom-made fire barrel. We kick off our skies, order a few tacos and a couple of beers and sit outside to soak it all in.
3:30pm // By late afternoon, the sun begins to set and the lifts begin shutting down for the night. Hot-drink fueled après ski is a right, not a privilege, when you’ve spent the day skiing (remember, the thousand-calorie lie) so I order a Moroccan Coffee from the Y Bar in the Day Lodge—in other words, hot coffee topped with a hefty dose of 151, coffee liqueur, and Irish Cream. Thankfully, I don’t have to put skies back on my feet or else things could have gotten, well, wobbly. We check into our room, Barrett terrifies me with the chilling aforementioned twins quote from The Shining, and, once I calm down, we get ready for drinks and dinner.
6pm // A three-story stone fireplace shoots up through the middle of the common spaces in Timberline, visible from 360-degrees and showering warmth on every floor. Just as the sun was setting, we settled into a sweet spot at the Ram’s Head Bar, sandwiched in between floor to ceiling windows and the massive fireplace. With a few glasses of bubbly in hand, the soft sounds of live music in the background, and the most remarkable blue-hued picture of snow-capped Mount Hood fading into the night behind us, it was the perfect way to say farewell to our first day on the mountain.
8pm // Perhaps the most renowned dining space at Timberline is the Cascade Dining Room, run by Chef Jason Stoller Smith and known for, as the name implies, its artful celebration of Cascadian bounty. Jacobsen salts and wild Pacific Coho Salmon; Oregon hazelnuts and lodge-butchered anti-biotic and hormone-free beef, brought straight up from Mt. Shadow Ranch in neighboring Dufur, are just a few of the highlights. A couple of glasses of Oregon pinot noir, a plate of thin-sliced prosciutto with arugula and apricots, and a bowl full of truffled pappardelle with duck confit, and it was finally time for lights out.
8:30am // Have I mentioned yet that my husband gets adorably anxious to hit the slopes early when we ski? As in this is how I awoke the next morning: “It’s past 8am and you don’t have your ski pants on! What are you doing?” I’m sleeping, that’s what. Lucky for him, he shoved a cup of coffee under my nose too. Saved his life that day. We decided to split for the morning, him heading to the mountain while I made my way downstairs for the famed Timberline brunch. Indecisive as I am, I ordered a few different items to sample: The Timber Toast – thick-sliced bread dipped in pancake batter, rolled in cornflakes, and served with hazelnut butter, along with the Eggs Benedict. You don’t worry about overdoing it on richness when you’re planning to ski for the next seven hours (thousand-calorie rule/lie in full effect here.)
1:30pm // We ski for several uninterrupted hours. The snow has started to fall in the tiniest dippin-dot-like flakes that accumulate in the creases of my jacket and behind my neck. Half and hour later and it’s falling so hard we can barely see fifty feet in front of us. With the moving in of the afternoon snow, the mountain empties and we’re hard-pressed to find another skier on almost every run. We see them down below like grayed out ants as we hover overhead on lifts but, for the most part, it’s quiet. Like skiing on our own private mountain. After several hours, we break for tacos. Naturally. And, happily, we have Phlox Point Cabin all to ourselves. There’s a kind of magic in the air and I’m not sure if it’s the chorizo or the beer or the simple sweetness of sitting in the woods with my partner by my side while snow swirls around us. All I know is that if heaven exists, this is what it looks like. Tacos included.
4pm // At this point, the lift operators are shutting things down, hollering at us as we swoop past them, “We’re closing up in a few minutes here, get your last runs in now.” We don’t ever want to leave. A few more runs, done as quickly as we can possibly move our sliding feet down the mountain, and we head in to peel off our gear and rest in the hot tub for a snow-covered soak, both of us still a little dreamy-eyed from the day of skiing in fresh powder in near-solitude.
7pm // Skiing will take it out of you. And after two days of it, we’re exhausted. We head to Ram’s Head Bar for a simple plate of cheese, a bowl of chili – skiing is nothing without at least one bowl of chili – and a couple of Mount Hood Brewing Blondes followed by two rounds of shuffleboard in the game and movie room. I don’t even want to talk about how bad I am at this game, by the way. Almost as bad as I was at beer pong in college. We decide to pack it in for the night, knowing we have to get an early (4am) start the next day, and head back to our room for some shut eye – creepy Shining twins, thankfully, not included.
Many thanks to Timberline Lodge for hosting us for an incredible weekend of snow and sustenance. All thoughts and opinions are my own and I can honestly say that though this was my first-ever time staying at Timberline, it will most definitely not be my last.
Also thanks to my husband, Barrett, for accommodating my one and only (early) birthday request for a real life snow beard. Best birthday present ever!