If you’re itching to strap on some cross-country skis and hit the snowy Oregon slopes, make sure Mt. Hood’s Teacup Lake is on your list. Located only an hour’s drive from Portland, Teacup Lake is a volunteer-maintained snow park with over 20 km (12 miles) of groomed trails.
It’s known as a premier location for cross-country and Nordic skiing, and attracts thousands of visitors every year. Teacup trails are groomed four times a week (usually Monday, Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday), and are wide enough for two sets of tracks and a skating lane in the center.
The tracks are friendly to both skating and touring skis, but terrain varies, from flat to challenging turns. In addition, Teacup Lake has a day-use cabin - the Ray Garey Cabin - which can be used for warming up, stowing extra gear or having lunch out of the weather. You’ll find tables for eating, a wood stove, and gear-stowing areas inside. There are also two sheltered restrooms close to the cabin.
While skiing lessons are not officially offered, they are available via volunteer instructors from time-to-time. Teacup also offers a series of youth, junior and training programs, teaching everything from ski maintenance to classic skiing techniques. Remarkably, the area is run entirely by volunteer labor and donations.
The Teacup Lake Nordic Club handles all the administration and day-to-day maintenance of the area, including the weekly $2,000 fee for trail grooming. Note that dogs and snowshoes are not allowed on groomed trails.
An Oregon, California or Idaho SnoPark permit is required to park in the 200-space parking lot. Admittance is free, but there is a suggested minimum daily use donation: $10 for skiers 13 years and older; $5 for ages 6 – 12; Free to children under 6.
Directions from the Teacup Lake website:
- From Portland, travel east on U.S. Hwy 26, to junction with OR Hwy 35, then north towards Hood River.
- Continue past the Mt. Hood Meadows ski area junction, watch for the Teacup Sno-Park just after the Hood River Meadows junction.
For more details, visit the official website: http://www.teacupnordic.org