Timberline Lodge, OR to Connect to Summit Ski Area with New Mt. Hood Gondola?

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Timberline Lodge on 04/23/18. Image: Timberline Facebook Page

Getting up to Timberline Lodge could soon be a lot easier, as the company that operates Timberline Lodge and the adjacent ski slopes recently purchased nearby Summit Ski Area, the single-chairlift operation that sits just off U.S. 26 in Government Camp. The move will result in improvements to Summit’s modest lodge and includes the Snow Bunny play area and parking lot east of Government Camp, reports Oregon Live.

But more exciting, perhaps, is the prospect of an aerial connection between Summit and Timberline, whose lodge sits at 6,000 feet on Mount Hood. One idea is to connect the two by ski lift or gondola.

gondola, timberline lodge
The original Mt. Hood gondola. Essentially a bus. Credit: Oregon Live

It would not be the first time Timberline and Government camp were connected aerially. Some may recall the Mount Hood Ski-way back in the 1950s. It was basically a bus rigged into a gondola-of-sorts. The Ski-way lasted only a few years due to a variety of problems.

John Burton, a Timberline spokesman, said Timberline is looking into adding a chairlift or gondola that spans the two properties. Two obvious destinations that come to mind are the bottom of Timberline’s Jeff Flood Express chairlift, which is currently the resort’s lowest-reaching lift, or Timberline Lodge itself.

“If it made it easier to get here as opposed to driving up I’m good with that for sure,” said Jarod Baker, who lives in Portland but was up visiting Timberline Lodge.

Of course, the prospect of a Government Camp-Timberline connection is far from certain. Putting in a new chairlift is a five- to 10-year project, and the first step would be an environmental impact study which takes a minimum of two-and-a-half to three years.

summit ski area, Oregon, timberline lodge, timberline
Summit Ski Area, OR. Credit: Wikipedia

In the short term though, Timberline plans to tweak Summit’s name, roll out a new website and make minor upgrades to its lodge. There’s also talk of expanding shuttle offerings and the Mt. Hood Express, a bus service operated by Clackamas County that stops at Timberline.

Summit bills itself as the second-oldest continuously operating ski area in the country, and its website lists an adult, all-day lift ticket at $35. Timberline plans to keep the ski area affordable.

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