The family-owned past and enormous future of America’s tallest ski area
Great podcast as usual! I absolutely love Timberline, and while I'm usually the guy that would rather drive 30 minutes away and stay at a far cheaper Super 8 or Best Western than pay top dollar for a ski resort hotel, Timberline Lodge is the one major exception to that rule, I will HAPPILY stay at that lodge any time!
I grew up skiing primarily at Timberline and Mt. Hood Meadows, though skiing first "clicked" for me at Summit. I haven't been to Summit since I was six years old, but now that it is truly integrated into Timberline and thus a part of the Powder Alliance, with free regular shuttles back up to Timberline until the Gondola is built, it'll be great to stop by and check out Summit again for the first time since like 2006, next time I have a season pass that puts me on the Powder Alliance. It's also great that the snowcat ride up Palmer in the winter is now accessible to anyone with a lift ticket or season pass! In the past, they charged money for each Palmer snowcat ride if I remember correctly.
It's been on my ambition list to ski from the top of Palmer down to Summit, and while I never managed to accomplish that while I lived in Oregon, it seems like much more of a possibility now with Timberline committing to open and groomed runs down to Summit, free shuttles, and increased frequency of Palmer Snowcat operations at no cost to the guest.
Stuart, you mentioned going to Timberline to summer ski in the past, have you ever skied there in the winter, and have you ever stayed overnight at Timberline Lodge? Enjoying their heated swim pool and hot tub in the middle of a winter storm is one of my favorite experiences at the lodge.
I enjoyed this story and wish I had known the original owner was a social worker committed to providing summer camps to at-risk kids when I was there 15 years ago! It seems sad that a summer ski camp at Timberline costs thousands of dollars and is geared towards the wealthy globetrotters from everywhere but Portland. There seems like an opportunity for Timberline to roll out a nonprofit that runs a ski camp for kids who normally wouldn't have access to the mountains or to the sport (or, maybe they already do but you just didn't discuss it...hopefully?) What a story they would have!
Would love to see a podcast with the Drake family from neighboring resort Mt. Hood Meadows.