This is a nice little mountain when you are getting into the sport. They have a fun atttitude. Pretty gnarly if it is anywhere like the normal weather in the Cascades though. The trees all got burned down decades ago, then again in a forest fire a couple summers ago. You would think if they had planted new trees like 50 years ago after the first fire there would be a few up there to block the wind and provide contrast in white-out conditions. But, on a nice spring day it can be fun. Just watch it if it is windy or stormy. A young kid went off a trail up there a few years ago. Not even in the woods and they lost him. Really sad. Just use the buddy system if the visibility drops.
The lodge is humongous. What in the world do they have such a huge lodge for? Kind of seems like overkill. But there is lots of room. The bar is tiny though, and on the wrong side of the lodge. What is UP with that. You get to look out at the parking lot. Like every ski area the drinks are expensive and the bartender seems inexperienced. I didn't see any waitresses. The decorations in the lodge are kind of Random. But they have some good nostalgia displays. Those are nice.
I skied there a lot as a kids before we started going to Bachelor in high school. Given the choice now I would ski Willamette just due to terrain and weather factors. For about the same price you get way more terrain and better lift access at the Pass. Around here that is really all that matters. It's not like we are going for the Colorado resort experience.
I did like the fact that they have showers in the lodge for anyone. Including the granola crunching dude I saw in there this summer when I stopped in after a hike. I wonder if they let people shower in there during the winter? Could be kind of strange. But, hey...it's Oregon.
There really isn't any lodging nearby.. Unless you count Black Butte Resort that's about 20 minutes away. You can snow camp. And like I said they have showers in the lodge.
Lots of people hang out in their RV's on Friday and Saturday nights. I guess that counts as nightlife. Do they do that in France? Apres RV's?
Most of all the place has an attitude of fun. Gotta give them that! Nice folks. Say hello to the owner, he will be in the parking lot wearing a Hawaiian shirt. Read his blog...it can be hilarious! Totally shooting from the hip, but hey, it's his show.