The winter of 2016-17 is sure to go down in the record books as one of the most epic seasons in memory. As of this writing, Mt. Hood Skibowl is reporting as many as 77 inches of snow, while higher up on Mt. Hood, Timberline Lodge and Ski Area is boasting a healthy 130 inch base at the lodge. More is likely through the week, meaning the coming months will have plenty of time to take some turns. But what should you do once it’s time to come down from the slopes for some après ski? Take a short jog down the mountain a bit to find the Villages of Mt. Hood.
The Villages of Mt. Hood is comprised of the communities of Alder Creek, Brightwood, Rhododendron, Welches, Wemme and Zigzag. Each has it’s own options that are as charming as they are authentic. If you’re looking for something that is unique and allows you to “live like the locals” then this is where you want to explore.
Wraptitude in Welches is perfect for those looking for something beyond the standard burger. They offer a tremendous selection of wraps, from the traditional to the inventive. The Wemme Cheese Steak is dynamite and a go-to for me, while the Caprese gets rave reviews from friends as well.
Nearby is another local favorite (and long-time choice for experienced mountain-goers) the Rendezvous Grill & Tap Room. Fondly called “The Vous” by regulars, Rendezvous has become a tradition for so many skiers. Their slogan of “serious food in a not so serious place” is spot on, as they have a killer menu and a laid-back atmosphere that is perfect for those looking to relax after a long day on the slopes.
For your daily coffee fix, check out Mt. Hood Roasters in Rhododendron. They have a dozen varieties to choose from, which combined with their dedication to high-quality beans and small-batch roasting techniques explains why they’re the only coffee company in the northwest published on the National Geographic Society Map Guide of places to visit.
Because pizza is as much a verb to me as it is a delicious, wonderful meal, I make it a habit to take note of local pizza joints. Al Forno Ferruzza in Rhododendron brings out the artistry in authentic, sicilian-style wood fired pizza. The margarita is divine, the puttanesca is outstanding and the contadino is a delicious choice for vegetarian pizza lovers. They even offer delivery, so if you’re in one of the areas beautiful vacation rentals or cabins, you can have one of the mountain’s most amazing pies brought right to you.
Head a little further down the road and you’ll find yourself in Zigzag, home to the Skyway Bar and Grill. This place is seriously some of the most amazing BBQ you will ever enjoy. And their “mac-n-cheese” is what enthusiasts of this particular dish dream about at night. What really makes this place popular, however, is their live music almost every weekend. They bring in some serious talent from around the country, making it a hot-spot, even on the cold winter evenings.
If you ski like I do, (poorly) you may find yourself in the need of some pampering. Head over to The Resort at The Mountain in Welches, where the trained hands at The Spa will sooth each knotted muscle, mend each strain and generally melt you into a puddle of relaxation that is ready to do it all again the next day.
There really is so much to explore in the Villages, from Little Zigzag Falls to the Wildwood Recreation Site along the Sandy River, the Villages are a jewel on Mt. Hood. You’ll find yourself spending your whole trip here. Be sure to let us know your favorite spot in the Villages of Mt. Hood in the comments below.
Jarrod Lyman has more than 12 years tourism experience. He is currently loving his job overseeing content for the #omht Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest accounts. His work has recently been recognized by the TTRA with the J. Desmond Slattery Professional Marketing Award.