For the 2011 Major League Soccer season - the top-league in USA/Canada - the Portland Timbers have returned. The Timbers played in the old NASL of the 1970-80's until that league died from a disease called Cosmo-itis. They played before huge crowds and really popularized the sport here in the Portland metropolitan area. Several of the old Timbers players went on to careers as local college coachs - Clive Charles was the best known. There were several attempts at maintaining the Timbers in the minor league world of soccer in the US in succeeding years and the fanbase never disappeared. In fact, the fan base was waiting to be reignited and that has truly happened again with the new MLS franchise. The team owner, Merritt Paulsen, bought the team because it happened to share the local stadium with the local minor league baseball team, the Portland Beavers. Maybe, Paulsen was hoping to eventually acquire an MLB - Major League Baseball - franchise for the city originally - his original holding company was called Shortstop Inc, but he quickly realized that a rabid local fan base existed not for minor league baseball, but for soccer. Along with local fan support, he pushed ahead and gained a franchise MLS, which along with the Seattle Sounders and the other new MLS franchise, Vanocuver Whitecaps, goes a long way in showing that soccer's US/Canada roots are truly in the Northwest - or Cascadia (the mythical country that would include Oregon, Washington and British Columbia). Be prepared for a rowdy soccer experience. Portland has developed a huge supporters group - the Timbers Army - in the last ten years that has grown from a couple hundred to several thousand. People that sing the entire game in the best soccer/football supporter tradition. They and the others who make up the sold-out stadium at Jen-Weld Field (18,600+) a very tough place for opponents of the Timbers to come into. The soccer on the field is good caliber and the atmosphere is on another level - even compared to the NBA Blazers.
Equipment: Tickets for this first year are fairly hard to come by. There is only some 18,600+ tickets and 12,500 are season tickets - all sold out. Tickets for big matches, the first game - a magnificent event on April 14 against the Chicago Fire in a driving rainstorm - or the LA Galaxy, NY Red Bulls, or one of the Cascadia Cup matches - Seattle Flounders (OK, the Sounders) or the Vancouver Whitecaps .... forget it. Try eBay or Craigslist. The stadium - Jen-Weld Field - is old and new. Originally built as a baseball stadium, it has been converted into a soccer/football only stadium now. Similar in design to Fenway Park in Boston - there was even a version of the Green Monster before the conversion - the field is below ground level and the noise stays inside. Catch a soccer match here, Seattle's Qwest Field or the Empire Stadium in Vancouver (not quite sure how that will play out in the BC Place stadium where the Whitecaps will move into later in the season) and you will witness the best in soccer atmosphere in the US.
RCTID - Rose City til I Die
Oregon's many terrains mean you won't get bored hiking in this great outdoor paradise. Trails are well-groomed and there are hikes to fit all skill levels. Coastal trails offer views of bluffs and expansive beaches. Temperate rain forests are lush and provide shade on hot sunny days. With a peak like Mount Hood you know there are alpine hikes galore. If you like hiking, you'll love Oregon. If you never have and thought it might be fun, it's a great place to get started!
Equipment: Good hiking boots and socks are something beginners need to spend some time and money on. Your feet are your means of transport so take care of them. Be sure to break new equipment in especially boots. You will also need a small day pack to carry snacks, water, and extra clothing. Fleece is best as it dries quickly and don't forget both a sun and warm hat. Weather is changeable especially in the mountains and along the coast. Rain gear? Yup, Oregon gets its fair share of the stuff from what I hear. We didn't see any so maybe that's just Oregonians' way of keeping us from moving to Portland!
Meadows is the most popular and largest ski resort on Mt Hood. Weekend crowds pour in from nearby Portland. There is plenty of variety to keep the snow enthusiast busy here with terrain varying from beginner slopes to the much more advanced double black runs dropping down into Heather Canyon. Above it all, Mt Hood rises regally over all. From the upper reaches of the resort, views extend far off to the east and most of the peaks of the northern Oregon Cascades can be indentified - Mt Jefferson, Broken Top, the Three Sisters and a whole host of other lesser known peaks. The secret to skiing Meadows, like most other ski resorts, is to avoid the weekends or major holidays. As you can see from the picture, you will have the wintry wonderland pretty much to yourself. Equipment rentals are available at the mountain, as are lockers. Food options are also available as are picnic areas for those so inclined. You can stay in nearby Government Camp or Hood River where many of the hotels will give you specials on ski passes. Portland is about two hours away to the west. The mountain gets very snows and if you are driving yourself, be prepared for extreme conditions. See the Mt Hood Meadows website for other transportation options. In my humble opinion, Meadows is Oregon's second best ski resort - Mt Bachelor near Bend in Central Oregon is much larger and offers even more variety. That said, Meadows is by far the best area on Mt Hood and offers a nice alternative - that is best appreciated, again, midweek.
Equipment: You can bring your own gear or rent it up at the Base Lodge. See the website for more information.
When you've just got to grip it and rip it in Oregon, my favorite place to ski is Mt. Bachelor. 3,365 ft of vertical drop and 71 runs. Ski Nov 23 through May 30! Spring skiing is great as you can be flying down the slopes in 45 degree weather (or more!) The moutain does close at 4:00pm, so don't plan on night skiing.
Equipment: All your usual ski gear, or be prepared to rent.
Surfers of all sorts practise their abilities along the Oregon Coast. Kayakers, as well, like to challenge waves, either for the sport or just to get out and enjoy the ocean beyond. Many surfers tend to gravitate to the Short Sand Beach at Oswald West State Park, a few miles south of the popular coast resort of Cannon Beach. On a sunny day, you almost have to take anumber.
Equipment: Wet suit with hood. There is a trail of about a half mile down from US 101 that you will have to haul your gear down. Campsites are available - you have to, again, haul your gear down - but they go fast.
The Oregon Coast is well signed with the special bike posts all the way down. In case of doubt, just follow the ocean...
Equipment: A bike in good shape, a pair of legs, shaving optionnal, a helmet, a tent, and lots lots of happy thoughts...
Mount Hood is a must stop for skiiers/snowboarders who find themselves in Oregon. You can ski nearly year round on this mountain. Don't miss the magnificent views and terrain for all ski levels.
The Hotel Monaco is a terrific hotel. Located in the downtown area of Portland, it is within walking...more
AVOID THIS PLACE! My family and I decided to stay here for the college football season for home...more
170 Highway 101, Florence, Oregon, United States
Good for: Solo