Frequently Asked Questions
How should I dress?
Institute attendees and presenters are encouraged to dress comfortably and casually. Dress warmly, the lodge is at 6,000 feet of elevation and outdoor temperatures can be quite chilly, especially at night. Boots are recommended for outdoor activities.
What will the weather be like?
The middle of May is in-between winter and summer on the mountain. We have had days of glorious warm sunshine and also some cool, cloudy days. We even have had a little snow. The weather can change quickly on the mountain. Prepare for a variety of conditions.
Do I need to buy the meal package?
This is highly recommended. The food at Timberline Lodge is very good and the group meal setting creates a retreat-like atmosphere. The Cascade Dining Room, elegant and rather expensive, is an option for separate meals, but it is not always open. Bar snacks are usually available and there are vending machines. Driving six miles down the mountain to Government Camp is not a very convenient alternative.
May I bring a significant other or family?
Yes, by all means. This has worked out well in the past, especially if your guest likes to ski or climb mountains. Register early so that you are able to book a room that will accommodate your needs. Guests are welcome at meals with the purchase of an additional meal package(s). There are a limited options for other meals for guests so the meal package is encouraged.
Do I need to stay at Timberline Lodge?
This is highly recommended. The opportunity for informal interactions with professional colleagues is one of the greatest benefits of the Institute. The room rates Timberline Lodge offers us are very good. If you do choose to stay down the mountain at Government Camp be prepared for the six-mile winding mountain road each way.
What sort of activities are available for free time?
On Saturday explore the lodge and linger after dinner with your colleagues in the Ram’s Head Bar. Travelers from the central and eastern time zones often happily find their rooms after a long travel day.
We try to schedule a long lunch break on Sunday to allow for those who wish to take a ski lift ride to do so while the lift is operating. (It shuts down in early afternoon.) The view is magnificent! Before the conference starts each morning is a great time for a little outdoor exercise. Early evening can be spent walking, reading, swimming in the outdoor pool (the view of the mountain from the middle of the pool is unbelievable), relaxing in the sauna, snowshoeing, or driving down to browse the shops on Highway 26.
In the past we have been able to schedule an exclusive Lodge tour that will highlight historic preservation efforts at Timberline. We also have had private wine-tasting sessions in the Lodge’s wine cellar. There is a separate fee for the tasting.
Sunday evening, after dinner, we will have the Blue Ox Bar to ourselves to read excerpts from our favorite books. (Be sure and bring a book!) The Ram’s Head will also be open each evening and there are a number of quiet spaces in the lodge for small groups to gather.
How do I get to Timberline?
Fly into Portland International Airport or drive from the north or south via Interstate 5. Then go east on Highway 26 to Government Camp, and follow the signs heading north from Government Camp, six miles to the Lodge. The Timberline web site offers more specific driving directions.
In the past we have organized rental car ride sharing from the airport. This has worked out well and we will solicit your interest in late April after most people have made their travel arrangements. Most attendees arrive in Portland between 10:30 am and 1:30 pm, which facilitates ride sharing.
How do I get there if it snows?
Mountain snow is a slight possibility. At that time of year, if it does snow it will likely not pose a problem during daylight hours until after you turn off Highway 26 near Government Camp (3,700′ elevation). In previous years we have occasionally encountered a little snow on the way up or back down, but the road was cleared and open. We have a contingency plan to shuttle people from the Mt. Hood Inn at Government Camp up the six-mile mountain road to Timberline Lodge. We will notify attendees a few days before the Institute if weather looks to be a problem.