as told to Jeffrey Martin | photos by Jen Jones
My whole life revolves around Government Camp and Mt. Hood.
In the early 1960s, my parents met while working at Timberline Lodge, which is right up the hill. My dad, who is originally from Germany, was a ski instructor. My mother was the head secretary. They bought a cabin here in 1970, which they still own and enjoy. Technically I grew up in Portland, but we were always here on weekends, holidays and summers. After I graduated from college in 1994, I started working full time at Skibowl and lived here for twelve years until I met my partner, Tiffany.
She grew up in Milwaukie, but we met here in town, at Charlie’s Bar.
I did plenty of traveling when I was younger, saw a lot of different places around the world but all the travel did was bring me back here to Mt. Hood, this iconic mountain with an incredible draw. As you can tell, I’m proud of the town. It’s small but big.
During the summer, the best skiers and snowboarders in the world come here for training on the Palmer snowfield. And they come back year after year.
It can be hard living in a small resort town, which is likely why there are only about 150 full-time residents here. Those residents represent the town’s core and character. You know everyone, which is … nice.
Government Camp’s location is so special. There are some undeveloped pieces yet, but because we’re surrounded by national forest, it can only get so big. There are some cool things in the works, such as an aerial tram connecting Skibowl to town to Timberline Lodge, which will really take this place to another level.
I’ve been fortunate to have year-round, full-time employment, which is a rarity in a resort town. In twenty-seven years at Skibowl, I’ve done just about everything. I’ve grown with the company and witnessed the town’s changes, most notably the new sidewalks and lights, the paving of streets, and the addition of a grocery store and liquor store. It’s an easier place to live now, which isn’t to suggest it was ever difficult living in such a beautiful locale.
The tradition continues. Even though we live just down the hill, about twenty minutes away, I work here every day and we’re still up here nearly every weekend. I have a 7-year-old daughter, Anika, and she loves it. She’s been skiing since she was 17 months old, which is a month younger than I was when I started.
This is our little special heaven.