Mount Bachelor Ski Vacation
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Nestled in the heart of Oregon, just outside the city of Bend, is a less mainstream mountain that boasts some impressive stats. When many think of a destination ski vacation, they think of Tahoe, Vail, Aspen, Steamboat, Jackson, Mammoth, or Whistler. However, Whistler is the only mountain on this list with more skiable terrain than Mt. Bachelor. Bachelor ranks #6 in the United States for lift accessible ski acreage. On a clear day, you can stand atop this dormant Volcano peak in the Cascade Mountains and pick any of the 360º to ride off.
The Coastal and Cascade mountains in the Pacific Northwest see huge weather patterns thanks to the Pacific Ocean's mighty storms. Big storms are frequent in January and February and pile up feet of fresh snow. The proximity to the coast translates to wetter snow, on many of the Pacific Northwest peaks, than seen in Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming's higher elevations. However, Mt. Bachelor is a bit more inland than some of the more well-known resorts in the west, such as Whistler and Mt. Hood, resulting in a much drier, fluffier snow mass. Inland does not mean less snow; Bachelor still has the 7th biggest annual snowfall in the USA. With so much terrain and so much snow, Bachelor has a lot of powder to pass around. It is common to be still hitting powder stashes several days after the big dump.
Bachelor lies about 25 miles (40 km) from the town of Bend, Oregon. There are 2 main parking areas accompanies by lodges and amenities. Sunrise Lodge and parking area, the smaller of the two, is a great little 70’s style lodge with food, an outdoor bar, and indoor and outdoor seating. This is also the base station for all lessons, so head this way to book or meet your ski/snowboard instructor. The muted terrain is a bit more friendly to beginners or a good place to dust off the cobwebs before going for the more aggressive runs. West Village lodge and parking area is the main lodge. It has the most extensive amenities, including Ski Rentals, a Retail Shop, Child Care, and a bigger menu for eating and drinking.
From West Village, you can warm up your legs or teach the kids to ski on the Little Pine lift (the equivalent of a bunny hill). Head up Pine Martin Express for the bigger, steeper slopes. A mid-mountain lodge at the top of the lift, Pine Martin Lodge, makes a great lunch spot or place to meet up with friends. From here, you are in the heart of it. Facing the Hill, there are 2 more High-Speed-Quads to your right (West) and also where most of the side country and Black Diamond runs are. To the left is Skyliner Lift that hosts some intermediate runs and most of the terrain parks. The easternmost lifts, including Sunrise and Cloud-chaser, offer flattened slopes and great beginner to intermediate skiers a great time. The eastern face typically catches more sun and better weather. On a clear day, the Summit Lift opens up, taking you all the way to the peak and unlocking huge bonus acreage. The longest run at over 4 miles starts up top. Locals watch Summit schedules intently for the first nice day after a storm cycle and the opportunity to ski off all 360ºs of this dormant volcano’s peak, unleashing days of fresh powder stashes.
Terrain Parks are abundant at Mt. Bachelor. A partnership with Woodward has given the mountain top-notch park design and maintenance. From the Half Pipe to Family Cross (a low-key skiercross suitable for all levels), the mountain boasts 11 different sculpted and built terrain parks; whether your working on your rail or going for the big air, you're covered here.
If you are more a fan of earning your turns, the resort has some side-country routes, including the cone, a naturally occurring cinder cone accessible about halfway down (or up) the Leeway run. Skin up from the West Village parking lot, or ski down from Pine Martin, hike to the top and ski down the perfect pitch powder. If you're looking for something more challenging, the mountain's uphill route is an option for non-pass or ticket holders. Put on the skins to hike from the West Village Base all the way to the summit (on a good day). A nice midway rest, lunch, and a beer can be had at the Pine Martin mid-mountain lodge.
Take a break from all that Bachelor has to offer downhillers, the Nordic Center located across from the West Village Lodge has world-class cross country skiing. Rent, skis here or in town, and head out into the wilderness on one of the 22 maintained trails extending over 34 miles and gain peace in the cascades while the rest of the family tear up the terrain parks. This complex maintains both groomed and un-groomed trails making it perfect for first-timers or the host of world-class athletes that train on the skating tracks.
If you are looking for more laughs on your recovery day. Check out the Tubing Park, also accessed from the West Village Parking lot. This tubing park has a rope tow to get you and your tube up to the top, only to be sent down one of 6 lanes high-speed tubing lanes.
Native History: These lands were originally inhabited by the Molale (Molalla) people, boarded by the Paiute in the east and the Kalapuya to the West. Sadly little has been found to date on the indigenous name of Mt. Bachelor. The last speaker of the Molale language died in the 1950s.