Mt Bachelor

The Mt. Fuji-like summit offers 360 degrees of skiing, and some of the northwest’s most diverse terrain.
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The Mt. Fuji-like summit offers 360 degrees of skiing, and some of the northwest’s most diverse terrain.
Mt. Bachelor, Oregon: #5 Best Park for 2008-09

Skiing on a volcano has its perks: steep terrain above treeline, old-growth hemlocks that make perfect glades, and, in Mt. Bachelor’s case, 3,365 nonstop vertical feet. Lap the Northwest lift, which has 500 acres of skiable trees and endless untouched stashes. Last winter’s La Niña broke the resort’s annual snowfall record by dumping 665 inches. Despite $3.5 million in resort upgrades slated for this season, Mt. Bachelor maintains a down-home vibe. After all, the ski area is 20 miles from Bend, which boasts the most craft breweries per capita in the U.S.

Quick Tip: Mt. Bachelor’s cone-shaped summit allows you to access any slope aspect, so pay attention to where the sun is, especially in the spring. Head to east aspects (East Healy Heights) to get early morning corn, and west aspects (Kangaroo) where the snow stays fresh the longest.

Backcountry Access:
Thirty minutes southeast (Highway 97) of Sunriver is Paulina Peak. The Northwest aspect is a steep section of chutes while the northeast aspect offers a gentler dome shaped slope. Both are great skiing options.

8:00 A.M. Start your day with the eggs Benedict at the Victorian Café in Bend, which serves breakfast all day. Or stop by The Crepe Place for a quick cup of coffee.

8:30 A.M. Your first lift ride should be up the Pine Marten Express—it provides access to the rest of the lifts. Take your first run down Tippy Toe, a steep shot with the most consistent fall line.

10 A.M. After a storm, head straight to the Outback—a north-facing playground of bowls, cornices, pillows, and wind drifts. It receives the most snow of any area on the mountain.

11 A.M. Hike to the 9,065-foot summit and ski into the Cirque Bowl for the steepest section on the mountain. Or traverse the West Ridge to “The Cornice” which is the largest natural air on the mountain (up to 40 feet).  

Noon Scapolo’s (Italian for Bachelor’s) serves pizza by the slice in the mid-mountain Pine Marten Lodge. Be sure to try the spicy meatball sandwich or opt for the lasagna bar.

2 P.M. The Slopestyle and Superpipe Arena under the Pine Marten Express feature a jump line ranging from 30 to 70 feet. If you want to practice your skills on smaller features, head to Pat’s Way Park—an intermediate-friendly alternative.

3 P.M. The Rainbow Chair and its 20-minute ride are often overlooked. Ski Flying Dutchman late in the day for the best chance at fresh snow.

4 P.M. Take down a plate of cinder cone nachos or sip on Spanish coffee at The Rock Bar in the West Village Lodge. Live music and flat screens make it hard to leave.

7 P.M. The Deschutes Brewery serves elk burgers, marionberry cobbler, and dozens of traditional and seasonal beers. If you want to go upscale, check out the Pine Tavern for honey-buttered scones and prime rib. A Bend staple since the 1930s, the Tavern is built around a 250-year-old pine tree.

10 P.M. First go to the funky Astro Lounge for their signature drink, the Astro Glide. Late night, stumble into the Blacksmith for dancing and a nightcap or three. Both are in downtown Bend.

Overnight In between the mountain and downtown Bend, Mt. Bachelor Village offers eight different accommodation types, access to the Athletic Club of Bend and a pool area. [from $119; mtbachelorvillage.com]