Overview of Mount Bachelor, Oregon
Written by Greg and Heather Burke
Mt Bachelor in Oregon is bold, beautiful and typically blessed with snow. This dormant volcano in The Cascades offers incredible summit snowfields and scenery. Mt Bachelor is the Pacific Northwest’s largest ski area with 3,700 acres of terrain and the highest skiable elevation in all of Oregon and Washington at 9,065'. In fact, Mt Bachelor is like a big skiers' ice cream cone with skiing off all 360-degrees off the peak with almost 2,000' vertical above the tree line. Off Bachelor's backside, you will find bowl after bowl of steep, super scenic natural terrain that continues all the way to a mid-mountain catch line - bringing you back to the front side on a cat track. Off the summit North Face are even steeper chutes with splendid rime formations, confirming the wild winter weather and snow Bachelor receives. While the conical summit serves up some unbelievable, un-groomed terrain (some with a short hike), there are a few blue groomers off the front summit flank like Beverly Hills and Healy Heights.
And there is so much more to Bachelor - with five unique ski sections all served by swift high-speed lifts, 7 detachable quads. The sunny North East side has the new Cloudchaser six pack, the Sunrise Accelerator and Skyliner high-speed quads serving blue and green groomed runs perfect for families, with a few fun terrain parks. Pine Marten in the center is home to classic ski runs like Thunderbird, Coffee and Old Skyliner. Outback and Northwest feature undulating blue and black runs, up to 2,300' vertical long, like Sparks Lake and Devils Backbone. Between these playful ski trails are great glades - often with untracked snow.
Mt. Bachelor typically gets up to 400 inches of snowfall thanks to its location on the eastern flanks of Oregon's Central Cascades, so skiing usually extends from November to May. Weather can be an issue in the Cascades, so when the summit is a go - you should go. The Summit Express is closed half the time due to the wind and low visibility.
Mt Bachelor is located in the Deschutes National Forest, the scenery of other volcanic peaks is fantastic - The Sisters and Broken Top, Mt Jefferson and Mt Hood in the far distance. Because it is protected land, you won't find any on mountain lodging which is good and bad news - this definitely lends a beautiful uncluttered landscape to the two base areas West Village and Sunrise, but you do have to drive about 25 minutes to lodging. Mid-mountain, you will find the Pine Martin Lodge which is a panoramic spot for lunch, we recommend the table service at Le Cirque upstairs.
Bachelor is big and beautiful, on a sunny or snowy day - we scored with both. Parent company Powdr Corp who also owns Copper, Boreal, Las Vegas, Killington and Pico, has even bigger plans for Bachelor. An approved 10 year Master Plan includes the new 6 pack Sunrise Accelerator, a new Eastside quad lift opening new terrain below Cow's Face and past the current boundaries, and replacing the slow Rainbow triple. Plans also call for a Zip Line and a larger Sunrise Lodge, with work starting in 2015.
For lodging during your Bachelor ski trip, the very cool town of Bend is 22-miles down an easy access road. This amiable western town is renowned for its plethora of breweries. Bend is also brimming with bike paths, dog lovers, organic boutiques and just plain happy people. The best place to stay in Bend is the beautiful Oxford Hotel in the heart of town, this eco chic upscale hotel is a stroll away from fun shopping, organic coffee shops like Thump, and Bend's best restaurants and brewpubs. Or you can stay at Sunriver Resort - a planned residential and resort community 20 minutes from Bachelor where house rentals are available.
For off slope activities at Mt Bachelor, we highly recommend snowmobiling in the Deschutes National Forest on an afternoon after skiing. Central Oregon Adventures offers guided snowmobile tours or rentals, this is a great way to explore the beauty of the ponderosa pine forests, snowfields and wonderful scenery of the conical volcanic Cascade peaks as you cruise on your speedy sled.
Honestly this is still my favorite mountain resorts. The descent from the top of the backside is breathe taking. Highly recommended for all skill levels. Best tree runs on the west coast.
I lived in Bend Oregon for a year and had the pleasure of skiing on Bachelor many days of the week! I love the high desert and the surrounding mountains.