Ask any local and they’ll agree: Mt. Bachelor is one of a kind. Located 20 minutes south of Bend, a Central Oregon hub with year-round recreation, Mt. Bachelor beckons to skiers and snowboarders. Its resort is ranked as the 6th largest ski area in North America — with 4,318 skiable acres — and is renowned for one of the longest ski seasons in the United States, thanks to a notable 462 inches of annual snowfall. There’s something for everyone: family-friendly fun, deep powder summit runs, early morning cone hikes and late spring turns — all just a short drive (or shuttle ride) from downtown Bend.
Mt. Bachelor’s great terrain and snow conditions are backed up by world-class amenities that include two separate base areas, a mid-mountain lodge, and an expansive Nordic ski center. The resort continues to add upgrades, such as the 2016 east side terrain expansion and Cloudchaser quad chairlift, the 2019 expansion of the Sunrise Lodge and the surrounding beginner terrain including a new chairlift and two covered conveyor carpets. The resort also introduced a new Woodward Mountain Park experience featuring with three enhanced terrain zones for a range of ages and abilities. And most-recently, the 2020/21 season addition of Mt. Bachelor to the Ikon Pass.
Beginners (and Kids)
Fully 15% of the terrain at Mt. Bachelor is focused on beginner skiers and snowboarders. The Sunrise Lodge base area caters to the newcomer crowd, with Alpenglow and Early Riser chairlifts and two new covered conveyor carpetsaccessing an abundance of beginner terrain. First-timers can also take advantage of Mt. Bachelor’s award-winning Ski or Ride in 5 program, which includes five lessons, rentals and lift tickets for a greatly reduced price.
Those ready to advance from the base area can venture up the Sunrise chair to find a network of green trails, including the ever-popular Marshmallow trail to the fun twists and turns of Dilly Dally Alley.
Among its 101 mapped runs, Bachelor has a huge network of groomers and cruisers. The resort is known for its moderately steep grade: One look at the trail map reveals a network of blue runs. Dedicated downhillers will flock to the Pine Marten lift first thing in the morning to arc turns down the wide-open groomers with a direct fall line from top to bottom. These runs include Coffee and Olympian. The Sunrise base area provides access to the blue runs of Cloudchaser. On sunny days, there is not a more iconic Mt. Bachelor experience than skiing the blues down the face of Summit.
At 9,065 feet, Mt. Bachelor boasts the highest skiable elevation in the Pacific Northwest. From the top of the Summit lift, skiers can ride down 360 degrees in any direction. The ungroomed, backcountry-like terrain on the backside features a series of dreamlike wave features —this is the terrain that has captivated surfing legend Gerry Lopez year after year. The Northwest lift is another powder day destination for expert skiers in search of bowl and tree skiing. The wide-open Cirque Bowl off Summit is another double-black diamond destination. Mt. Bachelor encourages skiers to always ski in control and to always ski or ride with a partner especially when skiing in ungroomed terrain.
Dining and Après Ski
Built up an appetite? Not a problem, as Mt. Bachelor offers a host of dining options. Narrow it down to local favorites — the Clearing Rock bar is the go-to après-ski destination, with excellent nachos. Across the parking lot at the Nordic Center, you’ll find homemade burritos for breakfast and lunch, which you can enjoy in front of the wood-burning fire. At the mid-mountain Pine Marten Lodge, Pinnacles offers a quick lunch with Mothers-brand organic sandwiches; and also in the lodge Scapolos serves tasty wood-fired pizza. Sunrise Lodge offers classic cafeteria fare with kids favorites including pizza and fries, while the indoor-outdoor Sun Bar offers an easy stop for a warm up cocktail.
For the Family
In the West Village Lodge, Mt. Bachelor offers state-licensed childcare for kids ages 6 weeks to 10 years old. The resort also offers an array of early-learning ski programs including Snow Explorers starting at two and a half years old, plus the Signature Start partial childcare with ski lessons program. Additionally, the resort offers a range of kids discounts including free lift tickets to kids under 5 and an online promotion for free tickets for kids 12 and under. Perhaps best of all, the Early Riser quad chairlift, a beginner lift in the Sunrise base area, is free for all users.
Mt. Bachelor offers several opportunities to get out and enjoy winter on the mountain without strapping on skis, including guided snowshoe hikes led by a U.S. Forest Service naturalist. Another exciting option is booking an Oregon Trail of Dreams dogsled ride led by Iditarod finisher Racheal Scdoris.
What Makes Mt. Bachelor Special?
Winter Camping — Mt. Bachelor allows winter camping with hookups in the West Village base area. The resort even has a dedicated heated restroom with showers. And they’re not just for now-and-then visitors: Mt. Bachelor General Manager John McLeod is a frequent weekend camper with his family.
Oregon Adaptive Sports — Since launching in 1996, OAS has offered instruction and dedicated equipment for adaptive skiing and snowboarding. The popular programs include season-long locals ski program as well as individual lessons for visitors and has helped develop the robust adaptive ski community at Mt. Bachelor.
Spring Skiing and Snowboarding — The resort celebrates its second season with a discounted spring pass, and a whole roster of Spring events through Memorial Day weekend closing, including Snow Beach, the Gerry Lopez Big Wave Challenge, the RendezVan music festival and campout, and Peace Park snowboarding championships.
Visitors can access Bend via the Portland International Airport or the nearby Redmond Airport (RDM),which is approximately 20 miles north of Bend. Alaska Airlines offers nonstop flights from Seattle and Portland into Redmond; Alaska Airlines is also partnered with Mt. Bachelor on a promo offering free same day lift tickets when flying into Redmond! American Airlines flies direct from Los Angeles and Phoenix. United Airlines flies nonstop from Denver, Los Angeles, Chicago and San Francisco. Delta provides nonstop service from Salt Lake City and Seattle. American Airlines offers nonstop service from Los Angeles and Phoenix. New service include Sun Country with direct flights from Las Vegas, Allegiant Airlines offering direct service from Las Vegas and Phoenix, and Avelo with service to Burbank and Palm Springs.
Once in Bend, there are plenty of options for car-free transportation to Mt. Bachelor and around Bend including the Mt. Bachelor shuttle and the local area public transportation network.
Ski and Snowboard Safety
Skiers and snowboarders should always follow the Skier’s Responsibility Code, which exists to raise awareness that there are elements of risk in snow sports that common sense and personal awareness can help reduce:
- Always stay in control and be able to stop or avoid other people or objects.
- People ahead of you have the right of way. It is your responsibility to avoid them.
- You must not stop where you obstruct a trail or are not visible from above.
- Whenever starting downhill or merging into a trail, look uphill and yield to others.
- Always use devices to help prevent runaway equipment.
- Observe all posted signs and warnings. Keep off closed trails and out of closed areas.
- Prior to using any lift, you must have the knowledge and ability to load, ride and unload safely.
Similarly, those skiing in steep and ungroomed terrain should be familiar with deep snow safety and become informed on traveling and recreating in avalanche terrain. Find more tips on skiing and snowboarding safety here.
If You Go:
Winter in Oregon can be chilly and wet, or crystal-clear and sunny — so wear waterproof layers, appropriate snow boots and don’t forget your sunglasses. Learn how to come prepared by brushing up on tips at How to Winter Like an Oregonian. Wherever you hit the slopes, follow Leave No Trace principals, including packing in and out, leaving what you find where it’s at, and respecting wildlife and other visitors. Be sure when adventuring to carry plenty of water along with your 10 Essentials and know that cell service may be spotty, so download maps and trail directions.
There are many ways to take a car-free getaway in Oregon to avoid driving in wintry conditions and parking at popular destinations. If you are traveling by car, be sure to check road and weather conditions before heading out and carry snow chains or traction tires when advised.