Mt. Bachelor Skiing

by Louis Bignami

Suddenly, as the road from Bend winds through the Ponderosa Pines and Douglass Firs you round a corner and an incredible white mountain appears. It’s Mt. Bachelor, a singular 9,065-foot cinder cone standing like a Vietnamese conical hat above forest. With 5,800-foot elevation base that’s served by six-day lodges – if you include the mid-mountain Pine Marten Lodge and the rather rustic Cross-country Lodge – only the absence of at-slope lodgings keeps Mt. Bachelor from top five ski resort status in the US. Everything else is there.

Seasons typically run from well before Thanksgiving until the 4th of July without snowmaking! Action divides into incredible amounts of mostly black single diamond open bowl skiing on the top half, and mostly blue glade skiing on the bottom half that many feel ranks in the top ten resorts in North America, but the mostly black forest runs on the back side are incredible, and rarely crowded. Locals claim snow is drier here with more powder that in the Western Cascades. Mt. Hood buffs differ, but everyone agrees the 270 degrees you can ski on this mountain insure good snow all day, and that this is the spot for lovely lifts.

For the second year in a row the lift system -- seven high speed quads, three triples and the double and two surface lists for beginners -- ranked #1 in a poll by Ski Magazine’s readers who had skied 22 years or more and who skied at least 25 days. In addition, on mountain food ranked 13th and scenery, service and slope grooming made the top 25 lists. However, the sleeper here is the glade skiing that holds up even on days when the top of the mountain is windy or foggy; Skiing Magazine voted this in the top ten in the United States. Don’t overlook the slower triple chairs either. These are great “sneakaways” on crowded holiday weekend.

On a clear day after one of Oregon’s massive snow dumps everyone but beginners on the mountain top face a joyful selection of black, and a couple of blue runs, assuming, of course, they can take their eyes off Broken Top and Faith, Hope and Charity, the Three Sisters to the North. Of course, the price of storm powder is high winds that can close the black diamond runs at the top of the New Summit Express, and when it’s not blowing fog can be a problem high on the mountain. Not to worry, glade skiing waits.

Costs -- $43 lift tickets before deals -- seem lower than at most of today’s downhill resort. Shopper’s need note that there’s no sales tax in Oregon.

Dozens of lakes, falls and other features of the lava lands where American astronauts came to practice moon walking on pumice mean the scenery could not be better. The mountains and valleys also offer massive helpings of year-round activities that offer golf or fishing alternatives nearly year round. For example, by March it’s possible to ski down the mountain, play a round of golf, catch a steelhead or limit of trout and do a bit of whitewater kayaking in the same day!

Overall, Mt. Bachelor offers quality lifts to decent snow, great open bowl black diamond skiing to advanced and expert skiers when it’s not blowing up top, and some of the best black and blue glade skiing in America when there’s good snow on the bottom. With the Pacific Ocean a couple of hundred miles West weather’s rather warmer than in Rocky Mountain resorts. Those who don’t mind it’s not Squaw or Whistler or Vail or Mammoth or Mt. Tremblant, and the fact beginner’s enjoy far less of the mountain (15%) than usual do well here. So Mt. Bachelor serves as an affordable destination resort for Oregon residents with at least intermediate skills from Portland and the Willamette Valley as well as locals. Nothing wrong with that!

The dog sled operation here is definitely world class, but the cross-country (x-c) tracks are not due to some unavoidable terrain features, although the x-c classes are outstanding. Overall, the resort is “guest friendly” with options like valet parking so your day ends with a warm car and clean windshields, box lunches, and RV and Trailer parking for five days are examples. The resort’s long time support of the Central Oregon High School League Racing and other programs is another.

Drawbacks? U. S. Forest Service regulations place lodgings 15 to 30 miles away. So wonderful resorts like the Inn of the 7th Mountain, Mt. Bachelor Lodge or the massive all-season Sunriver on the Deschutes River, seem much less convenient than on-slope condos and hotels usual at major resorts. However, Bend, the nearest town, does offer full services and nearly 6,000 about a half-hour away.

Note: There are two groups dickering to buy Mt. Bachelor from stockholders and it’s expected if either sale goes there will be major improvements on and off the mountain.

Main Category: Skiing

Mt. Bachelor sings loudest in the spring after a powder dump when the views peak, the snow settles and the winds drop. About 3,683 skiable acres with enough open bowls up top to make “trail numbers” rather meaningless – is the entire cirque one trail? Seasons seem rather moot too with skiing most years from November until past the 4th of July.

The mountain best suits the intermediate to advanced skiers who scoot up to the summit or ski select glade runs through the Lodge Pole and Jeffery pines and, even better, the tree runs through the huge, widely spaced Douglas firs and hemlocks. While intermediates have three runs – Easy Healy Healy-Heights and Beverley Hills down from the top of the New Summit Express high-speed quad, most intermediate trails are below the tree line. Beginners can traverse tracks from mid-mountain on down and have a fair number of easy runs just above the bottoms of lifts. Experts enjoy the top and glades, but the very best skiers may find the conical configuration of the cinder cone eliminates the cliffs and coulees of, say, Squaw Valley or Chamonix.

Beginner Trails

To start it’s important to realize that there are no green runs off Northwest Express, Outback and Summit Lifts. About 15 percent of the trails suit beginners although this can increase with good snow on at least the bottom third of the blue trails. Beginners should start on Martee West or East served slopes with lessons before moving on to the short Home Run or Milky Way runs above the Sunshine Accelerator or Carousel.

The Pine Martin Express takes beginners up the mid-mountain with a choice of trails: there may be a wait here as it’s the only route up to the center of the mid-mountain green tracks. Leeway is probably the best run down because it is not crossed by blue or black tracks if beginners stay left. There is a split at the bottom and Midway, is a nice run right if one watches the hotshots who cross out Canyon. Skyliner is another green excellent run back to West Village.

From Pine Martin it’s possible to use the Summit-Crossover shared with and crossed by most everyone who wants to get to the bottom of the New Summit Express and then get back to West Village on, what else, the West Village Getback. Keep looking uphill when crossing blue runs. If lines are short share the Sunrise Express with experts heading up the hill and come back on Roostertail or the kid friendly Marshmallow. If lines are longer clump over to the slower Rainbow Chair and try I-5, it’s a bit blue at the top but greens out at the bottom so it’s a nice transitional run to the intermediate level.

Granted, it’s only 15 percent of the hill, but these trails and a peak and sneak down some of the easier blues can fill beginner’s afternoons with classes to fill mornings. Do note that there are free beginner’s ski lessons early in the season and several packages that guarantee results. One even guarantees skiers can ski the entire lower lift system blues.

Intermediate Trails

Intermediates will find many of the black diamond trails more than makeable, and there are a lot of blues to ski. From the top, and everyone heads to the top on a clear day, East Healy’s cruiser and the wooded Flying Dutchman take you all the way down to the base of Rainbow Chair. Consider Carnival coming back but cut over to the Sunrise Express and whip back to the summit. Healy Heights is the next top shot with the option of another Dutchman run or simply cutting over to the bottom of New Summit and the last blue run, Beverley Hills.

Then it’s time to move way round the mountain. While there are a number of blues from the top of Skyliner, and even from Pine Martin Lodge, the best blue glade skiing in America waits off Outback Express and the fabulous two mile long mostly black trails under Northwest Express Quad that’s connected at the top to Outback with a blue Northwest Crossover.

Most of the blues are under Outback Express. The long, looping way down is Ed’s Garden, but the Aussie Alley, Bushwhacker and other options can eat most of a morning. Kangaroo and Bushwhacker are particularly popular with boarders who appreciate the airtime off bumps.

If you continue along the Northwest Connection from Ed’s Garden all the way to the bottom of Northwest Express you can ride up the hill with the black diamond types and scope out black runs like the rock and roll bump and stump Devil’s Backbone or the Kangaroo-connecting Snapshot Alley as you decide whether you use the crossover or blast back down the blacks.

Advanced/Expert Trails

Black diamond types head up to the summit to check out Trails 1, 2, 3 and 4 that dive off into the cirque. On a first visit scope these out from the West Ridge Run on your way down to Pine Martin Lodge. f “da’ numba’s” don’t look too hard – they’re marked as double black diamond, but that really depends on snow conditions and some claim they’re really single blacks – it’s back to the top after the rather flat and boring Summit Crossover to the bottom of the New Summit Express where you may need to weave and dodge through the greenies.

The first three numbered Circe trails in the open bowl meet about half way down and connect on the easy Summit Crossover back to the base of New Summit Express. Trail 1 gets more action because it ends right at the bottom of the New Summit Express Quad for “instant replays.” Check to see how the winds sculpt the edges of runs for some interesting freestyle and board big air.

The Summit Express can be a choke point early in the day as lots of skiers coming up from Sunrise Lodge. Cow’s Face that swoops off from the summit on the Sunrise Lodge side offers major open slopes with a dodge through the trees at the bottom and a faster crossover to the Summit Chair than Trails 2, 3, and 4.

While there are lower mountain blacks like Tippy Toe that’s the quick bailout from below Pine Martin, and, with a blue top, and Canyon and little Canyon also directly below Pine Martin, the best blacks are the two mile or longer glade runs under Northwest Express even though they “blue out” at bit at the end. After a couple of miles of blacks most legs appreciate the rest. Snapshot Alley down to Atkenson’s is great. The Huckleberry Picker alternate deserves a try too. Devil’s Backbone with the swoops and loops is another option popular with boarders, and there are at least another three or four good runs.

Don’t be disappointed by the view from the top of the “Aussie” blue runs down from the top of Outback Express, it’s better on the backside. Just dive down “all black” Boomerang. Slide over on Northwest connection to the very long ride up Northwest Express that offers views of the killer blacks or a blue “cluck-cluck” traverse at the top back to the blues.

Racing Trails

There’s a NASTAR course set up by the Boarder’s snowpark under the Pine Marten Express Quad just off the West Village Building and the Dynastar Demo Center. Over at the Junior Racing Center there’s another boarders and skiers snowpark, and training courses are set now often for the very active junior program here and for the masters and high school competitions characteristic of the area. The Mt. Bachelor Ski Education Foundation hosts a number of ski races, master’s events etc.

NASTA runs are scheduled for Wednesday through Saturday at 1pm and at 9:30am on Sundays subject, of course, to the many special events. At $5 for two hours, competitors race against themselves, others in their age and gender class and, of course, against the nationally registered handicaps.


Resort Base: 9,065 feet
Base of Lifts: 6,300 feet
Top of Lifts: 9,065 feet
Mountain Top: 9,065 feet
Skiable Vertical Drop: 3,365 feet

Capture that conical image and realize that while there is a mere 3,686 skiable acres reached by lifts there are 8,060 acres total! Consider the vertical. This is a big, if solitary conical cinder cone divided in half at by the tree line. So you get open bowls and expert terrain up top and the best glade skiing in the USA down low. Can’t ask for more than that when the winds don’t howl and close the top of the mountain.

Best of all skiers can simply follow the sun around the mountain to stay warm in the winter and on good snow in the spring. Come May or June hiding from the sun slush in the wooded runs keys quality skiing. Up top, start with the east-facing slopes and work west towards lunch for what one British skiers calls “palatable porridge” snow all day. With 270 degrees of the 360 possible on the mountain lift fed, there’s always good snow somewhere. By July skiing starts to slow down as skiers stop coming, but it’s possible to find snow up top all year on a hike-in basis.


Mr. Bachelor was one of the first mountains in the west to welcome boarders who, even more than skiers, adore the backside runs where the Ponderosa Pines and Douglas Firs seems spaced just right for a “dodge ‘em” day. As with skiers, there are guaranteed beginner’s lessons packages and fixed instructional levels to organize learning.

The Terrain Park up Skyliner Express offers a killer half pipe about 200 feet long and 30 feet wide, and the usual medium-size tables, boards and more. There’s a High Cascade Snowboard Camp several times a year, a with slope runs Saturdays and half pipe Sundays in January, February and March with a Big Air contest in Spring and much else.

However, better boarders find amazing slopes over on the backside where it’s not unknown for the local board braves to set some “interesting” humps and bumps back under the trees. This is definitely one of the best boarder hills in the West with an early November start and long season that runs into July. Hence the high summer rating.

Night Skiing

There is no official night skiing at Mt. Bachelor, and lifts close at four. The nearest night skiing is over on Mt. Hood. However, it’s not unknown for locals with avalanche recognition skills and the right gear to do a bit of moonlight skiing on nearby mountains and off local passes with an without the uphill help from snowmobiles, and x-c skiers with headlamps seem to find their way onto Forest Service trails in mild weather when the mood is full. There are rumors of night skiers with military night vision scopes that do, unfortunately, raise great forehead creases on one-point falls.


There is no heliskiing available. Who needs it? The glade runs off Northwest Territory have added some of the best tree skiing anywhere, and this includes Canadian heli-skiing.

Rainbow Helicopters out of the Roberts Field out of Redmond Airport fifteen miles north of Bend and less than an hour away does offer helicopter rides, sightseeing and aerial photography trips.

Snow Conditions

With enough snow so “snowmaking isn’t needed” and a season that runs from early in November until the 4th of July there’s enough snow for an average 150 to 200 inch base and an annual snowfall over 350 inches. Even better the rather narrow glade runs down to at the bottom of the hill at 6,300 feet hold snow well. Ice isn’t a problem as the combination of rather lighter snow of almost “Rocky Mountain” texture doesn’t ice as fast as typical “Sierra Cement” more characteristic of mountains nearer the ocean. Then too Mt. Bachelor ranks in the top 25 for grooming that, because of the fairly uniform shape of the mountain that’s 270 degrees lift served tends to be better than typical at West Coast ski areas. There is no snowmaking given the November to July season, and summer snow is, of course, “corny” as it transitions from icy to slush and savvy skiers follow the best snow conditions around the 270 degrees of the mountain that support trails.


Lessons come in all the usual snow flavors. The two “guaranteed beginners ski packages” both include lesson, lift tickets and rentals. Package A at $45 offers mastery of the beginner lifts no matter how long it takes. Package B at $145 includes whatever it takes to handle Mt. Bachelor’s mid-mountain blue runs. The same kind of guaranteed results and graded progress programs are offered for boarders and children and seem a “best buy.” Slow learners might want to start at 10am.

After this option instructional levels 3-5 move past the wedge turn with a 2-hour lesson with rentals and a ski ticket. Levels 6-9 offer 90-minute clinics with at $25 or a bargain $20 with a review card from the last coach.

Private ski lessons run $50 an hour or $150 for morning or afternoon 3-hour sessions or $250 for a six-hour full day. Adaptive ski programs with especially trained instructors are available by arrangement.

Cross-country lessons are especially recommended and their graded program insures steady progress if coupled with reasonable practice.

All lessons do fill up during Christmas and holidays with weekend crowds much larger at this basically weekender’s mountain.

The Bachelor Rental Shops in Sunrise an West Village have a couple of types of Rossignol skis and the chance to reserve rental packages before arrival by logging onto Adult packages run $18, children pay $11 with declining rates for multidays. Performance packages start at about $28.

Boarders can rent from $28 a day for adult packages and children pay $7 less. For $7 more performance packages are available.

The Ski Demo Center offers the chance to test up to three different pairs of books or skis each day for $45 a package, or $35 for skis or boots only. The last is a great way to size up potential boot buys. Brands run to Dynastar, K2, Lang, Rossignol Salomon, and Volkl.

Dynastar Performance Center in a mountain mushroom of a yurt above Bachelor Ski & Sport is the solo Dynastar Center on the West Coast with easy in and out options. It’s only $15 for four hours with a credit card deposit by 18 year old or older skiers. In 2000-2001 four flavors of comp skis with Look bindings and L10 Race and AC Series Lange boots were the options.

The Snowboard Demo Center offers boots, boards and bindings at the same rates with up to three different models and two days of demo credit towards purchase.

The High Performance Demo Center supplies Burton, K2, MLY, Rossignol and Sims demos at approximately the same rates as above.

The Cross Country Center offers skate ski rental packages at $20 for adults and $9 for children and classic ski rentals for $14. Telemark skis rent for $25 and adults can runt pulk sleds to pull rug runners along the trails.

As usual rentals in Bend at shops such as Skjersaa’s Ski Shop and Board Barn or Powder House Ski Shop area bit less expensive than at-the-hill rentals, but if you need a replacement or repair helps a shuttle going and a shuttle coming or a pay a fee at the Bachelor Ski and Sport Repair Center.

There are, of course, both ski and board shops that sell gear and goodies at Mt. Bachelor and Sunriver Resort. TIP: at the end of the season Play it Again Sports 4 & Snowshoes, like most other rental shops, offers good deals in used equipment.

NOTE: Ratings are about right with a deduction for the sometimes variable ability and effort of the mostly weekend help.

Lift Facelities

Seven high-speed Quads -- Sunrise Express, New Summit Express, Skyliner Express, Sunshine Accelerator, Pine Mountain Express, Outback Express and Northwest Expersss -- with some help from three triple chairs – Rainbow Chair, Carousel and Red Chair -- and a couple of surface lifts – East and West Martee -- do a good enough job to have captured the #1 lift facility rating in the US two years in a row. The hot number is the Northwest Express Quad that’s never crowded and offers a choice of two-mile long expert and intermediate runs. Outback Express, that dumps out just above Pine Marten, the mid-mountain resort is another wonderful way to avoid crowds and spend time over in the trees.

The only lifts that ever seem to collect lines, and short ones, are the Pine Martin Express up from the West Village parking area and the Sunrise Express that’s the nearest lift top to the bottom of the new Summit Express Quad that now zooms to the top in 4 minutes, 50 seconds compared to the old far from pokey six minutes. Locals use the Skyliner Express from near the Junior Racing center and warm their legs up on the last half of summit crossover before hitting the crest. Tip: the triples are slower, but less crowded.

It’s probably important to note that there are no green runs off Summit, Outback or Northwest Express lifts. It’s necessary to note that Mt. Bachelor also sells a lift ticket rated by points based on lift selection so that when you run out of points, your ticket stops working at the lifts. This can be an inexpensive option for a group or family of “two run” skiers. Programming a "point pass" Swatch does beat the old “ticket in the gate” at the lift dance that some complain about.

There’s an all-year lift to the summit for the scenery buff and mountain bikers.

Lift Tickets

Prices seem lower here than at California resorts such as Squaw Valley or Mammoth and given the size of the mountain – lifts cover about 270 degrees – they offer solid value.

Basic lift tickets run $43, but with a $20 Mt. Bachelor Express Pass tickets are $5 off, every fifth ski day is free, and there’s a 10% rebate on mountain products and services. Then too, Oregon has no sales tax, so visitors save 6% or more. Multi-day tickets offer the usual savings for two days, and the 3 of 5, 4 of 6, 5 of 7 and other split tickets improve savings and increase off-mountain options on less-than-great snow days. The usual child, student and senior tickets are offered. Adaptive skiers pay $24 a day and there’s an attractive lower lift special at $27. Discounts and multi-day passes aren’t available from December 23 through New Years Day.

There are also Alpine Point tickets – 200 points for $45 and 400 points for $89 – that are both transferable and good for three seasons from the date of purpose. These are extremely good values for mixed groups of casual skiers or those who visit a couple of times a season. With Alpine points Carrousel lift runs 13 points, most beginners and some intermediate lifts run 16 to 18 points and Northwest, Outback, Pine Marten, Skyliner and Summit Express top out at 20 points.

While some complain about inserting tickets into gates, this does allow the resort to check on skier movements and improve services. There’s a Swath option for the point tickets as well. Credit cards are accepted with automatic teller machines in West Village and Sunrise lodge for a 50-cent service charge.

Season Passes start at with an early season $775 and run up to $998, with special midweek Alpine Passes and 10-day mini alpine passes and other special offers. Cross-country runs $11 a day with discounts available and a season top of $234. All the usual discounts obtain for children, seniors, toddlers and family cross-country and downhill rates. Alpine tickets can be exchanged at the Cross-country center for a trail pass, clinic and equipment x-c package any day before noon; so if winds howl, hide down the hill in the trees.

Note: Swatch Watches can be programmed for daily, multi-day and Express Pass tickets too.

Main Category: Other Outdoors Activities

There’s wonderful off-track cross-country, sleigh rides, hayrides, snowshoeing and an exceptionally good dog sled operation here. The many lava tubes add spelunking options. Seasonal climbing on sometimes friable volcanic rock is available. Aquatic options sing. Fishing for trout is good year round. Nearby reservoirs such as Crane Prairie are amazing, and Oregon’s steelhead, and smallmouth bass fishery on the Deschutes and other rivers is world famous. Canoe, kayak and rafting is best from March to June on mild to wild waters.

There are over 20 golf courses, herds of dude ranches, schools of fishing guides and river rafters and so much else within 50 miles that, at times, it seems half of California is here for vacation or, to local’s dismay, exploring relocation.

Cross-Country Skiing Tracked

The resort claims their season “is North America’s longest” and the track system does do a better job than most cross-country resorts in separating beginners, intermediates and experts even though the last must navigate a two-way blue stretch before diving down into the expert trail net.

Grooming seems good and the rental lodge serves up standard Rossignol skate and classic ski rentals plus a decent assortment of other cross-country gear. There’s fee waxing and two free waxing areas and a $2 discount daily and fifth day free Bachelor Express Pass option.

While this isn’t a “world class” track system if compared to spots like Royal Gorge Nordic in California’s Donner Pass and other major areas as there’s only 56-kilometers of decently set track, limited two way track sets, only a couple of shelters and no water on tracks, it may be a good thing that some “K’s” may be counted twice on the 56-kilometer system. It’s okay for casual x-c in a protected environment.

Sunriver sets mostly flat and forgiving tracks with a river and a mountain view when there’s adequate snow cover, otherwise it’s hiking and, in spots, in-line skate time.


The wonderful country towards Broken Top and the Three Sisters, and during the middle of winter, even down along the Deschutes Rivers offers some of the best off track skiing in America for those with the proper gear, snow survival skills and considered track selection.

The Deschutes National Forest marks trails and it’s wise to check trail maps and area ski guides to see exactly where x-c skiers can slide and glide away from the snowmobile set. More experienced skiers might consider skiing 10 miles into Elk Lake Resort where hearty food and comfortable cabins wait those prepared enough to research a season ahead of their stay. Very fit, experienced skiers can make this in a day.

Note: If you plan to park your own car at trailheads you need a Sno-Park permit ($2.50 day/$10.50 season) available from most ski shops and tourism centers.


Fantastic Adventures Bend runs the snowmobile operations for the Inn or the 7th Mountain and Mt. Bachelor. So they’re probably the best way to sample the “snow roarers” – well, they’re not as noisy as years back.

Guided trips tend to be on the mild, rather than the wild side, but more experienced riders can rent equipment and extend trips into hills, bowls and even overnights into the backcountry with camps at lodges. The service desk at Mt. Bachelor or Inn of the 7th Mountain, Moon County Snowmobilers (389-5470) can set up short and long trips. Snowmobile shops in Bend can offer trail advice and other options.

Since most higher elevation roads close during winter they provide a wonderful wide base for several hundred miles of snowmobile roads and trails. Nearly 200 miles of groomed trails seem a good way to start. Dutchman’s Flat and the mid-Cascade Highway, Newberry Crater over in Paulina Lakes and, a bit further out, Creeks Lake Road south of sisters are all solid choices. Sno-park permits are required if you bring your own – see any ski shop. Wagona up on the Cascade Lakes Highway may collect the biggest number of snowmobiles and, in the middle of the day, empty trailers anywhere.

Is snowmobiling an option here? Is it easier/harder to go snowmobiling here compared to other resorts? How would a guest rent a snowmobile? Can they snowmobile nearby or do they have to travel farther out? Would they have to sign up for a backcountry day trip?

Ice Climbing

Smith Rock State Park is a world-class choice for rock climbs and bouldering. There’s additional snow and winter mountain climbing towards Broken Top and the Three Sisters as well as on Mt. Hood and other Cascade peaks. However, cinder cones tend to be uniform and pumice, tufa and other volcanic rocks do not always hold pitons and such as well as clean Sierra granite. So take care, having a handhold come off in one’s hand or popping a line of pitons isn’t always fun.

Ice climbing also requires, very specific, very current local knowledge plus the usual winter backcountry survival skills. Vertical Ventures International in Bend (389-7937), or First Ascent Climbing School & Guide Services (389-7937) offer instruction, guiding and equipment. However, rock climbing, not ice climbing, is the world class option here in the summer.

YEP, A 3, at least for rock climbing, but you can still find ice.


There are countless spots to tube and toboggan but most either walk up the hill, use autos to drive up along Century Drive or over passes to the Sisters or Eugundor, not always the safest method, drag tubers up the hill with snowmobiles. All of the local ski shops can steer tubers and toboggan types to spots in and around town where local kids and parents slide out tube and toboggan tracks.

Ice Skating/Ice Hockey

If you stay at the Inn of the 7th Mountain offers a man-made rink – well it’s a roller rink come April to November -- with private lessons and a bit of broom hockey. There’s a $20 package deal that included ice-skating before or after dinner and the movie and skiers should note that their package rate includes both a shuttle to Mt. Bachelor and a Nordic Area Ski pass. Otherwise, the small fee seems a good deal.

Blue Lake Resort near Sisters has a covered outdoor rink with rentals, but Shevlin Park Pond 4 miles to the west, is the choice for Bend skaters. It offers rentals and charges a small fee. Do check to see it’s frozen (389-PARK)

If ice fails, there’s a Bend Roller Hockey League with all age play and open skating at the Juniper Park Inn of the 7th mountain, and a May to October rink with rentals in Bend too.

Sleigh Riding

Inn of the 7th Mountain offers both short sleigh tours do delight kids and special sleigh ride dinners. Saddleback Stables at Sunriver Resort has additional sleigh rides, plus rental horses. Both venues offer hay rides as well. Prices are in the $10 to $40 range, and the program starts when snow falls and skiers gather. There are hay and carriage rides during summer months as well.

Mt. Bachelor’s Oregon Trail of Dreams Sled Dog Rides are world-class. Kid’s adore the 10 minute daily rides for small fry under 80 pounds that run $10. Standard rides can include care and feeding of dogs and run an hour with a 450 pound weight maximum at $60 per adult and $30 per child under 80 pounds. After sample rides, Husky-buffs can schedule a Marathon 26-mile ride to Elk Lake and back for $375. It’s only for adults, the weight limit is 350 pounds and it’s only available mid-week and non-holiday. Dog sled options run two point better than sleigh rides rated below until April.

Snow Hiking

There are hundreds of miles of hiking trails in the Deschutes National Forest and offices in Bend and in the Sisters, as well as the Central Oregon Welcome Center and activities desk at Mt. Bachelor can show you what’s open where. Sunriver has a 30-mile trail network along the Deschutes River, as well as a jogging trail. Other possibilities include the Deschutes River Trail in Bend’s Sawyer Park, Mt Bachelor Villages 2.2 mile Cascade Lakes nature trail. Smith Rock State Park has interesting trails as well. Access obviously depends on snow levels and snow hikers, like snowshoers need to keep an eye on the weather. You can even, up on the mountain, find some often rocky and sometimes icy in the morning snow hiking in summer.


Snowshoeing, always popular in the Deschutes Mountain is now available at Mt. Bachelor with all day and afternoon rentals. First timers who do not wish to walk like parenthesis at the end of the day should try a couple of hours in the afternoon on reasonable packed snow. However, rentals in town are a bit less expensive, and there are extensive free trails and usually marked trails in the Deschutes Mountains off several passes and the scenic – check the Forest Service for information and trail maps. There is also a separate snowshoe operation in Sunriver along the flat and easy meadows of their cross-country system.

Snowshoe nature walks with supplied shoes last and hour and cover a mile from the Bachelor Ski and Sport shop in West Village. Dress warmly, wear snowboots and get there at 10am or 1:30pm on holidays, weekends and during Christmas season.

Wanderlust Tours in Bend offers guided three-hour half-day tours morning and afternoon at $32 per person, but, with good timing to hit the full moon, their $40 moonlight tour provides the more indelible memories. All of these finish up with hot chocolate and marshmallows!

The most indelible memories of all are of their overnight wilderness camping trip sleeping out in a snow cave, that’s also a great way to learn survival skills. Rental gear is available too. It’s $225 a person and $345 by dogsled.

The easy way to start on your own is from the Mt. Bachelor Cross Country Center and the “common corridor” the public access route that gets you to the map board on the other side of the snowed-in Cascade Lakes Highway. There are a great many possibilities with the circumnavigation of Todd Lake a good 6.8 three hour choice that’s reasonable flat and separated from the snowmobile set.

Staying on the flat and in the trees avoids avalanche problems that can obtain on the steep. Trying to avoid snowmobiles is always a good idea and, after a heavy snow, clumping along away from the pines that can dump “snow bombs” from high branches is a best bet. Tours and excursions with guides are sometimes scheduled through Bend Alpine shops, Mazamas, a Portland Outdoor Club, and local resorts.

It’s also possible to “shoe up and ski down” safe slopes. For those with reasonable avalanche avoidance and self-rescue skills the backcountry towards the Three Sisters offers some of the most scenic shoe routes such as the 13 mile shot to Elk Lake overnights. Just go in a group of at least three -- one hurt, one to stay and one to go for help – and register routes with the rangers.

A few locals train by running on snowshoes, and the Lycra-clad hardbodies show up for the Red Feather Citizen’s Races in January and February, but there’s snow to shoe most of the year at altitude for those with their own gear and the ability to shoe on considered corn between the ice and slush zones.

Main Category: Children

Mt. Bachelor collects a greater percentage of family skiers than many resorts because of its support of local ski teams, and proximity to Portland. If it had on-slope lodging it would define “kid-friendly.” The two Martee lifts and Carousel three person chair access the best “kinderski” areas. Summer skiing gets steeper and tougher as the snow line moves up the mountain.

However, parents who plan – a rental car is a good base – can enjoy their own ski day without getting bogged down in shuttles and such. The shuttle bus system seems kid friendly with transfers to the Inn of the 7th Mountain and Mr. Bachelor Lodge particularly recommended..


Daycare at Mt. Bachelor is, of course state-licensed with children 6 weeks to 29 months enjoying a staff to child ratio of 1 to 4. Children 30 months or older have a staff ratio of 1 to 10. There are separate operations at West Valley Lodge and Sunrise Lodge.

There’s a two-hour minimum fee of $10 for drop-ins if space is available. Day rates run $40 for children under 29 months and younger, and $35 otherwise. Box lunches run $5 extra. Reservations are recommended.

Children three and up can, if properly dressed, enjoy a $20 snow play introduction to snow, and children four years and up can add ½ day lesson with lunch for $80.00 plus rentals.

Children adore the Fantastic Museum and Fun Center up in Redmond with the usual go-carts, bumper boats, video games and more. However, the Funny Farm in Bend is a lot closer. The live animals at the High Desert Museum are a hit as are the tours of Halligan’s Juniper Lane Llamas in Redmond. There’s miniature golf at the Fantastic Museum and Fun Center and at Sunriver as well.


The guaranteed results lesson system is just that. So kids learn at their own pace.

Off the mountain there are so many activities that many family visitors most enjoy spring skiing when one can ski the morning and golf, boat or fish in the afternoon.

Main Category: Après Ski

Skiers tend to bail for Bend and the Deschutes Brewery, or stop for a quick drink at the bottom of the hill, after the lifts close at four to let the traffic clear a bit. In fact, smart skiers start early and leave before the day end traffic down Century Drive. This is easier on Weekends a few lifts open as early as eight in the morning.

Bend is one of the best areas of the West for varied après-ski activities and, in particular, families, and it may be even better in the summer months. There is nothing, from hot air balloon rides to whitewater rafting that’s not available here where the mountains transition into the Great Basin.

Best of all prices seem reasonable, and there’s no state sales tax in Oregon either. Friendly locals and incredible scenery offer a solid package. Drawbacks? It’s a bit awkward to fly into Bend, and the lack of on-slope lodging disturbs some, but the opportunity to factor in world-class fishing and great golf in the afternoon after a morning on the mountain ranks high with visitors who tend to say “I go to Mt Bachelor/Bend” rather than “I’ve been there.”

Dining Out


Mt. Bachelor restaurants are really breakfast and lunch spots as everyone bails off the mountain when lifts close at 4pm. Given this the resort deserves its top 25 on slope food rating. Pine Martenat mid-mountain is the food center, and the upper end is the Skiers Palate Restaurant with appetizers, daily specials and deserts that reflect the Northwest. Pine Marten Grill’s broiler, deli and Yakisoba bar opens earlier, stays open later, and costs lots less. The food, and particularly the homemade soup is better at Scapolo’s a better lunch and a lousy pun – the name’s Italian for bachelor. Microbrews are less expensive in Bend. Pinnacles Espresso and Smoothie Bar delivers what its name suggests.

In the West Village Lodge and Sunrise Lodge things run to buffets and fairly standard ski hill items. There are more items, like “stew in a bread bowl” in the café in the Cross Country center. As usual – why else would ski gear have pockets? -- It’s possible to save lots of money by brown bagging from or eating in Bend.


While Bend has at least one, and usually two or more of every fast food option known to man, and there are someesurprisingly good restaurants tucked away in town and at some of the nearby resorts. Comparing dinner choices seems a typical conversation topic on the shuttle buses and lifts! Best of all most Bend restaurants are nonsmoking.

The Broken Top Club at its namesake golf course is worth the cab or drive out and a window seat at dusk is worth reserving far ahead as the sun sets over the Three Sisters and Broken Top. Food here runs to northwest salmon, wonderful duck and other upscale dishes. Sunriver Resort—Meadows at the Lodge is 4-star with prices to match.

The Crossings at the Riverhouse in Bend is right on the Deschutes River and a favorite for their USDA prime beef right from the Chicago’s Stockyards. The monster prime rib at Pine Tavern Restaurant at Mirror Pond also suits carnivores, and they serve apple butter with their rolls.

The best Italian food in the area could be at Guiseppe’s Restaurant in Bend where the veal is particularly good and the kid’s menu won’t bust budget, or Marcello’s out in Sunriver where the polenta and other Tuscan Treats delight. The best Bavarian food may be Axel’s Black Forest & Bisto for the affordable bratwurst and potato pancakes and sauerbraten seem to better reflect the owner’s heritage. There are an International choices everywhere in Bend too.

Light isn’t exactly the mode in Bend as Honker’s rum butter cake or just about any desert out of the Riverhouse testifies. While the brews are the thing at the Deschutes Brewery, their dinners deserve a try too. Not a bad place to stay for dancing or, for that matter, to stay in town.

Finally, for the non smoking set Toomies Thai Cruisine offers romantic service with Sunday and Tuesday night classical and jazz piano.

Cafes/Pastry Shops

On the Hill Scapolo’s Bistro is doubtless the best value with decent Italian food.

Bend’s best and most affordable food may be in it’s wonderful cafés. So breakfast in Bend early and while others snuggle up to their lattes you can fire up the hill. Besides, cafes in town are better and less expensive. For example, The Alpenglow Café serves huge homemade breakfasts through lunch and everything, but the coffee is made in house. Salmon Eggs Benedict toped with café-smoked salmon covers two muffins. Those with normal, as opposed to après-ski appetites might consider splitting one of these and adding on some of the wonderful potato pancakes only as needed.

The best café in Bend is definitely the dinky Café’ Rosemary’s that’s rather more expensive than the Alpenglow but a favorite for lunch or dinner. It’s rather more than the typical café with some splendid prix fixe dinners, and popular enough to so reservations are recommended. Tip: if you can’t get in they do takeout.

On Mt Bachelor you can grab a sandwich or stew in a bowl at the café in the Mt. Bachelor Nordic Center or enjoy a pastry and an espresso or pastry at Pinnacles at Pine Marten Lodge on the hill or try one of the other cafes, but it’s better in Bend.

Clubs and Bars

There's really no lively club or bar at the mountain as everyone leaves when the lifts close at four. Not to worry, western, wild and wooly, quiet, rock and roll, party hearty and bars of other flavors dot Bend with things starting about 8pm, but folks either work early here or ski all day and so the action ebbs early.

Do realize that DUI in Oregon is a fairly low .08 and brewpubs serve serious beer in pints and consider a cab or designated driver. Clubs and bars do come and go and the best current information may be on the shuttle bus or a shared lift when “Where’d you go/eat last night” is the typical icebreaker.

Rockin’ Billy’s even has cages for disco dancers and most slide in just before the 9pm $3 cover charge starts to pay the DJ’s rock. Tumalo Feed Company runs to Thurday to Saturday nights country and western to draw local cowboys and urban wanna’ be’s. Hongry hands find big steaks, ribs, beans and other cowpoke vittles.

Those into pierced body parts and tattoos find music to match on weekends at the Evil Sister Saloon in Bend where the $3 to $9 cover charge is repaid in odd sights, strange colored hair and studs and chains in places unmentionable in the family press.

For English Pubs it’s the Aviemore Arms Pub and Grill with eight beers, superior fish and chips and music. Locals play on Saturday at a $3 cover, but the treat, if it’s scheduled, is theThursday Celtic music. Deschutes Brewery and Public House is the traditional choice in Bend that mobs up on the weekends and on Monday bargain nights. Honkers is lost in the 1915 Mill A building with a great fireplace and good pub grub.

Non-smokers do well in Café’ Paradiso where there are Friday night one act plays of assorted, sometimes, ill-assorted species at $5 each. Saturdays groups play here so drop by, listen up and pay the $2 to $3 cover. Thursday is open mike night with music and such sometimes overpriced at a buck. Think college overlaid with leftover hippies and such. No smoke at Roshambo with bands from 10pm on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights.

Contra Dancing suits the folk dance set on the second and third Saturday of the month.


Bend has dozen or more screens with all sorts of first run and the odd art or foreign language film. Ski films festivals are at Mt. Bachelor once or twice a year, but there are no movies otherwise.

Performing Arts

There’s nothing much in the way of performing arts at Mt. Bachelor when you compare it to resorts such as Squaw Valley, Vail or Sun Valley. There are too many performing arts events to count in and around Bend. There’s a Central Oregon Concert Band and s Symphony Orchestra’s winter concert series, Big Band’s 18 jazz musicians, the Cascade Chorale with 120 singers, the week-long Cascade Festival of Music around Labor Day, and all sorts of live bar and club music from Celtic, rock, disco, steel drums, acid rock and more. The Obsidian Opera even offers Grand Opera excerpts.

Local actors give six plays a year in Bend – Arthur Miller’s Enemy of the People, Neil Simon’s Lost in Yonkers are but two examples. There are at least a couple of dinner theater performances each year and brown bag lunch-hour plays every third Friday from October through Jun in the 130-seat Greenwood Street Theater. On the other Friday nights the Café Paradiso’s Paridiso Players offer sometimes strange but usually interesting avant-garde plays for a $3 cover charge. Bend Theater for Young People offers children’s acting classes and special midwinter and Christmas performances for children. While none of these are at the level you’d enjoy in major cities, all are good fun and worth the generally modest prices.

Main Category: Other Attractions

Stay in Bend and there’s plenty to do off the slopes. Shopping is first class without any sales tax and widely discounted in the big shopping mall. There are at least a dozen museums and other attractions within an hour of Bend, and year round fishing, horseback riding and a host of other Western activities can take up any slack. Sunriver offers 54 fine holes of golf and 20 or so other courses are nearby.

In late spring, and sometimes early in the season, the scenic circle round the 100 miles or so of the Cascade Lakes highway offer major views, fine fishing, boating, backpacking and climbing and much else. Alternative attractions do peak in the summer.

Festivals and Events

There’s really nothing in the festival line up on Mt. Batchelor save for a few ski events and the odd fund raiser.

Snow Events and Festivals Include:

Hoodoo Ski Area February Winter Festival.
Bend Winterfest with snow and ice carving, competitions, fireworks and more in early February·
Salomon Oasis test rides of new boards and skis around April 1st·
Pole Pedal Paddle and alpine ski, x-c ski, bike, run, kayak and sprint fundraiser in May.

Oregon “oddments” include:

· Collage of Culture in Madras that combines Native American, Hispanic and other cultures in May. First Friday Art Walk the first Friday in the month in Bend from 5 to 9pm.· 59th Annual Sisters Rodeo in June.
Crooked River Roundup a major rodeo in Prineville in early July·
Cascade Cycling Classic of cycling stages including evening criterion races in July.
Walk the Art Beat poetry, art and music in Redmond in July·
Dufur’s Threshing Bee and Parade in August.
The Sunriver Music Festival in mid-August and four other months.· Cascade Festival of Music in Bend’s Drake park in September.
Obsidian Opera performances of Grand Opera in English at the Riverhouse Restaurant in April and September.
Much Much else call 800-547-7842 for a complete list. Excursions

Fun trips to the Sisters to see the Museum of the Fantastic and more llamas than you’d see in Peru, or a jaunt down to the Lava Lands Visitor Center and the Lava River Cave and Lava Cast forests which offer interesting attractions for those with flashlights who aren’t claustrophobic. Smith Rock State Park just north of Redmond’s Airport may be the best rock climbing in the area. You may find it looks familiar, as it was the site of the Kevin Costner film, The Postman.


Shopping ranges from at least five malls including a large outlet operation with the usual assortment of Polo, Bass and other clothing and oddments, to a monster Barnes and Noble bookstore. You can buy just about anything in Bend, the major shopping center of between Portland and Sacramento. Shops on the slopes and in the resorts are, of course, “touristy.” Downtown Bend and the discount malls aim at locals and offer major savings on cold and wet weather clothing with great seasonal sales of ski and outdoor gear. Carved wood from the Oregon Coast, Native American handicrafts, and fine arts and crafts from the huge number of local artists and craftspeople are best buys too.

This, and no Oregon sales tax, tends to burn plastic at a great rage so an extra empty duffle bag may be handy. Such is particularly the case at early season ski sales and at the end of the season when the rental gear gets sold for major discounts. Smaller alpine shops that turn to water activities, backpacking, climbing and fly flinging in the summer offer particularly deep discounts as few have enough capital to hold ski gear until the snow falls.


Spas come in all flavors in and near Bend. Try Oasis Spa, Face-to-Face, Perfect Massage Associates, or Muscle Menders Massage in Bend. Massages in sever forms including Thai, Trager, Reflexology(foot) and other flavors domestic and exotic are easy to get here as Central Oregon Community college offers a two year Associate of Applied Science Degree in Massage Therapy The Soul Spa B&B for example, packages up a massage and two days personal life coaching.

In nearby Redmond’s about fifteen minutes north of Bend Eagle Crest Resort serves up Seaweed Body Masks, facials, manicures pedicures and the other services you expect from a full-service spa.

Tourist Attractions

South of Bend, the High Desert Museum’s wonderful exhibits in the Brooks Gallery offer an artist’s look at the high desert and that’s just one of the attractions on 20-acre of exhibits, in 40,000 square feet of museum on 120-acres jammed with things like a porcupine and birds of prey exhibits and an underwater look at sinuous river otters. The Earle A. Chiles Center on the Spirit of the West shows what it was like for Native Americans, 49ers and fur traders. The $20 million Hall of Plateau Indians wing also includes one of the better bookstores and a café that’s probably needed after a complete walk-round. There’s a working sawmill, October cider exhibit and much, much more. It’s a wonderful $6.25 investment.

The Deschutes Historical Museum in downtown Bend in the last building in Bend built of pink volcanic tuff – a stone so soft you could handsaw it – hold far more exhibits on three floors than most have time to see, but for $2.50 a quick graze through offers good value.

There are at least a dozen of small, historic towns with strange attractions such as the Museum of the Fantastic in the Sisters with Elvis’ Bus, Ty Cobb’s glove and Hitler’s Stamp Collection.


All lodging, due to Forest Service restrictions, is off the mountain, but most people can find something to suit with nearly 6,000 beds available in local resorts and in and around Bend. Most resorts offer Mt. Bachelor shuttle service, and one of the nearest lodgings is the Inn of 7th Mountain with modestly-priced condos – for can share a fireside suite at $40 each a night – running to a heated swimming pool, Jacuzzis, ice skating and more.

Sunriver, an upscale golf and recreation community about 18 miles from the mountain has Lodge Village rentals at a slightly higher rate and a choice of rental houses. There’s 54holes of golf at the home of Golf Digest’s golf schools at their Meadows course, a top 25 rated Woodlands course designed by Robert Trent Jones, Jr., seasonal cross-country skiing on the Sunriver meadows, rafting, canoeing and fishing the river and a choice of other recreational activities. There’s even a private airstrip for general aviation visitors.

Mt. Bachelor Village Resort is only 20 minutes away from the Mt. Bachelor with solid rooms, loft condos, one and two bedroom condos and, at River Ridge, three bedroom executive rooms. There’s a pool, the local Awbery Glen Golf Club and 20 championship gold courses within a reasonable distance and more fly and other fishing than anyone without gills needs. This is rather a quiet spot and, those who don’t want to drive to dinner in Bend can simply walk over to Scanlon’s at the adjacent Bend Athletic Club. It’s in the Sunriver price range as is Riverhouse mentioned below.

In Bend lodging ranges from the most inexpensive motel chains through more upscale hotels. There are B&Bs, RV parks – note that RVs can park for five nights in a row at Mt. Bachelor if they are occupied and get a permit – campgrounds and more. The Riverhouse offers solid lodging and food options and Bend shuttles are available by arrangement. The Mill Inn B&B is but one of many affordable lodgings that offer amenities like deck Jacuzzis, wax and tuning benches, ski and board storage, refrigerators and microwaves and more in the old Mill District in Bend.

Oregon State campgrounds are the best in the west and run to heated toilets and the chance to rent Yurts (semispherical huts), teepees and chuck wagons.

All of these options deserve solid fives save during the crowded holiday season if you grant that on slope lodgings are impossible.


English, at least if you don’t count “Aussie,” as a foreign language is about it. Most years there are one or more Germans, French, Portuguese, Spanish, Italian and perhaps Japanese speakers on staff, and there are a number of foreign students from Oregon State and the University of Oregon on the slopes, but this isn’t really the kind of international resort to offer multilingual services. Email request for translation services or foreign speaking ski instructors are advised.

Time Zone

Pacific Coast Time three hours earlier than the East Coast

Tourist Information/Traveler Support

If it’s not available at Mt. Bachelor it’s certainly available in Bend that’s the main shopping and services center for the Central Oregon plateau country with massive information services. Oregon may be the best state in the US for tourist information – “Visit often, spend money, go home” is the plan, but vast numbers of Californian’s move north.

The Bend Chamber of Commerce, Mt, Bachelor Ski and Summer Resort (800) 829-2442, Central Oregon Visitors Association 8000800-8334 and others can help.


Shuttle buses handle transportation needs well in the resort, and town and resort shuttles may run a bit slower on weekends and holidays, but resort shuttle trundle by every five or ten minutes, and town and resort shuttles are rarely more than a 15 minute wait. This may be longer if your Bend lodgings offer pickups. City Cab and Bend Cab companies are a possibility as well, it"s just $2 to Bend and $2.50 to Sunriver with seasonal shuttle passes $50.

Rental cars are, of course, an option in Bend or at the Redmond or even Portland Airports. They are cheaper in Bend where cabs around town are affordable and the nightlife seems a bit friskier than at resorts that attract an older group.

Overall Safety

Oregon’s high plains country has a very low crime rate even in towns, and almost no crime away from the Interstates. One local suggested, “Folks would have to be stupid to break in when so many people have deer rifles.” Mt. Bachelor is isolated away from casual criminals. Even so it’s wise not to leave gear unlocked or lying about to tempt the unwary. Car break-ins and missing ski gear are the largest, if minor problems.


There are first aid stations on the hill at Pine Martin and, at the base at Sunrise Lodge, West Village Day Lodge and the Cross-Country Lodge with a Mountain Medical Clinic run by a private physician’s group on weekends and holidays next door to handle any larger problems. Bend offers a full-service hospital and specialists less than a half hour away.

In addition, Air Life of Oregon offers Bell 222UT helicopter and two Platus PC-12 if needed to “fly people out to the nearest medically appropriate facility.”

International Media

Bend offers a small town paper, the Portland Oregonian is available and, of course there’s cable TV with all the usual sports and other channels.

Spanish radio shows and TV aren’t unknown and public radio and TV offers French, German, Filipino, Cantonese and Vietnamese shows from time to time. There may be foreign languages newspapers and magazines from time to time in Bend, but Central Oregon is hardly a linguistic melting pot. So visitors are advised to bring their own reading material, videos or DVDs.

Level Of Crowd

Except for the morning rush up the hill, and the traffic out Century Drive at the end of the day there’s little sense of crowding save, perhaps, on the bunny slopes on holiday weekends.

Compared to other ski areas with the same amount of skiable terrain, Mt. Bachelor is nearly deserted save for college and other holidays and weekends. Even then the only lifts that collect longer lines are Sunrise express and the New Summit Express – the latter may open later than other lifts as there may be some “pruning” required in the Cirque early in the day. The Pine Martin Express also gets traffic early in the day when skiers rush to get up the hill. However, Both Outback and Northwest Express lifts rarely collect lines. Lines for valet parked vehicles are usually longer.

On the odd big weekend a judicious choice of routes to avoid lifts that collect skiers from several runs can improve chances. For example, Rainbow Chair takes longer to get up the hill than the adjacent Sunrise Express, but it rarely collects lines and offers a quick green swoop back over to the New Summit Express. The other triple, Red Chair, is equally traffic free. Note that slower chairs up the hill with no lines can rest afternoon legs better than standing for ten minutes to zip up the hill. Brown bagging “chair lunches” lets you ski when crowds may be standing in line at food stands and restaurants too!

Rent A Car?

Car rentals seem wise as it’s 15 to 30 minutes from the slopes down to Bend, and Bend restaurants and watering holes are scattered. Besides, there’s so much else to see and do in the lava country that wheels are a must. For example, winter steelheading is a joy on the Deschutes that, by April offers some mannerly whitewater and much else. Visits to Crater Lake, or the drive over the hill to the Willamette Valley also require rental wheels. So does bailing to one of the several ski areas on Mt. Hood, should Mt. Bachelor not suite.

As a result many visitors who fly into Portland, the closest international airport, rent a car there and drive down. Otherwise rental cars are available at the Bend regional airport from Avis, Budget, Enterprise, Hertz and National. Those who don’t rent can use City or Bend Cab companies.

Travel Time From Arrival Airports

Bend’s Regional Airport in Redmond is 16 miles from Bend with direct flights on 36-place aircraft from Seattle, Portland and San Francisco. It’s a half hour to bend and another half hour or so to the mountain. Those who stay in town can use the Sunriver Shuttle for $2,50 or the Bend Shuttle bus for $2.00.

The nearest international airport is in Portland, 150 miles away with a choice of routes to bend. The most reliable route with snow, if slightly longer, it to drive along the Columbia River’s scenic canyon to The Dalles with its dam, and then head south on Highway 197 and 97 to Madras and Bend.

The route from Portland that runs along the fringe of Mt. Hood, with its five ski areas via Highway 26 is scenic and can be interesting in the snow. Depending on the season, it’s also possible to reach Bend from Northern California on one long day’s drive of 12 hours or so.

At least three separate routes from the Willamette Valley’s Salem, the state capital and the college towns of Corvallis and Eugene offer scenic options if the roads are open.

“Planephobes” aren’t left out, AMTRACK runs into Chemult, 60 freeway miles south of Bend, and there’s Greyhound Service into Bend as well.

To What Goup Of Travelers Would This Destination Appeal?
Solo travelers

The separation between lodgings, nightlife and slopes offers logistic problems if potential partners well met on the slopes end up in widely separated resorts. Action here divides fairly evenly between families and singles in groups from the University of Oregon, Oregon State and Portland’s dot.coms and professions. It’s best for the under 30 set, but not up to the action at resorts such as Whistler, Squaw Valley or Vail.

Romantic Partners

A suite with a fireplace at the Inn of the 7th Mountain or a cozy private home at Sunriver with mountain and river views need only some champagne and a romantic partner. Jacuzzis on the deck at Mt. Bachelor Village can lead to interesting possibilities.

A Group Of Friends

Groups of condos or a big rental house at Sunriver can provide a firm base for a flock of friends who want to bond and there’s plenty of restaurants and watering holes available, as well as all sorts of grocery stores in Bend for the DIY cook set. Since so many of the lifts run past Pine Marten it’s fairly easy to stay in touch on the hill as well.

Families (both with small children or a family of all adults)

Child care on the hill seems average, and the excellent children’s ski school can keep the small fry glued in view at the bottom of the hill. There’s a competition program for the more advanced youngster too. Home and condo rentals suit family groups and spots like Sunriver offer plenty of diversions off the snow, and with a trip to the local market, considerable food savings. The only problem is logistics. All adult families might consider a second car.

Without some planning you can spend a lot of time going or coming from the slopes with the small fry. The best choice may be an RV in the parking lot and Mt. Bachelor’s one of the most RV friendly ski resorts in the United States.

Group Travelers (Clubs or Organizations)

Like families and friends the logistics between lodgings and the slopes are the only drawback. Mt. Bachelor’s ski group support system offers everything else. The area’s particularly good in November, as it opens well before most other mountains in the Northwest. After the middle of March when the 20 gold courses, excellent fishing and the many other activities out of the snow around Bend suit groups with mixed interests.

Groups who fly in should know that they can rent a luxury motor coach for up to 47 passengers from Portland at a bit over $800 each way. It’s 150 miles and about 3 ½ hours in reasonable winter conditions.