From Portland, take Highway 26 southeast past Mount Hood, then head south on 97 to Bend.
Beta: Bend just held its inaugural film festival, yet the Sundance crowd will find no quarter in this humble Oregon outpost—or on its local mountain. The high-desert landscape is rugged and unpolished. The people need haircuts. And the mountain facilities are spartan. But who cares? You get to ski 360 degrees off a 10,000-year-old lava cone, including wide-open powder fields and secluded boulder gardens—all featuring the driest snow in the Northwest. Plus, Bendians are some of the friendliest people you'll meet. Rip a few back-side chutes with them, and it's entirely likely they'll invite you to crash on their sofa.
Powder DayThe Summit Express chair closes when Bachelor socks in. Cruise under the Outback Express and head for the black-barked hemlocks between the trails. If you're running before the lifts, skin up The Cindercone. It's short, but often catches the best powder on the mountain.
Three Days LaterFrom the top of Summit Express, slip between the ancient lava spires guarding the entrance to The Cirque Bowl, or traverse east and plunge down wind-buffed Cow's Face. Later, hit Flying Dutchman for lines down untracked ponderosa groves.
The RidingBachelor's Superpipe is the best in the Northwest; four terrain parks keep the rookies busy.
Proving Groundsmarquee route: From the Summit Express chair, skate to the West Ridge Run and drop onto 40-plus-degree steeps below. off-broadway: Head to the untouched wilderness off the mountain's back side for natural halfpipes, wind-scoured ridges, and unpopulated glades. Stay skier's right for steeper lines and less runout back to the chair.
Backcountry AccessCross the street to Mount Tumalo and skin up the jeep track to the quarter-million-acre Three Sisters Wilderness Area. Float the 40-degree, wind-protected powder glades hidden on the far side. Find avy info at fs.fed.us/r6/centraloregon.
WeatherPacific storms ring out west of the Cascades, leaving Bachelor with some of the driest snow around. December and January see rain and fog. Visit late spring (through Memorial Day), when April storms drop calf-deep powder and the sun is usually out by lunch. —Tom Colligan
Apres: Slather on sunscreen and sip a White Russian on the deck at the Castle Keep. Or drive down-mountain to the Lodge, a new brewpub on Century Drive, just outside Bend.
FuelStop at Big-O bagels on Galveston Street for an egg sandwich and a cup of dark roast. Later, try the way-cheap Parilla Grill for jambalaya burritos and dollar PBR pounders.
Up All NightBend just might have the country's highest per capita proliferation of brewpubs. Its first, the Deschutes Brewery, is on Bond Street. If shooters and shakin' it are more your style, try the Grove Cantina across the street.
DigsSunriver, a labyrinth of ski condos south of town, has maroon-colored hot tubs that practically sing you the old Lowenbrau jingle. Three-bedroom rentals start at $140 a night (800-544-0300). Two-bedroom lofts at the renovated Inn of the Seventh Mountain start at $165 (800-452-6810).