While other ski resorts across the country melt into a sponge of brown mank and lifts creak to a hard stop, the best skiing at Mt. Bachelor, Ore., has just begun.
Call it Bachelor’s Secret Season—both because of the sneaky nighttime storms that stealthily dump a glittering bluebird bounty, and because there’s no one there but you to plunder it. Come spring, you can skate through every liftline, chase the sun off the 360-degree summit from first to last chair, and then hit the mountain bike trails, river rafts, or brew pubs in the nearby town of Bend—appropriately dubbed the “outdoor capital of the West.”
With a consistent annual snowfall of nearly 500 inches (that’s 42 feet—taller than a four-story building), Bachelor has one of the longest seasons in the country. Closing day a glorious May 30—and nearly all of the mountain’s 4,323 skiable acres of terrain stay open until the bittersweet end. “We have more than 10 feet of snow on the ground,” said Dustin Fletcher, Bachelor’s brand and content manager. “All our runs are open, and the snow banks along the road are huge!”
Bachelor skis like a giant natural terrain park—with scalloped plates, wavy lips, powdery cups, and big dunes—and springtime is when it’s at its best. The soft, sun-warmed snow transforms runs that could otherwise be intimidating into a friendly surfer’s playground of banked turns, slush bumps, jibs, soft pillows, goat trails, and loop-de-loops. Or if you prefer purring through fresh corduroy, you’re in luck: Spring conditions allow the resort’s grooming crew to groom several runs and aspects off the 9,000-foot summit.
Have someone in your crew who’s not a downhill skier? Try other on-snow adventures like dogsledding or cross-country skiing on 56 kilometers of groomed Nordic trails. Or head just 20 miles to the idyllic town of Bend, where you can hit the 500-plus miles of world-class mountain biking dirt on Phils, Peterson Ridge, or Crater Rim. Or hire a raft guide from Sun Country Tours to take you down the rowdy class III rapids of the Deschutes River. Better yet, take an afternoon off for a brew-pub crawl. (We dare you to hit them all—Bend is one of the most brewery-dense towns in the country.) Here, spring is tantamount to fun for everyone.
Impossible that you would need more incentive, but try this on for size: New this season is the resort’s Gravity School, which offers four spots per instructor to work on whatever it is you’d like to get better at. Want to learn how to get air? Ski steeps? Carve instead of skid? Follow your kids into the terrain park? (To that end, Bachelor also boasts the only Woodward Mountain Park in the Pacific Northwest, with 15 zones ranging from first-time progression parks to a 22-foot superpipe.) No matter your goal, Gravity School has you covered. And, because the cost is defrayed across four skiers, it’s one of the most affordable resort programs in all of skidom.
Speaking of affordable, check out Bachelor’s (tongue-in-cheek) “slopeside lodging.” Part of Bachelor’s soulful charm is that it doesn’t have giant hotels with valet parking at its base. Instead, it carves out 50 RV and camper sites (20 with full power) in its parking lot, bringing a whole new meaning to “base camp.” And because spring temperatures make outdoor living so inviting, you can just get away with camping out of your VW bus, Sprinter Van, or your trusty Subaru.
Which brings us to yet another reason spring is so special here—the tailgate scene is all-time. People fire up grills, play tunes, throw frisbees, quaff beers, and let the dogs out to party. And though Bachelor’s usual Sunchaser Spring and Rendezvan concerts are on hold due to COVID, you can come get a taste of the scene and look ahead to coming back in Spring 2022.
So pack your rig, buy some new sunnies, and get ready for the best ski, er, multisport trip of your life. Just don’t forget the sunscreen.
Ikon Base Pass holders get five days of spring slaying at Bachelor. Non-pass holders can buy a spring-only pass for $299, which gives you unlimited days from March 27 through closing day on May 30 with no blackout dates. (Last we checked, that’s only a little more than a single day ticket at Deer Valley.) There are also no parking reservations required, with COVID restrictions lifted due to a drop in skier visits. (Silly skiers.) So you can come and go as freely as Bachelor’s notorious gray jays that swoop down to steal your fries.