5 Local Tips on How to Maximize Enjoyment of a Mt. Bachelor, OR Powder Day

Jack Lafeman | | Featured ArticleFeatured Article
Mt. Bachelor, OR powder day.
Mt. Bachelor, OR powder day.

Mt. Bachelor, OR can get insane storms that often leave behind many feet of fresh powder. That’s why so many powder lovers move to Bend. They do everything they can to make it up for every good powder day of the season. Working a job that they have to be at until 2:00pm to ensure they can ski up every square inch of fresh powder in the morning. In some cases they just have a cool boss that just lets the ski addicts be “sick” when the good storms hit.

With all of these powder hounds packing into the parking lot at 8:00am, it can sometimes be tough to get a lot of good runs in one day at this magnificent ski area.

Here are 5 Tips to Follow for Your Next Mt. Bachelor Powder Day:

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#1.  Start Early at West Village Lodge:

Cinder Cone at Mt. Bachelor. Taken Thanksgiving Day 2011. photo: jack lafeman
Cinder Cone at Mt. Bachelor. Taken Thanksgiving Day 2011. photo: jack lafeman

West Village Lodge is the place to head to start off a powder day. Arriving early and waiting for first chair is the way to go. If the Outback/Northwest territory is open right at 9:00am, you can head right for it. If storm recovery is in progress for Outback/Northwest, skiing Pine Marten will keep you close to the area, as the Northwest Chair is where you want to be on a powder day. Additionally, of the three parking areas at Mt. Bachelor the Pine Marten lift offers the best powder day terrain.

#2Head for Northwest ASAP!

Runs like Devils Backbone are just one of the many reasons you want to head for Northwest when the skiing is good.
Runs like Devils Backbone are just one of the many reasons you want to head for Northwest when the skiing is good.  photo:  jack lafeman

Those of us who ski at Mt. Bachelor and get to ride the Northwest Lift regularly don’t know how good we have it. The Northwest Lift at Mt. Bachelor offers 2,365′ of vertical and the terrain consists of some man-made black diamond runs and an area of steep, natural double-black diamond lava chutes that feed into some awesome tree skiing. Bend locals know this and the main lines off of Northwest will be tracked out in just a few runs. While the powder hidden in the trees off Northwest can stay untouched all day, the steep runs will be gone quickly.

#3. When Summit Opens, Avoid the Cirque for Your First Run:

Fresh powder in the Cirque last January. To get these fresh tracks I had to cross a wall of ice. However, on this particular day, it was well worth it.
Fresh powder in the Cirque last January. To get these fresh tracks I had to cross a wall of ice. However, on this particular day, it was well worth it.  photo:  jack lafeman

I have made too many failed attempts at a good powder run in the cirque. Unless you are on one of the first 20 chairs up Summit, odds are the powder in the cirque will either be blown off or tracked up. If you do try to go for some fresh tracks in the Cirque Bowl, hike to the summit at take either Chute 3 or Chute 4. The east side of the cirque is almost always windblown ice after a powder day and almost never holds the fresh powder. Any good powder runs I have ever skied in the bowl have happened on Chute 4, but for the most part the Cirque is not the place you want that special fresh powder run. There are other areas to ski on a rare Summit powder day.

#4Try the Backside and/or West Bowls:

The backside chutes of Mt. Bachelor.
The backside chutes of Mt. Bachelor.

On that rare bluebird powder day at Mt. Bachelor, take the summit lift to 9,000 feet and drop off the backside. Mt. Bachelor is very unique in having 360 degree skiing from the summit. The backside terrain is a large area of natural terrain without any lifts. Despite the vastness of the terrain, when it’s a powder day it can get tracked up quick. There are few opportunities to get a fresh powder run down the backside on each season. When a chance opens up, locals know not to waste it. All of this could be yours!

#5. True Skiers Ski Rainbow:

Powder off the Rainbow Lift on the last run of the day. Rainbow is where the powder is hidden at.
Powder off the Rainbow Lift on the last run of the day. Rainbow is where the powder is hidden at.  photo:  jack lafeman

The Rainbow Lift? If you haven’t been to Bachelor you probably haven’t heard of this lift. It’s not a national skiing icon like the tram at Jackson Hole, or Lone Peak in Big Sky, MT. However, you can make some memories over there that are almost just as good. Some people who ski Mt. Bachelor regularly don’t ever ride this lift. Why? They claim the lift is too slow.

However, when Summit hasn’t yet been opened for the latest batch of fresh snow, Rainbow is the only way to access a lot of terrain. The terrain is mostly intermediate/advanced. However, there are lots of wide open meadows, well-spaced trees and other Eastside Mountain Bowls. When Bachelor gets tracked up; most powder hounds head home. The smart ones, head for Rainbow.

Mt. Bachelor, OR
Mt. Bachelor, OR

One thought on “5 Local Tips on How to Maximize Enjoyment of a Mt. Bachelor, OR Powder Day

  1. My favorite powderday moment at Bachelor was poaching an early lift ride up with the SKI Magazine Boottesters in April. They are obliged to wait until 9er when the lift goes green but we didn’t know. Was a nice 30 min puff dream down to a energetic lift line wondering where we had come from. Bachelor gets some of the best goods out there, couple that with the magic of Bend and a greener outlook on life in Oregon-Everyone is smiling.

    Go Bachelor. Positrons to all for the best ski season!

    -VTHowler

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