Ski Resort History
Mt. Bachelor averages 463″ of snowfall each year prompting humans to build a ski resort there in 1958. Bill Healy was the man who started the ski resort they called Bachelor Butte at the time. The initial ski resort consisted of one rope tow and one platter lift (poma) that pulled skiers 1,000-vertial feet up the mountain. A lift ticket to Bachelor Butte in 1958 would have set you back $3.00.
Ski Lift History:
After the initial rope tow and poma lift, the first chairlifts were the Black chair in 1961, Red chair in 1964, Yellow and Blue chairs in 1967 and 1970, and Green and Orange chairs in 1973. Outback, Flycreek (Rainbow), and Sunrise chairs were added in 1975, 1981 and 1982, respectively. Of these original chairs, only the Red and Rainbow remain.
Initially, only the northeastern portion of the mountain had ski lifts. The northwestern side was not developed until 1973. The northwestern side was for the adventurous and it cost $1 extra to ski the “Outback Trail Tour.” It was worth it, though as you skied fresh powder and a snow-cat brought you back to the ski resort.
In 1976, the Outback chair was installed and lift served skiing was possible on the northwestern part of the mountain.
In 1983, the first summit chairlift was installed and Mount Bachelor could be ridden from the top. This summit chair was a high speed detachable chair and was the only the 2nd high speed detachable chairlift installed on Earth.
In 1996, the badass Northwest Express was put in that gave access to 2,365-vertical-feet of skiing and riding. This chair added many acres and lowered the lowest lift served elevation to 5,700 feet.
Mt. Bachelor Statistics:
– Largest ski resort in Oregon by over 1,000 acres
– 2nd largest single-mountain ski resort in the USA behind Vail
– 6th largest ski resort in the USA
– 3,683 acres of terrain
– 9,065-foot summit, 5,700-foot base
– 10 chairlifts with 7 of them being express quads
– 88 total trails with 15% novice, 25% intermediate, 35% Aavanced, 25% expert
– Longest run is 1.5 miles long
MT. BACHELOR TIMELINE:
1958: Bachelor Butte ski area opens Oct. 18 with one lift and two rope tows for weekends and holidays only. The opening is marked with an official ceremony on Dec. 19.
1961: Black chair is installed.
1964: Red chair is installed.
1966: New overnight lodge, called the Main Lodge, opens. It would later become West Village Lodge.
1971: Overnight lodge closes; shuttle buses added.
1975: Outback chairlift installed.
1981: Flycreek lift (later Rainbow) is added.
1983: Summit chairlift is completed; ski area’s name officially becomes Mt. Bachelor.
1984: Nordic day lodge is built.
1986: Pine Marten super-express quad and guest services building at West Village Lodge open.
1988: Bill Healy steps down as president of Mt. Bachelor ski area and is replaced by David Marsh.
1989: Skyliner super-express quad chairlift is added.
1991: Century Drive highway is expanded from two to four lanes from the Sunriver junction to the ski area.
1993: Bill Healy dies on Oct. 26. Accelerator express quad and Carrousel, a fixed-grip triple chair, are added; Sunrise chair is converted to a high-speed quad.
1996: Northwest Express quad lift and 10 new runs open; Mt. Bachelor opens new transit center in Bend to transport skiers to the mountain.
1998: David Marsh resigns and is replaced by Randy Papé.
2001: Park City, Utah-based Powdr Corp. purchases Mt. Bachelor ski area for approximately $28 million. Marsh dies and is later replaced by Dan Rutherford, former vice president.
2006: Pine Marten Express is rebuilt.
2007: Dan Rutherford resigns as president. Matt Janney is hired as new president and general manager.
2008: Janney and three other managers are fired. Janney is replaced by Dave Rathbun, formerly of Killington Resort in Vermont.
2008: 50th anniversary of Mt. Bachelor ski area.
Sources: “Mt. Bachelor: Bill Healy’s Dream,” by Peggy Chessman Lucas; The Bulletin archives; Mt. Bachelor ski area