Free lift ticket, check. Free ride, check. Bluebird day, check. Fresh snow, check. All the signs pointed to a rare day of excellent lift served turns at Mt Bachelor. I left my house at 5:30 am and drove south where I met Andy at his house in Eugene and loaded my gear into his Jeep for the drive east to central Oregon. Andy had won a pair of lift tickets from a local promotion a few months back, and since I’d driven to the mountains the last couple of trips, he’d offered me a ticket and a ride as an exchange. After a brief stop at the Mickey D’s in Oakridge for some breakfast, we arrived in the Bachelor parking lot just after 9:00 in full sunshine. The temperature was around 25 degrees in the base area. We met Todd, who’d driven over the night prior for some camping, loaded the Pine Marten Express, and headed up. Our intentions were to head to the summit to check out the snow, which is what we did. Our first run off the Summit Express was on Cow’s Face, and there were pockets of wind sifted powder that were really nice. The snow was a bit variable however, so we decided to check out the Cirque Bowl from the summit proper on the next run. After a few minutes of hiking, we found what we were looking for…..
The snow directly off the summit was prime – nice wind packed powder. The steep slopes of the top yielded face shots for me on each turn, and I’d mistakenly worn my sunglasses instead of goggles, so several times throughout the day I’d have to stop and clear the pow off the insides of my lenses.
For the next several runs, we repeated the hike to the summit and dropped off just to the riders left of the center pinnacle. Each run was as good as the last, and the snow stayed perfect on the northerly aspect all day long.
After several runs, Todd decided to call it a day. Andy and I continued to make turns, enjoying a few runs on the groomers of Skyliner on the lower mountain. The park was in good shape, with huge tables and rail features. It didn’t take long though until we found ourselves back on the Summit lift heading for the good snow on the upper mountain. The entire area around the summit was covered in the usual cascade volcano sastrugi, which always looks really cool and makes for a decent photo. Here’s a shot Andy took looking back at the top of the Summit Express lift…..
More powder turns followed, and Andy continued to rip up the wind packed snow with his snow blades with the precision of a surgeon….
We skied until the lifts closed at 2:00, and made one of the last runs off the top. I was pretty tired at the end of the day from all the laps (when I checked Bachelor’s website the following day with my ticket number I saw we’d made over 23,000 vertical feet of turns – not too shabby considering we spent quite a bit of time hiking to the true summit for most of our runs). Down at the car, it felt nice to get out of our winter clothing and change into flip flops and shorts. Three hours later we were back in Eugene, and enjoying a cold beer after an awesome day of May powder! Days like these remind me I do enjoy riding at the resort and that it’s nice to find a balance between backcountry and lift accessed turns! Here’s a parting shot of Andy on the last run of the day….