Disneyland of Outdoor Recreation
From skiing at Mt. Bachelor, kayaking or standup paddle boarding the Deschutes River, mountain biking, hiking or running on the trails, this little spot known as Bend has it all. There’s pretty much every outdoor activity you could think of and it’s all within thirty minutes of town. Luckily for us we’ve been fortunate enough to discover the goodness Bend has to offer and we enjoy it so much, it has become our annual spring getaway!
Why Mt. Bachelor?
- Tons of snow
- Brewery capital & plethora of outdoor recreation
- King of Spring
Most Dramatic Road to a Ski Resort
There are many great routes to ski resorts. Some run from the Sea to Sky such as the highway up to Whistler, BC. Then there’s the lake in the sky. Cresting Echo Summit Lake Tahoe consumes the horizon and is a must see. One of the most dramatic and desolate roads is the one that leads to Mt. Bachelor.
From Bend you point your vehicle uphill. Almost half the distance to the resort, you only traverse small hills that are covered with trees. Then you catch a glimpse and the volcano pokes its head out a few times. It disappears again before it fully exposing itself in all its glory. The lone peak in the area stands proud and hovers above the rest like a king. Staring up at it absorbing the view it’s surreal. At that moment you realize everything in front of you can be skied. Excitement and awe floods your emotion.
King of Spring
There are three major factors that help make sure Mt Bachelor is a guarantee for excellent late season skiing:
- Consistency of a deep snowpack
- Drops below freezing every night
- The mountain is in the shape of a cone
First, the consistency of having a deep snowpack is legendary. Even though the 2014-15 season had one of the worst recorded snowfalls, they still received over 200 inches meaning there is still enough to ride through late May.
Second, even though air temps may hit the upper 50’s each day on the mountain, at night it drops below freezing helping to ensure the most perfect corn snow you’ll find anywhere. To read more of why is that important click here.
Finally, as we mentioned before, the mountain is a cone which means you can literally chase the perfect softness of snow based on the time of day. Most other ski resorts face one direction which means that the window of good snow will be smaller. The sun will soften the snow all at once and turn it into mashed potatoes immediately. Fortunately with Mt Bachelor, this isn’t the case. It was a mountain made for spring skiing.
The mountain is perfectly split by ability. If you are a beginner, park at the Sunrise Lodge. From here you will have access to the best beginner terrain. Marshmallow is a perfect run to start since it’s wide and has a gentle slope. Even at the top of the run there are some small trees to even get exposed to tree skiing. Carnival and I-5 are also good options.
Mt. Bachelor might be the best resort out there for intermediates. Almost the entire mountain from top to bottom has something you can ride or ski within your abilities. If you’re a person that loves rolling, curving features then this place will be heaven. Being a massive volcanic cone it has natural terrain that feels like a giant boardercross course. Huge rollers and perfect gullies allow you to “surf” your way to the bottom. We suggest starting out at Skyliner and dropping into any of the trees below the lift. From there head over to Pine Marten to enjoy a little bit steeper terrain.
If you are an expert, there is only one place for you to head and that is the top. In the winter this chairlift almost never runs because of the continual onslaught of storms blanketing the resort with powder. In the spring though, this lift is the gateway to some of the coolest terrain on the continent. The best part, it’s so big it normally doesn’t even have any tracks in it! If the lift is closed head on over to Northwest Express. This zone has the second steepest slopes and will keep you entertained for hours.
Bend, OR – Apres Activities
So what makes this ski-town so special?
Bend isn’t your typical North American ski-town. It’s off the beaten path and there is no major expressway or airport. Is it worth the trek? For sure!
First vote goes to the weather. Bend proper only gets 25 inches of snow per year, because it sits on a plateau at around 3,000 feet. The weather stays pretty warm in town, even in the middle of winter. On the other hand, Mt. Bachelor gets dumped on! The mountain receives upwards of 360 inches of the glorious white stuff each year. It’s more typical of ‘powder’ found in Colorado than its close brethren in the Pacific Northwest, which is categorized as “Cascade Concrete.” Not only is the snow amazing, but Mt. Bachelor boasts one of the longest ski seasons with operations running through Memorial Day.
These are all great reasons to visit, but Bend is known for more than just skiing/snowboarding and the outdoors. The second vote goes to its deserved status of Beervana. A city of only 82,000 people, Bend is home to fourteen world class award-winning breweries, almost all within biking or walking distance from town center. With credentials like that, it makes sense that Bend created what is known today as the official Bend Ale Trail. Holding claim to the largest ale trail in the West, Bend makes it easy and fun to track yourself in their Ale Trail app as you cruise through town, tasting and enjoying all it has to offer. Even if you’re not a beer connoisseur, there is something for everyone. Make sure you check out some of the more exotic experimental beers crafted…you might not even recognize them as beer.
Addy Mac’s Ice Cream
Even after all these years of visiting Bend there is always something new to try. From the ski resort opening another chairlift next year that will add another 635 acres to new breweries opening, there’s always something new to see and do. Of course there are some oldies but goodies too! For us, that is Addy Mac’s Ice Cream.
The ice cream flavors Justin has are always different. Today he was serving chipotle chocolate, peanut butter Ritz, and s’mores. All three were on point. The Mexican hot chocolate was by far the most thought-provoking. It was spicy like a jalapeno, but had the rich flavor of a dark chocolate bar. A must try indeed!
There is something about Bend that no other destination for snow sports has. It is far enough away to make it a challenge to visit, but once you get there it is worth all the work. If you are planning a trip that has anything “outdoors” you can imagine, but is a little bit different Mt. Bachelor and Bend are a perfect combination!