Surprisingly, this was our first trip back to Bachelor since we opened the season there in mid-November. We hopped on the Desert Ski Club bus in Richland at 4pm Friday, and a few hours and some decent bottles of wine later, we were in Bend, Oregon, looking forward to hitting the mountain the next morning.
It turned in to a fairly wild ski day. Wind and fog kept the Summit chair closed, and it snowed lightly all day. At the bottom of the Outback and Northwest chairs, where we spent most of the day, it was a little warm, and wet snow and temperatures made some of the runouts slow and gluey. But the snow up high was decent, visibility bearable, and before we knew it we’d skied a 10Km vertical day. Fast lifts and deserted runs are a recipe for decent verts, and Bachelor has both in abundance.
Our prayers were answered Sunday morning. It had snowed lightly most of the night, depositing a few inches of light powder on the top two thirds of the mountain. It was a lot colder, the fog mostly cleared, and they had the Summit chair open by 10am.
This was for me one of the best days of the season. Not a big powder day, but we seemed to ski untracked snow virtually all day long. First in the massive old growth trees off Outback. Then John and I did the short hike off the Summit to get fresh, steep lines in the windblown pow through the huge crater bowl. And we all skied Cow Face, a top-to-bottom 1000m+ vertical run, and never crossed any tracks.
Then we headed to the mountain’s extensive back side terrain. Being a volcano that is skiable 360 degrees, you just push off the Summit Chair, traverse around the back until you find an untracked line, and simply indulge. We rarely even saw others in this area, never minds tracks. The long runs start on wide open slopes before following natural gullies in to the trees. The tree skiing is exceptionally good around here, and it was always a disappointment to hit the cat track that circumnavigates the mountain and brings you back to the Northwest chair.
So we skied all day in what seemed to be our own private powder playground. One traverse too many, looking for fresh lines, meant we missed the last chair at 4pm by about 30 seconds, and hence just failed on our aim of a 12km vertical day. But man, it was immense fun trying!
Saturday 10,100m Sunday 11,900m
Season totals: 50 days, 22 powder days, 400,500 verts