Pacific Northwest Ski blog (and a few other places!)

Lots or reports from skiing around the Pacific Northwest, with some East Coast excursions thrown in for good measure

Tag Archives: Mt Bachelor

No shock really – May pow at Mt Bachelor

It’s been a big snow year at Mt Bachelor. This wasn’t the first time we’ve had May pow there, and I suspect it won’t be the last. For mid May, it was pretty delightful, with 3-5 inches each day on an increasingly mid-winter-like snowpack. These took the season total over 600 inches. Not bad.

Luckily the weather didn’t warm up too much each day to totally wreck the new snow. Some mushy clumping happened on the first day in the chopped up pow, but then the wind started loading the traverse towards the (closed) Summit Chair from Skyliner. It was perfect wind blown pow, free refills every run. That kept us busy until the lifts closed at 1.30pm. And smiling.

The wind dropped and the sun came out finally on Sunday. The Summit terrain was pretty scoured, and only really worthy of a couple of runs, including a decent full (top to bottom) Cow Face. While half the mountain’s small crowd waited for the Summit chair to open, we found the powdery, creamy Spring goods off the open Outback terrain. First tracks on Kangaroo, Ed’s trees, and several laps of fresh lines on Downunder were effortless skiing, ripping through soft Spring pow in the sun.

Welcome to Spring ski season at Mt Bachelor. There will be more before closing at Memorial weekend.

6200m, 7300m vert

68 days, 569,500m vert, 18 powder days

 

 

 

Mid March at Mt Bachelor

There actually wasn’t a lot to write home about for the first two days at Bachelor. A weak Pineapple Express had brought in some warm damp weather and yoyoing temperatures. The first morning delivered decent groomers until 11am when NOAA’s forecast of rain/snow mix became rather alarmingly accurate. We hung in until 2pm but it was all a bit soggy.

It was nothing compared to Saturday though, which was completely soggy. Super wet snow started about mid mountain, below that was a deluge. It wasn’t a long day.

The freezing levels slowly crept down overnight, and Sunday dawned clear and cool. Enough snow had fallen to cover the rain damage down low, and  create sublime, silken wind-packed pow on the top 2/3rds of the mountain. It wasn’t deep but man it skied beautifully.

The Summit lift opened for the first time in a solid week, and not surprisingly most of the (surprisingly!) moderate crowd headed up there. You really couldn’t go wrong. Laps down Cow’s Face to Cloudchaser rocked. The backside chutes were quite epic and deserted.

I’ll let the photos tell the story.

I can feel a very fine Spring ski season coming on at Mt Bachelor 😉

9300m, 3200m 8200m vert

51 days, 422,600m vert, 14 powder days

 

Closing weekend carnage at Mt Bachelor

We missed Memorial Day weekend at Bachelor last year. Everyone did. The mountain closed Mid May due to a horrible snow year in the West.

The base made it pretty easily this year. It was thin down low at West Village, but conditions hung in like Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primaries. No doubt due to some fine work by the grooming crew.

The recent spell of super warm weather abated, making for some cool and gradually warming Spring skiing. On several days the conditions up high were just turning to perfect creamy corn when the lifts closed at 1pm. 2pm would have been nice indeed. Those runs off the Summit as the snow transforms to wondrous high speed soft Spring snow are magical things. They are well worth the hike.

The whole weekend was the usual recipe of great skiing – on and off groomed -silly costumes, lots of wine, and wandering around Bend in the evenings sampling its fine food and breweries. It really is a combination that is hard to beat.

Until next Memorial weekend …

6400m, 9600m, 7200m, 7600m vert

Season Totals: 70 days, 566, 500m vert, 23 powder days

Topping 1/2 million vertical meters for the season at Mt Bachelor

It’s always nice to top 500Km vertical in a season by the end of April. It’s even nicer to do it at Mt Bachelor on super Spring ski weekend. Searing deep blue skies dominated, it never got too warm, leaving the snow slick all weekend.

Timing is always the key in Spring. With nothing high groomed off the Northwest Express, we cruised front side groomers on Saturday until the Summit runs came in to their own. Then, two top-to-bottom runs on Cows Face were the highlight. A few crunchy turns up high transitioned into heavenly high speed corn. Aiming for the rapidly defrosting patches of ice in the shade paid huge dividends with divine  turns for several 100m vertical until the catchline brought you to the long trek back to the Skyliner lift. Mt Bachelor epicness at it best.

Sunday was markedly cooler early. With high winds, the Summit lift stayed closed, and all lifts ran at low speed for the first two hours, making for a slow start to the day. We tooled around on creamy groomers and soft off piste low down until 11am-ish when the ungroomed areas off the Northwest Express  started to ride well. We then lapped multiple lines west to east for the next two hours. sucking in some great turns, and flying down the lower groomed sections at speeds that would’ve been respectable in mid-winter.

If this crazy warm Spring doesn’t get out of hand – it was the warmest April on record in Seattle – there should be plenty more of this in May.

Fingers crossed.

Saturday 10,3oom, Sunday 7900m vert

Season Totals: 62 days, 501, 800m vert, 23 powder days

Mid March at Snoqualmie and Mt Bachelor

This has been a wild old fluctuating winter, but not one that has been short on snow. A Mid-March powder day at Snoqualmie on a surprisingly quiet Sunday was a fine thing. The low base meant things got a tad heavy by noon, but the steeps skied well all day.

By the following weekend, a big old high pressure had set in and it was serious Springtime at Mt Bachelor. Freeze-thaw cycles meant the west side of the volcano was frozen solid until early afternoon. On days like this, start at Sunrise and Cow Face on the east side of the Summit, and follow the sun. We were guiding a beginner Hobbit skier so vert wasn’t huge. But neither were the crowds. Really no lift lines all weekend.

There’s so much to love about Spring skiing! But I suspect Winter might return before teh season is out.

Snoqualmie 7900m

Bachelor 7500m, 7500m vert

Season Totals: 49 days, 389, 300m vert, 22 powder days

 

 

Closing the 2014 season down at Mt Bachelor

A deep late-May base, weather that finally started to resemble Spring and a ton of terrain to play on – it was a fine closing weekend at Bachelor.

Friday started out clear but clouds moved in mid morning, closing the Summit down and restricting us to cruising the lower mountain, which fortunately stayed relatively free of slow, sticky snow.

Saturday and Sunday saw the sun reign, fighting off a few lingering persistent clouds. These kept the temperatures reasonable, and the snow in great shape for most of the weekend. Perfect conditions for end of season costumes, in fact.

After fast early morning groomers, 10am runs runs down Cow Face were epic, carving creamy fresh lines all the way to the cat track. As the sun got higher, hikes to the summit held treasures that “Captain” Jack Sparrow would covet.This was great Spring skiing – finally. And very. very funny  😉

As the lifts closed for the season, we sat in the sun (and strong wind)  at the summit, supped the last drops of a horrible Absinthe, and shredded all the way down to the bar, a few thousand feet below, for some well earned end of season beers. Bring on November …. and here’s the video to keep us going until then.

3 days 9700m, 7900m, 7400m vert

Final Season Totals: 61 days, 504,400m vert

10 powder days, 1 chowda day

 

Wintery Springtacular at Mt Bachelor

It’s 24F at the base of Mt Bachelor just before 9am on Saturday. There’s 7+ inches of light fresh snow blanketing the mountain, and crowds are light. Fog and moderate wind lie in store at the top of the lifts, but within 30 minutes the Outback and Northwest Express (NWX) chairs are open, creating a vast area of open terrain.

Welcome to May at Mt. Bachelor. The finest Spring skiing in the USA.

I spent 6 days there skiing in the first part of May, and apart from one classic sunny Spring day, replete with Summit laps, cone explorations and slow, progressively sticky snow, the weather was positively unSpring-like. We never saw the Summit chair open again, and strong westerlies kept NWX closed until the last spectacular powder day. 2 days brought heavy but substantial accumulations of new snow, and it all culminated with a winter-quality dumping. Traversing off NWX and dropping down the Western chutes into the trees was absolutely spectacular, with endless fresh lines to score until early afternoon when the low-down snow became heavy. We were like Twitter Trolls having endless fun with Ann Coulter, refusing to stop because it was all just too easy to enjoy.

The cover is great all over the mountain, so you never know, Springtacular might make an appearance for us at Memorial weekend. I hope so …

 

8200m, 9600m, 9000m, 8200m, 7800m, 7700m vert

Season Totals: 58 days, 479,400m vert

10 powder days, 1 chowda day

Closing weekend at Mt Bachelor

Another Memorial Day weekend at Mt Bachelor. It’s become a bit of a tradition, and for good reasons. After a blast of Spring for most of May, winter returned for the last week of the season. A good 18 inches of snow fell in the 3 days before our well-waxed skis hit the slopes on Friday morning. The tail end of the weather system lingered all day, plopping a few inches of surprisingly carvable sludge all over the lower mountain. Traversing out past the Outback chair led to a treasure trove of untracked lines all morning, until the snow got sticky and the traverse back to the Pine Marten chair brought bacon-like smells emanating from out burning thighs.

Saturday was close to the perfect Spring ski day. Silly costumes, corn snow up high, innumerable lines off the Summit to shred, smashing softening shards of ice, run after run. Hiking the peak, pushing out to Cows Face, or dropping into the Cirque, the choice was as mind-boggling as a night in a Rogue brew pub. What a great day.

Winter returned for a last blast on Sunday, and by noon the sthick was overwhelming even our freshly waxed boards. We hung in to the end, surviving the glue on the flats between the fine corn on the steeper shots. As the lifts closed for the last this season, massive chunky snowflakes fell from the sky for a two minute wintry deluge. It was winter saying goodbye to the handful of hardy ‘skiers with a problem’ who were still riding the lifts to the bitter end.  Thanks winter, for another great North American season.

Friday 9200m, Saturday 8900m, Sunday 8400m

Season Totals: 67 days, 22 powder days, 617,000m vert

April at Mt Bachelor

There’s really nothing quite like Mt Bachelor in Spring. Huge terrain, a snow base that would bury NBL players, minimal crowds, and weather that while generally good, can throw up anything, anytime.

Apparently Friday was a wild, snowy, windy day. The west side and summit lifts didn’t open, leaving a few inches of ‘Spring pow’ for early Saturday explorers to shred. We headed west in the glorious morning sunshine, warming up on groomers with a 2 inch layer of creamy untracked snow. Few people were traversing right, off the Northwest lift and into the West Bowls, and here we found treasures that lasted a whole morning. Lap after lap, we pushed slightly wider to find untracked lines in the volcanic chutes that create superb above tree-line skiing. But as it warmed up, the trees down to the cat track back to the lift got progressively more challenging, By lunch time, it was definitely time to head high.

The skiing off the Summit chair certainly didn’t disappoint. Cow’s Face had some epic snow all the way down. The traverse into the Cirque was as simple and safe as I’ve ever seen it, bereft of ice and rocks, and some of the lines through the crater skied like butter. We finished with a drop off the back side for untracked lines at 3pm. These had great, soft snow, rolling and undulating terrain,  and the enjoyment was just enough to make up for the 2 mile push back to the lift on a cat track coated in superglue.

The promised sunshine on Sunday turned into a day of foggy, cold weather and progressively increasing dampness. The chopped up, frozen off-groomed pow from the day before never had chance to soften, so we tracked down two groomers off the Northwest Express that were skiing fine. And we ripped them until a 2pm departure, when the weather was like a typical Manchester summer day (ie drizzling).

Yep, there’s nothing like Mt Bachelor in Spring. Anything can happen, Often does. It’s nearly always fabulous. The best  Spring skiing in the USA. We’ll be back Memorial Day to close the season out.

Saturday 11,500m, Sunday 10,400m vert

Season Totals: 64 days, 22 powder days, 590,500m vert

Spring 2012 Video – the Cascades at their best

Spring is a wonderful time to ski in the Cascades. Deep snow, good weather, occasional pow and  lots of deals on Spring passes. In fact, Spring might just be the best time to ski in the Cascades.

Hopefully this video gives some hints of the fun that can be had. From April until the end of May …

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3j9gHOkDGiM