#15 in 2023 Best Ski Resorts in the USA
With the highest skiable elevation in Oregon and Washington, Mt. Bachelor is located within the Deschutes National Forest in the Central Cascades, only 25 miles from Bend and 115 miles from Portland.
At 4,300 acres, the resort is also one of the largest in the United States, offering varied terrain within the hemlocks and pines. Since it opened in 1958, the resort has been known for its light and dry snow, and spectacular scenery.
Mt. Bachelor’s ski school provides private and group lessons for kids and adults, as well as camps and specialty programs. Skiing and snowboarding equipment is available to rent at two locations within the resort. While there is no night skiing, there is the Snowblast Tubing Park in the West Village, and dog-sledding and snowshoe tours are also available. There is no lodging at the resort, but there is slope-side dining, with five eating establishments on site. Mt. Bachelor is an Ikon Pass destination.
Mt. Bachelor’s season is one of the longest in the Northwest, usually starting around Thanksgiving and lasting well into May. Avoid the holiday season and weekends for the best deals and shortest lift lines. While April and May provide more daylight hours, some say that March, with an average snowfall of 100 inches, is the best time to ski or snowboard at Mt. Bachelor if you’re coming for snow conditions alone.
The best deals at Mt. Bachelor are for people who buy in advance, especially if purchasing a multi-day pass. Online tickets are $10 less than on the premises and start at $99 for adults, $80 for teens, $56 for youth and $80 for seniors. Children 5 and under ski or ride for free. Call 541-382-1709 for questions. Go to www.mtbachelor.com to book tickets.
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Mt. Bachelor has 101 trails, 15 percent of which are ranked as “easier terrain”. Around 65 percent of the resort’s trails can be categorized in the intermediate range, with varying degrees of difficulty. The last 20 percent of the terrain is set aside as extreme. Here are the best trails for each skill level according to Justin Yax, Bend local, and spokesman for Mt. Bachelor:
Marshmallow : Accessed off the Sunrise Express quad, Marshmallow is a wide trail with lots of room, and a gentle slope that meanders down the mountain, perfect for beginners.
Carnival : As its name implies, Carnival is a fun run for beginners that is accessed from either the Rainbow Chair or Sunrise Express.
I-5 : Also accessed from the Rainbow Chair or Sunrise Express, I-5 is a pretty straight cruiser that also features a wide trail and gradual slope.
Healy Heights : Named for Mt. Bachelor’s founding father Bill Healy, Healy Heights is a steep but wide open groomer that follows skier’s right down the chairlift. It’s a perfect run for cranking out laps, and comes with the added bonus of taking skiers to the 9,065-foot summit for spectacular panoramic views from Mt. Hood to Mt. Shasta.
Wanoga Way : This trail can be skied top to bottom from the Summit Express quad to the bottom of Cloudchaser, or picked up in the middle from the top of Cloudchaser. It begins with a wide open groomer above treeline, before dropping into the trees for the lower half of the run.
Cow’s Face : One of the most popular runs off the summit, Cow’s Face is a SE facing open bowl that . Skiers can choose to tackle the top half of the run before cutting back to the base of the Summit Express for another lap, or continuing down through The Low East to pick up the catchline and follow it back to the base of the Cloudchaser quad.
Wall of Voodoo : Starting above treeline, the Wall of Voodoo takes skiers down the open west face that leads them to more than a half dozen expert runs, including West Bowls , Boundary Bowl , and Deadwood Canyon . These runs typically lead skiers down to the catchline cat track, where they can traverse back to the base of the Northwest Express quad. From the summit to the base of Northwest Express, skiers tackle 3,365 feet of vertical.
While there is no lodging at Mt. Bachelor, there is a wide variety of hotels in Bend. The Loge Entrada is a 20-minute drive from the resort, offering rooms starting at $100 per night and treating guests to on-site concerts on the weekends. Located on the Deschutes River near downtown Bend, the Riverhouse on the Deschutes has rooms with private patios, fireplaces and indoor and outdoor hot tubs. For comfortable and basic accommodation at a low price, the Three Sisters Inn & Suites provides lodging starting at $69, as well as a year-round spa and complimentary local micro-roasted coffee and muffins in the lobby each morning.
There is mountain-side dining at Mt. Bachelor, with the five dining establishments open for breakfast and lunch, including the Sparks Cafe in the upper level of the Pine Marten Lodge, offering up Mexican fare. Also in the Pine Marten Lodge is Scapolo’s, which has salads, pizza, soup and flatbread. Off-mountain, Bend is a great place to take yourself on a foodie tour. In downtown Bend, the Jackalope Grill has fresh, local products with menu items like roasted candy cane beets and rack of lamb, as well as a revolving dessert menu. Located in a 1920s brick building in downtown Bend, 900 Wall has modern American fare with French and Italian influence, with small plates like Pacific Northwest oysters and beef carpaccio, and entrees such as duck confit and mushroom risotto.
Because most dining venues on the mountain close by 4 p.m., your best bet for nightlife is probably in Bend, though the Clearing Rock Bar – which has a patio with views – does stay open until 5 p.m. and serves appetizers, cocktails and local beers. The breweries of Bend provide a nice alternative to slopeside après-ski bars: try the Deschutes Brewery on Simpson Avenue or the long-standing Bend Brewing Company. Meanwhile, just off Century Drive in Bend, Bistro 28 is based in the Athletic Club of Bend, with an enormous fireplace and après-ski specials.
The closest airport to Mt. Bachelor is the Redmond Airport, just 20 miles north of Bend. Redmond accommodates regular non-stop flights from Portland, San Francisco, Denver, Seattle and Salt Lake City via Alaska Airlines, United and Delta. Car rentals and shuttle services are available at the airport.
By car, Mt. Bachelor is about four hours from Portland and six hours from Seattle. Once at Mt. Bachelor, you don’t need a car, however if you plan to travel to Bend or the surrounding Central Oregon area for lodging, a vehicle will give you the most flexibility. There is also the Mt. Bachelor Shuttle from Bend, that leaves from the Bend Park-N-Ride on Southwest Columbia Street.
|Vertical Drop (ft)||1,035||1,563|
|Skiable Area (ac)||450||430|
|Number of Trails||34||29|
|READ MORE||READ MORE|