Mt. Bachelor, Willamette Pass, and HooDoo are three great ski resorts in central Oregon. Each is special in its own way with unique downhill, cross-country, and snowshoeing trails.
Located in the city of Bend, Mt. Bachelor is one of the Pacific Northwest’s largest ski areas with a variety of terrain and runs “following the natural contours of the mountain”. Recently, the resort confirmed the return of the U.S. Ski Team to train on the mountain!
“We are pleased to announce a spring plan which will offer a wider variety of terrain than last season, better access and service from our main base lodge, longer spring operating hours, the return of race camps, and new promotions designed to keep spring operations sustainable, said Dave Rathbun, president and general manager.”
Mt. Bachelor offers access to “skiable” terrain through April 19, including the west side of the mountain serviced by the Northwest Express.
The Willamette Pass Resort is in Klamath County between Oakridge and La Pine. It operates under a special use permit in the Cascade Mountain Range on federal land in Willamette and Deschutes National Forests. The ski area is locally owned and operated.
“Willamette Pass is known for having one of the steepest runs in the country – RTS – which at its steepest point is 52 degrees. It hosted the 1993 Subaru U.S. Speed Skiing Championships, where a top speed of 116.56 mph (187 km/h) was achieved. Terrain ranges from steep and deep, to mogul fields, to gentle glades, and a fun terrain park.”
Willamette Pass has a laid-back atmosphere with long intermediate runs as well as challenging terrain for more advanced skiers. It’s a year-round destination – winter for skiing, snowshoeing, and snowboarding and summer for hiking and mountain biking. There are two peaks – Eagle Peak at 6,683 feet and Peak Two which is slightly lower. The fantastic view from the summit overlooks Diamond Peak and Odell Lake. On a clear day you can see Mount Bachelor, the Three Sisters, and Mount Jefferson!
Less than half of Willamette Pass’s 555 skiable acres have groomed runs. “That means lots of fresh powder on intermediate and advanced runs. The Eagle Peak Accelerator is a six-person chair lift that whisks you to the summit in three-and-a-half minutes. Beginners should start with Duck Soup on the South Face of Eagle Peak. The best intermediate run is Kaleidoscope to Perseverance, a whopping 2.1-mile moderate roller coaster ride down a wide, sweeping groomed slope. Eagle Peak has four great advanced runs – RTS (short and steep accessed by the Summit Chair), High Lead, and Good Time Charlie which are about twice as long as RTS with thigh-burning mogul fields.”
HooDoo is a popular family resort in the town of Sisters. There are runs for varying abilities, an even distribution of trails for skiers and snowboarders, and more than 15-kilometers of cross-country trails. Besides ski slopes HooDoo has an Autobahn Tube Area – a snow tubing attraction with 20 tube trails.
I missed the first part of the 2011 – 2012 ski season but am looking forward to some fabulous spring skiing between now and April!