Saturday morning I jumped a 6:00 a.m. ski bus to Mt. Bachelor for a day of downhill skiing! In the winter, local buses haul eclectic groups of skiers up the mountain to play in the snow. During the three-hour ride to Bend you can enjoy the scenery or take a snooze.
Skiing companions are sparse these days as most of my 60+ friends gave up downhill years ago. Instead, their winter adventures include exploring the back country on snowshoes or cross-country skis. Seeing the deep woods layered in fresh-fallen snow is a spectacular experience but I can’t rid myself of longing for the thrill of a downhill plunge – nothing like it! If you’re lucky enough to experience a day when your body, mind, and skis are in sync, it’s exhilarating fun!
So far this year ski conditions in the Cascades have been dicey but a series of storms last week added several feet to the base and brought a dusting of fresh powder. The ski report called for wind and more snow but I hoped for good conditions. Morning skiing was fine but wind and severe whiteout conditions enveloped the mountain in the afternoon. Several chair lifts closed.
Except for the most enthusiastic, brave skiers it definitely put a damper on the day’s activities. I’m a fair-weather skier who avoids areas that intersect raucous snowboarding haunts and sticks to long leisurely intermediate runs. Zero visibility is way too scary for me, so I stopped skiing around noon – disappointed but not willing to risk an accident or serious injury.
I began skiing in California in my 20s mostly at Lake Tahoe and Bear Valley. Back then we expected to wait in lift lines and paid $10 for tickets. Things have changed with $80+ tickets, speedy quad lifts, and e-gads helmets!!
Oregon’s Cascade snow is very different from conditions in the Sierras. The powder skiing is phenomenal. I’ve learned to respect Mt. Bachelor and the challenging conditions it can present
Berg’s is starting a new bus to Mt. Hood next week and I’m looking forward to skiing there. Other ski resorts in the area include Willamette Pass and Hoodoo.
After a short delay, the bus departed the lodge around 4:00 p.m. Ski stories – told by exhausted skiers soothed by an overdose of endorphins – were the main topic of conversation. There were two buses yesterday. One got caught in a snow bank and had to be rescued. My bus made it safely home through the harrowing blizzard but the trip took two hours longer than usual. After a long day of adventure, the main question weighing on everyone’s mind was what was for dinner….