Mt. Bachelor Bend, Oregon
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, passengers 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. Their winter adventures include exploring the pristine back country on snowshoes or cross-country skis. Seeing the deep woods layered in fresh-fallen snow is spectacular, but I can’t rid myself of longing for the thrill of a downhill plunge – there’s nothing like it! If you’re lucky to experience a day when your body, mind, and skis are in sync, it’s exhilarating!
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 shrouded the mountain in the afternoon. Several chair lifts closed.
Except for the most enthusiastic, brave skiers, it put a damper on the day’s activities. I’m a fair-weather skier who sticks to long, leisurely intermediate runs and avoids areas that intersect raucous snowboarding haunts. 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 lift tickets. Things have changed with $80+ tickets, speedy quad lifts, and e-gads, helmets instead of wooly ski hats!!
Oregon’s Cascade Mountain snow is different from conditions in the Sierras, and making the transition took time and involved a considerable learning curve. Cascade powder skiing is phenomenal. I’ve learned to respect Mt. Bachelor and the challenging conditions it can present.
Berg’s Ski Bus
After a short delay, our bus departed the Mt. Bachelor lodge around 4:00 p.m. Ski stories – told by exhausted skiers soothed by an overdose of endorphins – were the topic of conversation. There were two buses yesterday. One got caught in a snowbank 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….