|Morning at Mt Bachelor|
The last weekend of March promised a wonderful sunny day on Friday. Lucky for me, that perfect weather day coincided with my Friday off. Never one to waste a rain-free day (especially this winter!) I decided a trip to Central Oregon's Mt Bachelor was the perfect way to enjoy the rare sunshine.
|Broken Top Mountain from the slopes|
Wanting to take full advantage of a sunny ski day, I left Portland at the ungodly hour of 4 am Friday morning. But this early hour meant empty highways, and making good time I pulled into Mt Bachelor's parking lot a mere 10 minutes past the 9 am lift opening.
It was a blue-sky perfect day! The mountain gleamed a brilliant white in the morning sun, overnight snow still clinging to the trees. Giddy, I grabbed my skis and headed towards the lift.
|Photo for my Aussie friend Helen|
I rode the Pine Martin Lift up, and once on top marveled at the tremendous scenery from high on Mt Bachelor. Broken Top Mountain and the Three Sisters anchored the northern skyline. Ski area views don't get much better than this!
|Cool light in the trees|
After a few quick "warm up" runs down Pine Martin's trails, I headed to the Outback Lift to sample the goods. As expected, all the runs off of the Outback Lift have an Australian themed names, and I posed for photo at one of the trail signs for my Aussie friend Helen.
|Pine Martin Lodge from NW Express|
After a few trips up and down the Outback Lift, I continued west to the next chairlift, the Northwest Express. The runs off this lift are all black diamonds, the most challenging of all. The top of this lift offers wide open views of the adjacent mountains and lakes, and also has a killer view of the Pine Martin Lodge, perched on the side of Mt Bachelor.
|Fun black diamond runs|
What run to choose? I started down one, but some fluffy powder between the trees enticed me, and before I knew it, I was off into a thick glade full of deep snow. Although the snow on the groomed runs was a tad bit icy, the shade of the trees had preserved this snow and it was still deep, dry, powdery, and a dream to ski in.
|The best snow was in the trees|
Hands-down the best run of the day, I floated happily through the tree-sheltered powder. Stopping for a quick break, I admired the lovely views of the white-flocked trees inside the forest.
But skiing by one's self in a gladed area is not safe - people have fallen into deep treewells and died. Although I would have loved to do multiple trips, common sense prevailed and I decided not to push my luck. One tree run was enough for today.
|Nice enough weather for an outdoor lunch|
Tummy rumbling, it was time for a quick lunch stop at the Pine Martin Lodge, perched mid-mountain atop the Pine Martin Lift. The weather was so nice, several people decided to eat lunch on the outdoor patio. But I was happy for an indoor break, relaxing in the wonderful restaurant. A bowl of their killer Thai chicken soup hit the spot! Recharged and refreshed, it was time to explore Mt Bachelor's east side.
|Ice-crusted Summit lift|
I'd heard a rumor the Summit Lift was going to be opened. Extreme weather on the mountain's very top often closes this lift for days. But judging by the number of skiers heading east, I knew something was up. Following the crowd, I came upon a huge lift line for the Summit. Luckily, riding single has it's advantages, and it didn't take long before I was paired up with a group of ladies heading towards the very top.
|The sign is covered with snow and ice|
Disembarking at the mountain's summit, I joined the crowds of people at the overlook, gaping at the panorama below and taking copious pictures. Of course, I couldn't resist the photo ops!
|Getting ready to unload|
The lift house and towers were crusted in a thick coating of ice. It takes a lot of work to thaw out the lift pulleys and cables and make the chair operational. Still, the ice formations are mighty impressive!
|Ice crusted lift towers|
The view one gets as they ski down from the summit is spectacular. I think it's the best scenery from a ski run ever. Making my way downhill I made sure to take several breaks and just soak in the wonderful panorama of Central Oregon spread out before me.
|The spectacular view skiing down from Summit|
Although I love skiing the fresh powder during storm days, a sunny day at Mt Bachelor is truly the best way to experience this fabulous Central Oregon resort. This was hands-down my best Bachelor day this season. So worth the early morning drive!