Heidi had MLK Day off so I took a vacation day and we headed out to Bend, OR for a weekend at Mt Bachelor. A friend of Heidi's made arrangements for a group of us to stay at a town house only 15 miles from the resort. 4 couples and 1 extra guy (9 of us) stayed in a very nice 3 BR, 3 Bath, gas fireplace townhouse. 2 of the bedrooms were setup nicely with a seperate showers and jet-tubs - almost like having 2 master bedrooms. We weren't lucky enough to nab one of those. In fact, since we were the 'new' couple we ended up sleeping on the Aero mattress with sleeping bags in the loft. No complaints here though ~ it only cost $50 for the weekend!
So how was the skiing? Well on Saturday everyone wanted to sleep in. Bend is about 3-4 hours south of Portland. It's only ~180 miles but you have to go over a mountain pass to get there. You can go down through Salem, OR or over Mt Hood. I don't know what the pass near Salem is called. It makes the drive a little stressful going over a mountain pass in the winter. Not that the truck can't handle it but you don't want to make a mistake, slide on ice or packed snow, and go off the road. That could be a huge, deadly mistake depending on where that happens.
Day 1 - Saturday
Anyway, it was about 11:30 before we were up and had eaten breakfast. We split the meals up with each couple taking a turn making breakfast or dinner. A few people were going snow shoeing, which I was getting tired of. A couple others were going cross country skiing, which I really want to try but driving all this way and being so close to the mountain I felt would be a waste if we didn't go skiing.
Check out the snow - 2x the height of my truck.
View of some of the runs from the parking lot.
Mt Bachelor has no lights so we needed to be off the mountain by 4:30. This still gave us 4 hours to check things out. We headed up Saturday together to check out prices and perhaps even ski. The staff wasn't too helpful and we ended up paying an arm and a leg for a lift ticket, ski rental and 90 minute lessons. I'm still not totally sure of the damages but I think it was ~$130 ($28 rental, $50 lessons, $50 lift ticket). Pretty expense for 4 hours of skiing but ah well. How often do you get this chance?
This was our second lesson. The instructors were breaking all the students into groups based on levels (1, 2, 3, and 4). After talking with them and explaining what we did last weekend at Skibowl, they believed I was a 4 and Heidi was 2. Which meant splitting us up. Kind of a drag, but at least we would be getting applicable lessons. Luckily I was the only level 4 so I got 90 minutes of one on one lessons which would prove priceless for the skiing the next day.
View from the top of the beginner run. Broken Top mountain to the right, 3 sisters on left.
We basically went up and down the beginner slope a few times and worked on my turns. Then graduated to some blue runs and kept working on turns ~ how to point your body downhill, keep your arms up, put your weight on the right ski, etc etc.
Afterwards Heidi and I went inside for some hot chocolate and water, did a couple runs together on the begineer run, and then called it a day at 4 ish
The views were phenomenal. I kept thinking how lucky I was to see this. How many people in the this country never get a chance to see nature and terrain like this?
View of Broken Top mountain.
Day 2 - Sunday
We got up good and early on Sunday. 7 am and were at the mountain at 8 am. It was a guy only session of skiing and snowboarding. 1 of the guys got sick so it ended up being the 4 of us. 2 snowboarders and 2 skiiers. Of course, everyone was pertty experienced except me, this being my 3rd time. I was a little nervous about slowing them down.
This was the cheaper day ~ $28 rental and luckily one of the guys picked up tickets in advance at GI joes turning a normal $58 dollar lift ticket into $42.
We did about 8 runs before lunch. I fell a few times on the first run but I started getting the hang of it. I was concerned about having to ski by myself all day but, although they had to wait for me a few times, I was able to keep up with the other guys.
The lessons I had the day before paid off. Although the runs were long, my legs were more relaxed and I wasn't getting as tired at the previous weekend. They were still getting tired and I had to stop a few times to rest. It takes about 10-15 minutes to ski down one of these runs.
We headed into the lodge and lunch to watch the end of the Bears vs Seahawks. What a great game and watching the Bears win it in OT with most of the people in the lodge cheering for the Seahawks was great. I did hear one other table cheering for the Bears. One of the four guys I was with is originally from Deerfield so he was cheering for the Bears with me.
Just before we went into lunch one of the guys on a snowboard crashed on his tailbone, was hurting, and wasn't sure he could continue. The other snowboarder was getting tired and they decided to call it a day and go home.
This is where it got interesting. The other skier wanted to keep going so I decided to stay behind and we ended up skiing right to the end of the day. He wanted to go to the top of the mountain. Most of the runs start at 7,000 feet and I was a little nervous but figured this was a chance to see some great views at 9,000 feet of elevation. It was totally barren. Rocks, wind, ice and snow; we're past the treeline up here... There was a sign warning you getting on the lift that the wind was blowing 50 mph up there and the windchill was -40! It was cold at the top. But the view was awesome. I was scared as hell. I started going down just trying to concentrate on one turn at a time. It was a long way down. The runs I did earlier looked like baby runs up there. The cars were just small dots in the parking lot down below. I fell and slide a couple times but made it down. The other guy was staying near me and keeping an eye on me which I appreciated. I can't wait to try it again. What an adrenaline rush.
9,000 feet - atop Mt Bachelor looking south
About 4/5 of the way down from the summit - my hands were freezing taking these 4 shots
3 Sisters and Broken Top
After celebrating with a few beers I went to bed early totally exhausted having skied all day. Not as exhausted as a duo 12 hour mountain bike race but still exhausted. The next day we drove home looking forward to sleeping in a real bed. Looking forward to doing that again!