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Mt. Bachelor 2021-22


ExcelsiorTheFathead
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I just moved to Bend.  Opening day is supposed to be 11/26 and I have the weekday pass.  I've never been to Mt. Bachelor even once and have no idea what is going on.  Which base area should I use?  Where should I park?  What is the shortest way to get from my car to snow and a lift?  Which runs have snowmaking and are least likely to have rocks?  What are the best easy green runs for carving early season?  What are the best blue runs?

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Park at the base of Skyliner.  There are some good, but short runs on the Sunrise chair.  I like to hit those until about 10am when ski school starts.  Then you can work your way across to Skyliner and Pine Marten.  The runs tend to get steeper as you move across.  People used to laugh at me, but the beginner lift near the main base area is good from 12-12:45 (between lessons), it's short but often the grooming does not get chewed up.  There are very few consistent groomers on Northwest or Cloudchaser.  If Summit is open, there are a couple of steeper groomers to choose from.  If the chair seems lumpy, someone has probably stuffed a crushed PBR under the padding.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

Tuesday, December 14.   I finally got my first day in.  The early morning was in the single digits and too cold for me.  I went up late and got on snow at 11:00.  It is clear skies with lots of sun.  The three chairs at the west village are running, although Pine Marten seems reserved for a group of Californian university ski clubs that are having a race.  I only rode the Home Run bunny slope on the Little Pine lift.  It was boring, short and slow but good enough for my first day.  There must be better terrain on the Red chair but the line there was way too long.  Coverage on Home Run seemed really good with no sign of rocks.  More snow is supposed to fall on Wednesday and I will stay home.  I hope more terrain can open soon because next week will be very busy.

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Thursday, December 16.  I should have stayed in bed.  I'm was trying to make it for the 9 AM open but got stuck in downtown Bend traffic then a long parade of cars going up to the mountain.  Most of the front-side lifts are now operating and the closest I can park to Skyliner is at the Junior Race Center building.  It is foggy, wettish and goggle-freezy.  I go up Skyliner then cat-track over to Marshmallow which despite being an AM groom is soft and cut up from the new snow that fell yesterday.  Rime ice builds on goggles and everything else.   I ended up doing just a few runs and left at 11.  It might have been a decent softboot day, but I don't have any of those.

This is the longest, toughest commute to a mountain that I've had in a number of years since I have the misfortune of living on the side of Bend diametrically opposed to the route up to Bachelor.  No big deal.  It could be worse.

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Friday, December 17.   I leave earlier and face less traffic today.  There's no new snow overnight and fewer people are going up early.  I get a parking spot a bit downhill from the race center and line up at Skyliner for the 9 AM open.  Conditions are great compared to yesterday.  It is cool, dry, clear with broken clouds and the snow is a bit more packed down.  I cat trakked over to Sunrise again and did a bunch of runs down the greens there.  I did a nose flip in soft snow up at the top of Carnival and whacked my right hip joint a bit but it seems ok.  Snow in the Otter Rock park area was really well packed down; perhaps the best snow I was on today.   I tried Cliffhanger for the first time but it was soft and the grooming wasn't good.  

Around 11:30 I went back to my car and ate something then went to the bottom to use the bathroom near the Skyliner load.  I would have kept on riding but by that time the lift line was too long so I hiked up to my car and went home.   A pretty good day.  Local schools are on winter break now, so I don't know if I will bother going up again until after new years.  If more terrain doesn't open then I'll definitely stay home.   

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  • 2 weeks later...

Large amounts of snow has fallen recently and it continues.  Most of the other lifts have opened (except summit) so there is more terrain to sponge up the crowds.  Skyliner, one of the primary front-side lifts broke a few days ago and is out of service awaiting parts.  I'll probably stay away until after the new year.  It is too crowded and snowy for me now.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Tuesday, January 11.    I'm only on day 4?  I last rode on Dec 17?   Geez.   The holiday period was packed, then we got huge dumps of snow after the new year.  This is the first weekday with reasonably good weather.  There was one tree well death a couple of weeks ago.  The Skyliner lift is STILL BROKEN and unreliable scuttlebutt says that the cause might be a bad bullwheel bearing. 

I made my first runs around the Sunrise lift.  Grooming is neither bad nor great.  The cloud deck is above the mountain so the light is flat but there is no fog.  A little bit of snow fell during the morning.  Eventually I made my way over to Pine Marten and rode the blues in this area for the first time.  No serious carving because of inconsistent snow but I did make some good turns on Thunderbird under the lift.

A pretty decent morning.  I managed to go by the top of Skyliner as the Dopplemayr crew was lowering the bullwheel.  I hope this gets fixed quickly cuz it is bumming me out.

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Edited by ExcelsiorTheFathead
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Wednesday January 12.  Another day of reasonably good weather.  High clouds, flat light, a bit windy, temperatures are too warm.  Ungroomed areas are a bit glazed over and skitchy.  I did two runs down Thunderbird at open and it was firm and fast with decent grip.  I could link a few turns but would skid out because I suck.  I went down Kangaroo on the Outback lift for the first time and this side of the mountain was pretty firm.  I went over to Cloudchaser and found better snow in general.  After a few runs there I did a few laps just carving down green Marshmallow.

So I got some reliable scuttlebutt on Skyliner.  The damage to the lift is extensive and in the best case it will take at least a couple of weeks to repair.  In the worst case, the inability to get parts will cause LITERALLY CATASTROPHIC AMAZEBALLS ONGOING FAILURE.  Get ready for the official announcements of bad news.

Even more scuttlebutt says that there has been a management shakeup at Vail-owned Stevens Pass which has come under large amounts of criticism from the people who are unfortunate enough to have to ride there.  

Pettigrew Out at Stevens Pass, Fortune Named Interim GM

Edited by ExcelsiorTheFathead
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Friday, January 14.  Three inches of new snow is groomed in and temps at open are cool but warming rapidly.  Sunny and nice.  I got to the West Village parking lot around 8:30 and it already had lots of cars.  I had to park a bit further out than I like and hike up to Pine Marten.  The snow was just about perfect and I did laps on Thunderbird.  Along the way I heard a yell from Spokane Randy that I know from Schweitzer.  I saw a couple of hardbooters and said hi to Matt who rides way too fast for me to keep up with.  More people were streaming in constantly and by 11:00 I was exhausted and I felt TRIGGERED and unsafe from the crowd so I left.

Around this time the Summit lift opened for the first time.  I would have liked to go up there but I was too tired.  I learned recently that the Summit lift runs 24/7 during the winter to keep ice off of it.  During periods of bad weather all the chairs are taken off, but the rope still turns all the time.  I've never seen this kind of operation strategy before.

Announcements regarding the Skyliner lift came out yesterday and it is indeed broken indefinitely with no known expected repair date.  The resort is trying to enact contingency plans to make it less painful, but this really blows.

By the time I drove out, the West VIllage parking lot was mostly full.  Since nobody can use the Skyliner lot right now, it drives up congestion elsewhere.  The upcoming holiday weekend will be a big challenge for resort operations.

I've got to start riding my bigger-radius Oxess skwal for big runs like Thunderbird.  My Coiler's M radius is too tight and it is wearing me out.

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Tuesday, January 25.  Sunny weather continues with some thaw-freeze.  I went up at noon hoping for softer snow but there are many areas of icy skitch all over.  No new snow is in the forecast until Sunday maybe.  I won't be going up any more until the weather pattern changes and we get a refresh.

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17 hours ago, ExcelsiorTheFathead said:

Tuesday, January 25.  Sunny weather continues with some thaw-freeze.  I went up at noon hoping for softer snow but there are many areas of icy skitch all over.  No new snow is in the forecast until Sunday maybe.  I won't be going up any more until the weather pattern changes and we get a refresh.

You could try Hoodoo while you wait it out.  Lower elevation, warmer temps.

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Tuesday, February 1.  We finally got 4" of new snow on Sunday night into Monday.  Tuesday morning was sunny and nice but cold with an open at 4 degrees.  Groomers were at least pleasant now but still too soft for great carving and somewhat variable.  I went up the Summit lift for the first time and came down the Beverly Hills run which should be a great carving exhibition run on a good day but unfortunately it was a bit chunky and scrapy since much of the new snow was blown off the run by ever-present high winds.

Altogether it was a pleasant morning.

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Wed, Thu, Fri, February 2-4.  Cool temperatures and good weather made for excellent carving with firm snow and good groom.  Schools were out on Friday and it got somewhat crowded from early on.  High temperatures are in the forecast for the weekend with no new snow in sight.  Next week might be an icy mess again.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Wednesday, February 16.  I haven't been up in a long time because of warm thaw-freeze conditions and no new but finally on Monday there was a fresh 5 inches.  Now on the 2nd day of groom, I went up to see how it is and found the snow to be neither here nor there.   Not bad but a bit variable with areas of hard skitch and lots of tree debris from a windstorm last night.  Temps are rising again so I might not go up any more until we get another dump.   

There were two on-mountain deaths in separate incidents over last weekend.  One guy hit a tree, not sure about the other.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thursday-Friday February 24-25.   There was something like 22" of new snow on Mon/Tue, then Wednesday was way too cold to ride.  Thursday had good snow with minor snow flurries and mediocre vis.  Some youth race event is taking place near the Skyliner lift area and flaggers are stopping people from crossing the race course in either direction.  I left at 11 because of crowding and long lift lines.

It was announced that Skyliner is definitely broken for the entire season.  This stinks.  People can't park at Skyliner so the other two base areas are more full all of the time.  This week is spring break for tons of people all over the West Coast so there are many Californians and Warshingtonians packing the place.

Friday was bright sunshine with well-groomed grippy dry snow.  I lapped Thunderbird until the lift line at Pine Marten got unbearable around 10:30.  Irritating, but worth it.  Some good turns were made.

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