Patrick picked me up at PDX after skiing at Timberline 6/28 and we drove to Bend and spent the next 2 nights with my high school friend Kirk. Mt. Bachelor finally took advantage of its abundant late season snowpack and brought in some race camps June 12-29. But the mountain was only open to the public June 29 - July 1 from 7:30AM - 1PM.
Friday weather was high overcast. The top of South Sister was in cloud as the tops of Mts. Hood and Jefferson had been Thursday but Bachelor's Summit was below the cloud. Most of Pine Marten's groomers were groomed and salted for the racers and Leeway and Coffee were closed for them in the first part of the morning. Despite no overnight freeze these groomers skied nicely all the way to closing. I'm on Thunderbird here.
The cloudiness slowed down the softening process. As seen here Pine Marten had close to wall to wall coverage so Patrick even poked around between some of the runs.
We got on the hill a bit after 8AM and by 9:30 I was ready to check out Summit.
Only Beverley Hills under the lift was groomed.
Therefore the big question was whether there would be much suncupping on the slopes not skied for the past month. Thankfully the answer was no, so after one groomer run we checked out Cow's Face. The snow was not quite the effortless cruise it can be after an overnight freeze but it was still quite impressive, especially considering it's June 29.
Cow's Face is due east and after about half of Summit's 1,700 vertical you need to start traversing back to the Summit chair when the Sunrise lift is not open. But the area between Cow's Face and the lift is vast so we skied 3 more runs where you get more like 3/4 of the Summit fall line in smooth snow I'd call 80% corn. East side overview:
By 11AM it was time to do the short bootpack to the Pinnacles.
We decided to hike to the true Summit.
Then we skied the short steep shot through the Pinnacles.
Then skier's right of Cirque Bowl
The usual exit here had burned off but there was another narrow exit available.
One more bowl run east of the lift.
Only now at 11:30 was the snow becoming less consistent with occasional more effort required than before.
I did another Pinnacles hike exiting skier's left in Cirque Bowl, heavy snow in the lower bowl but good skiing on the face above Skyliner while Patrick skied near the Summit lift. Next we hiked across to the west side of Summit. View of Sparks Lake with cloud topped South Sister at upper right.
Skiing the deserted west side.
We ended up on top of the Northwest lift, where a cat track returns to top of Pine Marten. For our last Summit run we traversed across the Pinnacles, emerging here.
I had hoped this would lead to the north face above Pine Marten but it ended up on top of Northwest like the previous run. It was 12:30 by now and I suspected the lower runs would be shot, but due to the salting and overcast they were not. Previously roped off Leeway and Coffee were still in great shape so we skied to 1PM closing. Total 25,300 vertical for the day.
Saturday's weather forecast was not so favorable, with 60% chance of rain after noon. We started around 8AM again. The race camps were over, so no more salting and only Thunderbird and Olympian were freshly groomed. However Coffee and Leeway were still in good shape from Friday and Patrick eventually found DSQ, which had been groomed for the racers but seen very little traffic as its entrance is narrow and near the top of the closed Skyliner lift.
The clouds were thicker than Friday and the top half of Summit was in the cloud. We skied 6 lower groomers before I headed for Summit with Patrick preferring to stay on Pine Marten with better visibility. The fog on top was not all that thick and I had skied so much up there the day before I knew where I was going. I had 3 runs on the faces east of Summit; snow over there was still good though not quite as consistent as Friday. Twice I traversed into skier's right of Cirque Bowl for a decent upper pitch, first traversing left to hit the face above Skyliner, next time continuing the fall line to the same narrow exit as on Friday. View down the bowl from just below the fog.
My final Summit run I skied the second Pinnacle, then traversed across a very sludgy western section of Cirque Bowl to reach the face above Pine Marten. View down from there.
I met Patrick at Pine Marten, skied one run on DSQ, then got the car so we could get on the road not too much past noon for the 7 hour drive to Crystal Mt. I skied 22,200 Saturday. Patrick only did one Summit run but skied 2 more on DSQ while I was getting the car, probably about 24K for him. Our timing was perfect as intermittent rain showers started just as we were changing out of ski clothes in the parking lot.
My opinion about Mt. Bachelor as the top late season ski destination in North America was reinforced by these 2 days. The scale of terrain open is comparable to what other late season places have a month or two earlier and snow preservation of unskied and ungroomed terrain is vastly superior.
Unfortunately Powdr Corp is still not very late season friendly to their local Oregon skiers. As soon as the race camps were done there was no more salting and much less grooming of the Pine Marten runs. Local season passholders had to pay $20/day to ski these last 3 days. Worst of all the race camps were there from June 12-29 and the public was not allowed on the hill until the last day despite the huge amount of skiable terrain, as noted by racers and public coexisting comfortably on June 29. By contrast 3/4 of Timberline's far more confined Palmer terrain is reserved for race camps, yet public skiing is still permitted there. And as most of you know I have had numerous Mammoth ski days in May/June when there have been race camps present.
Season length: 21 months, Nov. 29, 2010 - July 2, 2012
Days in one year: 80 from Nov. 29, 2010 - Nov. 17, 2011
Season vertical: 1,318K in 2010-11
Season powder: 291K in 2011-12