If you're new to Bend or even if you've lived here a while, it's time to head up to Mt. Bachelor to check out what's new for 2020. This season, Central Oregon's famed ski area, the sixth largest in North America, has ramped up activities to guarantee that everyone falls in love with the snow. At first glance, the abundance of choices may feel overwhelming, but with a few quick tips, the family will be comfortable and ready for adventure.
- Brian Becker
- Another beautiful day at Mt. Bachelor – kids rule!
Plan a day or even a weekend trip to Mt. Bachelor. If you want to camp overnight, reservations for RV parking can be made online. What better way to start the day than to experience the mesmerizing alpenglow of the Cascades. The kids will love waking up to the snow and the nearby lifts. Bachelor offers powered and non-powered sites. Check the website for rates and availability (mtbachelor.com/info/parking/).
For an excellent family experience, head to Sunrise Base. Here lies the home of the recently remodeled Sunrise Lodge and the new Woodward Mountain Park. The park, a network of 15 thoughtfully constructed terrain zones, allows individuals to discover their own abilities. It's also the perfect place to get potential skiers comfortable in the powder. First timers can begin at the Woodward Start Park, a playground designed to introduce newbies to mild terrain with slight contours. Here they can learn to comfortably slide on the snow and control speed. As confidence builds, skiers can work their way through the three levels of the Woodward Progression Parks where the inclines slowly get steeper, the jumps a bit higher, and the experience more thrilling.
It's never too early to get even the youngest kids playing in the fluffy white stuff. The little ones, ages 2 and a half years and older, can become "Snow Explorers". They'll make snowmen, snow angels, and even learn how to glide and walk on skis. Kids ages 3 and a half years and older can try the Signature Start program where they get a half day of indoor childcare and a two-hour Gravity School lesson. When ready, they can take a five-hour full day lesson. Older children in the six to 12-year range, and finally 13 and up, also have the option to take a two-hour or five-hour group lesson. Private lessons are available as well.
If the young ones aren't quite ready to ski, no worries. At the West Village Lodge, day care options are available for ages six weeks to 10 years. Rooms are divided into interest areas to let the kids engage with blocks, dolls, puzzles, and more. Times are scheduled for crafts, music, stories, and other activities.
- Andy Tullis
- Famlies that play together stay together.
It's always best to check the website for deals, but currently, kids 12 and under ski free with the purchase of a three (or more)-day adult lift ticket. Purchasing advance tickets online also saves $10.
The best deal, at least for beginners, is Bachelor's trademark "Ski or Ride in 5." A program for newcomers who really want to learn to ski or snowboard, this is the way to go. It's hard to beat five lessons with seasoned instructors, a snowboard or ski rental and a priority lift ticket. Plus, the pass remains good for the remainder of the season, then costs half the price the following year, with a 25% discount the third year. If you haven't fallen in love with skiing by then, you probably never will.
Finally, for those family members not interested in skiing or snowboarding, there is no need to miss out. Mt. Bachelor wants everyone to experience the playfulness and excitement of winter in the Cascades. The Snowblast Tubing Park is open Fridays through Sundays and on holidays. Or how about a snowshoe tour with a US Forest Service naturalist to explore the ecology of Central Oregon? These tours are free, and the scenery breathtaking. Too tame? Try a bucketlist dog sled ride or even a helicopter tour that lets visitors explore the jagged peaks of Broken Top, the Three Sisters and other iconic Central Oregon peaks.
- Adobe Stock
- Family fun at the Snowblast Tubing Park.
When it's time for a break, several dining options are scattered throughout the resort, some with amazing views of the Cascades. With cafes, bars, and the new Egan's Outpost food truck, there is no shortage of variety: pizza, Mexican, burgers, pastries and more. Or, you may even decide to bring your own snacks and lunch. Feel free to bring a grill and have a picnic in the parking lot or sit around a warm fire on the patio at the West Village Lodge. The three lodges all have bathrooms and comfortable places to relax and warm the toes.
No matter how you choose to spend your time at Mt. Bachelor, the magic of the snow is notorious for creating lifelong memories. And, if you and your family don't have the ski bug now, chances are you all will after a little time at Bachelor.