As a self-funded 14-year-old skier without family members who also skied, Mt. Bachelor was a bit of a Shangri La to me.
Growing up in Eugene, Oregon, the nearest area was the lower-elevation Willamette Pass, a brown-bag-lunch family ski hill about 50 miles east of Eugene. I would access Willamette Pass by purchasing a ticket on the Berg’s ski bus. The buses departed the parking lot of Berg’s Ski Shop in downtown Eugene at 7am, to arrive at the mountain before the lifts opened at 9. Forever the smell of a diesel engine mixed with a cold day will remind me of ski days.
However, when I purchased a used 1984 Subaru Outback from a U-Lane-O bank teller, the slopes of Mt. Bachelor came within reach.
Mt. Bachelor is a dormant stratovolcano with a moderate pitch, a formidable bowl and great tree skiing. Skiing in the Pacific Northwest is often cold and wet due to the strong, unfiltered Pacific storms. Bachelor’s bowl, with its steep entry by way of a 10-foot cornice was the site of many personal slide-for-life’s as my ski-swap equipment and fledgling skill level was outstripped by my enthusiasm for steep skiing.
After the ski day was done, I would camp in Mt. Bachelor’s parking lot in the back of my trusty Subaru. Turning in at 7pm made for a lot of early morning wake-ups and 25-mile drives to the Bend Safeway for coffee, a donut and a copy of The Oregonian. Rise up to repeat another Northwest ski day!