Mt Bachelor Lifts & Terrain

Our Terrain Ratings

Powderhound rating = advanced/expert terrain + powder + freshies + uncrowded

Our Terrain Ratings

Powderhound rating = advanced/expert terrain + powder + freshies + uncrowded
  • Mt Bachelor Trail Map
  • Vertical (ft)
    5,700 – 9,065 (3,365)
  • Average Snow Fall
    462 inches
  • Lifts (11)
    8 fast quads
    3 triple chairs
  • Ski Season
    late Nov - late May
  • Terrain Summary
    Runs – 101
    Longest run – 4 miles
    Beginner - 15%
    Intermediate - 35%
    Advanced - 30%
    Expert - 20%
The Mt. Bachelor Ski Area is big and has 4,318 acres (1,747 hectares) of skiable terrain. The terrain wraps 360 degrees around the conical volcano, so the Mt. Bachelor trail map has been divided into four different aspects. The first part of the Mount Bachelor Ski Resort to be developed was the northeastern side, which continues to be the main part of the ski area with two main base areas. The SE side has lots of intermediate terrain and it can be the spot to retreat on low vis days, whilst the NW side has some great terrain for intermediate and advanced riders. The southwest side is the backside with its “extreme” terrain, and without any chairs, it feels like sidecountry terrain even though it’s in-bounds.

Despite a few flat spots on the frontside that are graciously marked on the trail map, the Mt Bachelor Ski Area is well loved by snowboarders for its interesting lava flow terrain that includes gullies and natural hits. The tree spacing is mostly generous, although this may attract some snowboarders into the trees without the requisite skills. Tree wells and snow immersion suffocation are a major hazard in the lower parts of the ski area, so don’t ride the trees alone or go there without adequate tree well knowledge.

Lifts

Mt. Bachelor has very good lift infrastructure. There are no gondolas and none of the lifts are hooded (unless you count the covered magic carpet), yet 8 of the 11 chair lifts are fast.

The Summit chair lift is the best thing and the worst thing about the Mt. Bachelor ski area. It provides access to the best terrain including the backside, along with a handful of intermediate runs. Shame it’s not a T-bar though, because the exposed Summit chair goes on wind hold reasonably often, which shuts down access to about half of the mountain. Also, you have to sidestep up to the Summit chair lift which is a bit daft, unless of course it was designed with a usual 23 ft snow base in mind.

There is no night skiing at Mt. Bachelor.

Crowds

The crowds at Mount Bachelor are quite reasonable relative to some of the high profile Epic ski resorts and Ikon resorts. The Mt Bachelor ski area can get very busy on weekends, especially if the Summit chair is open. Like most ski resorts, the bottlenecks are usually only at the lower chairs to get up from the base and the towies have well organised systems to manage the queues. Any crowds tend to disperse quickly because there is a lot of mountain to spread out on.

Mt. Bachelor Snow and Weather

The Bach does well in the snow volume stakes, with an average of 462 inches (11.7 metres) of snowfall on average each season. The snow quality is not akin to that of Colorado or Utah, but definitely better than other PNW ski resorts that are closer to the ocean. Factors that also contribute to decent snow quality include high elevation, and the main slopes face northeast or northwest. As to expected, the backside can have highly variable snow conditions due to the sun, and the wind can also wreak havoc with the snow. The highly developed snow ghost trees are somewhat indicative of the frequent feral weather. Being stormy and windy is pretty common for the northwest, and you learn to play around with the aspects to find the blown-in snow and fun wind lips.

Beginner Skiing Mt Bachelor

As is common with volcano skiing, the very mellow terrain can be found near the base. Novices have plenty of reasonably dedicated beginner terrain off Sunshine, Sunrise and Carousel chairs, and the Rainbow chair to a lesser degree. The main trails that may intimidate novices due to many others zooming past are the Summit Crossover and the West Village Getback.

Mt Bachelor Skiing for the Intermediate

The intermediate terrain is exceptional. The number one pick would be the Cloudchaser chair, especially on days when the rest of the ski area is socked in. If the Summit’s open, there are some steeper blues that run down to Cloudchaser. Another favourite is the Outback Express area that has lots of Australiana named runs, minus the crap snow that you’d often find at Australian ski resorts. This zone has a mix of blue runs along with reasonably easy blacks.

One very minor limitation of the Mt Bachelor ski terrain for some intermediates, could be the lack of perfect fall line skiing which is often ideal for practising carving. Thanks to lava flows many years ago, most of the runs have camber, berms and whoopsie-dos.

Terrain Parks

In a similarly strange manner to the nomenclature around the Outback, the various Mt Bachelor terrain parks are named after beaches along the coast of Oregon. Or possibly this is due to the natural wave-like terrain of the parks? The parks provide plenty of variety and are modified regularly to stay on-point. The halfpipe aka show-pony pipe is located right under a major arterial lift.

Advanced Skiing Mount Bachelor

Woo hoo! Mt Bachelor is ideal for advanced riders (so long as they can stay out of the tree wells).

On-piste, you can choose from short black runs off the Pine Marten, blue/black combos off Outback, and open runs off the Summit, although the patrollers have to do some serious avalanche control work in there first. The pick of the bunch is the Northwest chair, with its longer black runs and the legendary tree skiing either side of it. The off-piste runs start as widely-spaced snow-caked trees and transition into old evergreens with lots of mini gullies and knobs.

From the Northwest chair you can traverse left for a long while into some of the backside terrain. The problem is that so many fools can’t stick to one traverse, or even ten traverse lines, and the mountain becomes scarred with a zillion horizontal lines. Chances are snowboarders, if you can’t hold a decent traverse, you’re probably not good enough to be in this area and stay out of the tree wells (there, I’ve said my piece now!).

Most of the so-called double blacks could also be tackled by most advanced skiers and snowboarders, especially if the snow’s good.

Expert Ski and Snowboard Terrain

Despite claiming that 20 percent of the terrain is “extreme”, Mt. Bachelor wouldn’t even have that much terrain that was “expert”. Particularly compared to some other PNW ski resorts that have truly challenging terrain such as Mt Baker, Crystal Mountain, and even Mt Hood Meadows, Mt Bachelor can’t even start to compete.

Some of the steepest terrain is situated at the top of the front side, which has cornices and rocky features to provide a little technical challenge, yet after one or two turns it mellows out and you’re into the open bowl with plenty of room to blow off speed.

The backside is all rated as expert terrain, and it’s super fun and ideal for upper advanced to expert riders. It’s playful terrain with plenty of ridges and dips and different trees, and on one hand it provides lots of variety, and on the other hand the myriad of lines here feel repetitive. You could swear you’ve just copied a run, until you get to the catchline and realise you’re further left or right. And speaking of tediously repetitive, the two catch lines around the perimeter are ridiculously long to get back to a lift.

The majority of the expert terrain is not (lift) accessible when the Summit chair is on wind-hold. You’ll need to ride the Northwest chair and traverse into the trees (but stay on a previously formed traverse track or I’ll have your legs for lunch).

The cinder cone (“The Cone”) above the main parking lot offers hike-to terrain, with a mix of open bowls and tree skiing. If you fang it down from the Leeway run, you can make it about half way up before you have to hike the steep pitch.

Sidecountry and Backcountry

Considering that you can ski the whole mountain in-bounds around 360 degrees, there’s no potential for sidecountry at Mt. Bachelor. Even the hike-to-terrain on the little cinder cone is in-bounds.

Across the highway from the Mt Bachelor parking lot is Tumalo Mountain, which is popular for backcountry skiing and often has an established boot pack. A Sno-Park permit is required. There are also a couple of other nearby peaks for backcountry skiing, and lots of the locals use sleds for the initial approach.