16. Mt. Bachelor, Oregon

Mt. Bachelor is more about having fun riding with your friends than getting extreme¿there’s not really much dangerous terrain. But this also makes it a great place for freeriding with your family¿the whole mountain is like a natural snowboard park, and the snow is plentiful enough for Bachelor’s season to last from mid November until July 4.

When it dumps and the Summit Chair is open, drop over into the back side or the Northwest Territories¿it’s totally uncrowded with lots of natural glades, gullies, banks, berms, and windlips. There’s a long traverse at the bottom to get back to the Northwest Chair, which accesses the steepest terrain. If Summit Chair is closed you can still experience sick tree runs by accessing Pine Marten Express to the Outback or Northwest Express quads.

Rainbow is the mellower side of the mountain, so it’s a lot of fun for beginners and families. The runs are wide and well-maintained¿a great place for carvers to lay down some hero arcs.

On powder days the riding is good everywhere. The top of the Rainbow side has snakeruns, quarterpipes. and wide-open glades. Or take Pine Marten Express up from the main lodge and come down next to the old Red Chair for some good rollers and trees. Fresh tracks on Cinder Cone are a dream come true, but you have to get there early and hike up from the back side. It’s as steep as it gets on Bachelor¿wide open at top with a fast tree run at the bottom.

There’s a big cornice on the front side of the summit that has a windlip, headwall, and a big rock. The runout is short and gets tracked out soon after a storm, but even the average rider can launch 25-footers because the landing is so steep and deep. Drop in on the big Jamo Jump, named after Kris Jamieson, one of the original Bachelor boarders.

If the natural terrain isn’t enough, the resort has a halfpipe, triple jump, and a terrain park this season.

Because Bachelor is on the desert side of the Cascade Range, it usually has better weather and drier snow than the rest of the Northwest resorts, which are often socked in. You have a much better chance of getting a bluebird day at Bachelor. The weather is unpredictable in winter, and the fog can be dense at times, but spring is mostly sunny.

There’s no lodging on the mountain, and it’s a twenty-minute drive to Bend¿a friendly town with many good restaurants and micro-breweries.

The most convenient way to reach Mt. Bachelor is by flying into Redmond, 25 minutes from Bend and 45 minutes from the mountain. There are direct flights from Seattle, Portland, and San Francisco. The drive from Portland takes about three-and-a-half hours. If you’re driving, take the scenic route past Mt. Hood and visit the Indian Museum in Warm Springs, then check out Smith Rocks, a famous rock-climbing mecca on the way to Bend.