Story and Photo by Nicole Scopelliti
As we begin the cold, dark descent into winter, many of us will be tempted to grab a blanket and hibernate on the couch. Although this doesn’t sound so bad, being cooped up all winter isn’t healthy for you or your already-strained relationship with your roommates. Are you ready to break the monotony of the winter blues? Grab your warmest mittens and some powder skis, because we’re heading outside.
Although the trek to this powder paradise is a tedious one, the beautiful Cascadian scenery makes it all worth it. Mt. Bachelor is a popular snow sport hub for many UO students for good reason. Whether you’re interested in skiing, snowboarding or tubing this winter, Mt. Bachelor has you covered with over 4,300 acres of skiable terrain for all skill levels. Take one of the 11 lifts to the top elevation of 9,065’ and expect big smiles all the way down!
Mt. Bachelor’s Snowblast tubing is a great alternative for those who would rather not ski or snowboard, but still want to get out into the snow. Three sessions of tubing are offered during the day, and you can either buy a one-session ticket or an all-day ticket. Check MtBachelor.com for lift ticket and Snowblast tubing prices and information. Mt. Bachelor operates from 9am-4pm during the heart of the ski season.
If the long haul to Mt. Bachelor seems intimidating, check out the closer Willamette Pass. With an average snowfall of 430 inches per year, Willamette Pass is a great place to experience what Oregon winters have to offer. Not only are skiers and snowboarders welcome, but those interested in snowshoeing or nordic skiing are as well. There truly is an activity for everyone here. Check WilliamettePass.com for ticket rates and snow conditions. Willamette Pass operates from 9am-4pm, weather and snow permitting.
No matter how many times you’ve visited Crater Lake National Park, it never loses its grandeur. During the winter, the park is covered in snow and is surrounded by dusted trees and low-lying clouds. Looking for a VIP experience? Consider embarking on a guided snowshoe trip with a Crater Lake ranger. Not only will you see the amazing forests of the park, you will get to hear an experienced ranger discuss the history and ecology of Crater Lake as well. No snowshoeing experience is necessary to attend the walk, and snowshoes are provided through the center free of charge. Guided trips are usually available between December and May, although specific times for each season may vary. For information on departure times and to reserve your spot on a ranger-guided snowshoe trip, call the Crater Lake’s visitor center at 541-594-3100.
Just because you don’t have a car doesn’t mean that you can’t indulge in some wintery fun. There are various programs and services in Eugene that will help you get to the mountain this winter for little cost. Check out some of the options below.
Berg’s Ski Shop
Not only is Berg’s a great place to buy winter gear, it’s also a great place to catch a ride to the mountain this winter. Berg’s offers bus rides to Mt. Hood Meadows, Mt. Bachelor, Willamette Pass and Hoodoo. Buses to Mt. Hood Meadows only operate on Saturday, buses to Mt. Bachelor operate on both Wednesday (Hookey Bus) and Saturday, and buses to Willamette Pass operate on Saturday, Sunday and holidays. The Hoodoo bus schedule is currently tentative, as trips are dependent on resort opening dates and adequate snow depth. Each available bus has different pricing options and departure times, so it’s important to check the schedule at BergsSkiShop.com once the ski season begins. You can also reserve a spot on the website or give Berg’s a call at 541-683-1300. If you’re not into skiing or snowboarding, you can also take a bus to go tubing as well!
University of Oregon Outdoor Program
The Outdoor Program is one of the most convenient ways to get outside this winter while making new friends along the way. The Outdoor Program Barn, located at 1225 E. 18th Avenue, is a great place to rent gear for your next winter adventure. For a small fee, you can rent gear such as snowshoes, skis, waterproof winter wear and more. The Outdoor Program also offers affordable student-initiated trips students can attend. Past trips have included cross country skiing, snowboarding and snowshoeing. Signing up for Outdoor Program trips is simple – just visit OutdoorProgram.uoregon.edu to check out the costs and expectations of currently-posted outings. Typically, there is at least one mountain trip sent out per weekend, which means there are plenty of chances to gear up and catch that first chair this season.