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Spring Skiing at Bachelor, Crystal, Whistler

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

On the way home from the Mammoth, Squaw, Alpine, Gathering and traveling in a truck camper with my dog, I stopped at Mt. Bachelor and skied for a week on a Spring Pass ($129 senior sale price). Bachelor offers preferred RV parking near 24 hour washrooms and pay showers ($5=5minutes) for $15/ night. No on hill lodging but Bend is 20-30 minutes away.

 

Unfortunately due to a combination of weather and mechanical problems the Summit Chair remained closed all week. I'm told that this is a fairly common occurrence and this is too bad because it accesses the upper and backside of the mountain where I'm also told lies some of Bachelor's best terrain.

 

Of the chairs that were open, the Northwest Chair was my favourite as it offered long runs with bowls at the top and tree skiing or runs cut through the trees on the lower portion of the runs. The bowls were brutal in the braille like fog for a couple days but I also got some ankle deep snow for a couple days.

 

I also met up with and had a great time skiing with Slider (Scott). I think I may have talked him in to attending next season's Jackson Hole Gathering. Scott showed me a number of treed areas and clumps of trees that were between the runs on the front side of the mountain that were relatively untouched days after some fresh snow.

 

Snow coverage was excellent and I'd have to say that Bachelor had the most snow of the 14 ski resorts that I visited this season.

 

On my last day at Bachelor it got really warm so I left early for the coast and the next day I rented a quad ATV and went out and played around on the sand dunes. Then it was a drive up the gorgeous Oregon Coast where I camped overnight at a state park right on a huge beach. My dog, Tia, loved running around on the firm sand.

 

Next it was off to Crystal on another Spring Pass ($160 including tax). They also have RV parking for $25/ night or $35 for electricity, no washrooms or showers. There are also 2 or 3 on mountain overnight lodges and day lodges and not much else except a large number of some fabulous black diamond skiing.

 

Most skiers at Crystal are from Seattle and area and there are not a lot of out of town skiers like me so On my first ride up the gondola some friendly locals offered to show me around and indeed I had a great time following these guys around for most of the day.

 

The next day I met up with DesiredUsername (David) and had another great day following him around. By about 2:30 my legs were telling me that I had enough so I quit for the day, changed out of my ski gear and took Tia around the parking lot for a walk. I then decided to relax and lie down on my camper couch for a few moments. I woke up about an hour later feeling refreshed and thankful that I had quit skiing early.

 

While the two previous days had near perfect spring snow that was firm in the early morning and softening up in late morning, the next day was really warm and getting too soft too early so I cut my stay short and headed north to Whistler to use up my 2 Mountain Collective Pass days. At this point I had been on the road in my truck camper for nearly a month (my second month long ski trip this winter) and I was actually anxious to finish the trip.

 

Whistler does not allow overnight RV parking but I did just that in their RV day lot without being asked to leave. If I had needed to run my generator, then I probably would get the boot. However there are a few small pull outs and two large pull outs on the side of the road north of town on the way to Pemberton.

 

Since things did not soften up right away I did a late start around 10:30 and found quite a line up at the Whistler Village Gondola. There were no line ups at anywhere else on the mountain and no problem finding a table in any lodge at lunch time. There was a sign at the Gondola entrance which said "Access to the Peak to Peak Gondola" I wanted to ski Whistler, not Blackcomb but I did  not want to wait in line, so I went about 200 feet away to the Blackcomb Gondola where there was no line up and after that short ride and two more chair rides I was at the Blackcomb side of the Peak to Peak Gondola.

 

The Peak to Peak is amazing and IIRC it was built in 2008 for $50 million. Here are some stats: There are only 4 towers each 100 to 213 feet tall.and the length of unsupported span is 1.88 miles, longest for this kind of lift in the world. The highest point above the ground is 1427 feet above Fitzsimmons Creek is the highest in the world for this kind of lift.

 

The Gondola Stations at 6.069 feet ASL are the largest in the world and are 2.73 miles apart.

Speed: 24.6 feet/second

Ride time: 11 minutes

Cabin capacity: 24 seated, 4 standing, 28 cars, 2 with glass floor section.

One cabin departs every 49 seconds and there is a total capacity of 2050 people/hour each way.

 

The Peak to Peak is the only gondola installation of this kind in North America so if you visit Whistler, riding it at least once is a must.

 

The Whistler Village is a huge shopping mall with a great variety of high end merchandise and some sale items. Lots of great dining as well.

 

When I left Whistler to head home to Sun Peaks in the B.C. Interior, I took Highway 99 (North) which is the back way through the Coast Mountains and it completely bypasses Vancouver and the lower Fraser Valley. There are some twisty switch backs and steep 13% grades but the mountain views are spectacular and it is a time saver. In winter there is a weekly shuttle bus that takes this route between Whistler and Sun Peaks.

post #2 of 15

Nice adventure Dano. You live the good life. Enjoyed our turns at Mammoth. One day Ill get up your way.

post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by agreen View Post
 

Nice adventure Dano. You live the good life. Enjoyed our turns at Mammoth. One day Ill get up your way.

Ari, you posted on another thread that you where interested in Spring skiing at Bachelor next year, so I hope this TR helps you. Based on just skiing and not other factors, I would chose Crystal over Bachelor every time.

post #4 of 15
Quote:
Based on just skiing and not other factors, I would chose Crystal over Bachelor every time. 

The Bachelor spring experience was severely degraded by Summit not being open.  That's the most vast and consistent lift served corn you'll ever ski. The Summit lift is subject to chronic crosswinds and open about half the time in winter.  Those odds should be better in spring.  I've been very lucky with Bachelor, having Summit open 19 out of 23 ski days.  A few years back, Powdr Corp's penny pinching did result in some lift maintenance issues.  Hopefully that is not what's happening with Summit now.  Nonetheless I suspect most Bend locals have zero sympathy for the current distress of Powdr Corp with its Park City lease.

 

In terms of terrain quality, particularly advanced-to-expert, Crystal is one of the best.   However all 3 days I've skied there have had heavy spring snow, and one of those was in early February.

post #5 of 15

I'd echo that you were unlucky with Summit being broken. I've skied Bachelor many days in Spring and the Summit is open approx 80% of the time. The skiing off the top (short hike) down the various aspects of the cone is absolutely stunning in Spring, and the amount of terrain open by late April and May is usually far more than Crystal.They're even keeping the NW express open until May 11th this year, which is far longer than usual.

 

Can't wait to be there in 2 weeks ;)

post #6 of 15

This is a wonderful trip report.  I skied Crystal for the first time in mid march (coming from Massachusetts!).  One of the best mountains I skied, and we had good snow which always helps.

post #7 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Liam View Post
 

This is a wonderful trip report.  I skied Crystal for the first time in mid march (coming from Massachusetts!).  One of the best mountains I skied, and we had good snow which always helps.

 

l had the feeling while at Crystal that had it been private land and not been located on Forest Service land then the place would have long ago been expanded and developed in to more of a destination resort. While I was there I kept eyeballing the undeveloped slopes on the other side of the valley from the parking lot as well as other parts of the area that could offer great skiing.

 

They are going to replace the High Campbell Chair this summer with a fixed grip chair as well as another chair replacement.

post #8 of 15
You guys see this?http://www.epicski.com/t/127557/crystal-mountains-plans-for-14-15-improvements

Yes, limited development. Honestly its a great thing. The few slope side houses that exist off the gold hills chair are the legacy of mixed ownership, mining claims, etc... Pre forest service admin.

The proposed bullion basin lift is essentially a rebuilt of a lift that existed years ago. Glad some of you have had the chance and the will power to make it up!
post #9 of 15
Thread Starter 

One thing that I forgot to mention in my TR is that both Bachelor and Crystal did not have bear proof garbage cans. Mammoth did and so did Squaw (I think). Whistler had bear proof cans and a sign saying that 60 bears live within the ski area boundaries.

 

In summer I live in B.C.'s capital, Victoria, on the southern tip of Vancouver Island. The Island lies about 20 miles off the B.C. Mainland Coast and is 300 miles long and 50-75 miles wide. It has an estimated 7,000 bears. The rest of B.C. has tens of thousands of bears as they are almost as common as field mice. So how come there are no bears (excepting EpicSki Bears) in Central Oregon and Northern Wash?

post #10 of 15

Oregon is home to about 25,000 to 30,000 black bears, North America’s most common bear species. Generally black in color, they can also be brown, cinnamon or blond. Fast and agile, they are good swimmers and climbers who prefer forests, trails and streams. At home throughout Oregon, black bears are omnivorous and have a diverse diet including berries, fruit, grasses and plants. Although they will consume small mammals, insects and amphibians, these bears are not usually active predators.

post #11 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by DanoT View Post
So how come there are no bears (excepting EpicSki Bears) in Central Oregon and Northern Wash?

There are plenty of bears in them thar hills, but they don't seem to be a problem during the ski season.  Maybe it's because the ski areas close well before the snow is off (sometimes with the most snow of the season still on the ground) and the bears just have not gotten there yet.  Places like Whistler are open all year round and have to make allowances for such stuff.

post #12 of 15

Whistler the bears are waking up from winter. It is not uncommon to see one on the ski out in the spring. If your skiing solo it's never a bad idea make some noise before making a blind corner when your down so low that there is just a snow path left. Not a lot of passing room.     

post #13 of 15

*

post #14 of 15

nice picture. If you took it hope you were in a car with a tele lens, otherwise it looks like about 1 second to impact.  

post #15 of 15

Last time I was in Banff they used to sell a shirt with the logo "Don't feed the locals" which had a picture of a bear, wolf, cougar and so on.

 

Think this applies to the photo.

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