Mt. Bachelor Confronts Extreme Weather, Emphasizes Safety Amid Historic Blizzard Conditions

by | Jan 13, 2024 | Adventures, Featured, News, Weather

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In a dramatic response to what's been described as the "most extreme conditions in the last two decades," the Mt. Bachelor ski area in the Cascades has temporarily ceased operations earlier this week. This unprecedented move comes as the region grapples with a severe series of blizzards, characterized by fierce winds and numerous downed trees. The ski area, renowned for its expansive terrain and scenic vistas, shuttered its facilities midday Thursday, and the closure extended into Friday.

Mt Bachelor Oregon
Snowboarding on Mt Bachelor. Photo by Neufcent9 via Flickr CC2.

In the past week, Mount Bachelor encountered winds that surpassed 100 miles per hour, causing the mountain to be littered with downed trees. This resulted in the resort having to temporarily close for the safety of guests and staff.

Despite these challenges, there's a silver lining: the weather is expected to improve by Sunday. Mt. Bachelor reopened on Saturday with limited operations.

Over the last ten days, Mt. Bachelor has recorded over 5 feet of snow, with more anticipated in the coming days.

This abundance of fresh powder comes with a warning for skiers and snowboarders: the danger of tree wells. Mt. Bachelor advises guests to ski with a partner and stick to groomed trails for safety. Tree wells, formed under tree boughs protected from heavy snowfall, pose a suffocation risk for those who fall in. Extra caution should be taken around younger trees, where snow hasn't settled densely among the branches.

People riding the chairlift in the fog at Mount Bachelor.
Photo via the Mt Bachelor Facebook Page.

The Mount Bachelor ski area has also heightened its vigilance against avalanches, especially following recent incidents at Palisades in Tahoe. Mt. Bachelor's snowpack presents different avalanche risks compared to continental mountains, but their team actively mitigates these dangers. This includes using mortars in avalanche corridors above the summit crossover to trigger controlled avalanches.

Guests at Bachelor should use the Mt. Bachelor app. It allows skiers to track their group and contact ski patrol if needed. This is crucial in situations where a skier may not reach the bottom of a slope as expected.

As of today, January 13th, 2024, select lifts at Mt. Bachelor, including Pine Marten Express and Cloudchaser, have reopened, thanks to the diligent efforts of the maintenance teams. Guests should expect some delays due to icing.

Mt. Bachelor, boasting over 4,300 acres of lift-accessible terrain, stands as the seventh largest ski resort in North America, a testament to its enduring appeal and commitment to safety amidst nature's unpredictability.

Get safety tips about skiing Mt. Bachelor here.

Check current weather conditions on Mt. Bachelor here.

Stay up to date with extreme weather and Oregon news with That Oregon Life.

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Written By Jessica Tomlinson

Jessica Tomlinson is a native Oregonian currently living in Southern Oregon. She has been blogging since 2006. She loves nature, photography, hiking, camping, and exploring Oregon's wilds.

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