The Inertia Mountain Contributing Editor

The Inertia

Winter got off to a slow start in the Pacific Northwest. Low base depths meant limited terrain offerings and milking the groomers for all they were worth. That all changed with a historic storm cycle that rolled through in early January, bringing feet of snow to the near-barren slopes of the Cascades.

As Bend local and Mt. Bachelor team rider Randal Seaton says, “It was actually kind of crazy. The start of the season had been pushed back quite a bit, and they opened up on a perfect powder day. We had a bunch of new snow, and everybody was ripping. Then the temps rose to 36 degrees, and it started raining and rained for three days. Mountain ops fully shut down the hill, and everyone just gets iced for those days. Then, the following week, Bachelor doesn’t open up at all.”

“The following weekend, the mountain opens up again, but it’s the same story – more snow on Saturday and a full-on powder day, then straight back to another four days of rain, and then it got cold. So it was warm, and then suddenly, it was a total ice-up. This is how it was through the Dirksen Derby – treacherous conditions. Things stayed like that through the New Year. Then it started dumping, and, I mean, it didn’t stop for two weeks or something like that.”

With over 100 inches of snow and counting in January, things are shaping up nicely though it looks to be a classic rollercoaster of a season for the PNW as warm, wet weather is again on tap with some better conditions on the horizon.

There isn’t a consensus from the Bachelor locals on where the season will go from here, and Seaton was reluctant to give me his prediction. “My inlaws ask me this all the time,” he says. “They want a mountain report or to know what I think about the weather outlook. It’s hard because I’m an eternal optimist when it comes to the mountain. I think I might be too optimistic because every day that I go, I have a wonderful time, and I can overcome any of those weather issues and focus on the people. If it’s shitty conditions, I’ll just start conversations with folks, talk to strangers, and just go board. So, I don’t know; I’m a bit too much of an optimist. I’m just excited for the next day all the time.”


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