I live in San Francisco, so when I think about skiing my thoughts never stray far beyond Lake Tahoe. After all, I can get there in three hours (if I time my departure to avoid heavy traffic), resorts such as Squaw Valley, Alpine Meadows, Heavenly Valley, Northstar, and others offer slopes and facilities as appealing as just about anywhere (Squaw Valley, certainly, is recognized around the world as a great ski resort), and I have friends there to visit.
If it’s Nordic skiing I want rather than alpine, the Tahoe Cross Country Ski Area near Tahoe City on the north shore has 40 miles of groomed trails, fabulous views of the lake, trailside warming huts, and everything you’d expect in facilities. Many of the downhill resorts also have cross-country options, so why would I go anywhere else?
I remember a long working trip to Chamonix in the French Alps when we managed to ski several mornings before settling down to work. And a trip to Vail a few years ago opened my eyes to the desert-dry powder of high-altitude Colorado skiing. Speaking of “desert-dry,” friends have raved about Utah but I haven’t skied there yet, and my many “off-season” trips to Switzerland have whetted my appetite but I’ve never been able to buckle on my ski boots there.
One place I’ve thought about for decades, and a place I’ve still never been, is Bend, Oregon. I like the sound of uncrowded slopes, short lift lines, fabulous snow, and ticket prices that don’t give me pause. And now it seems that Bend’s Mount Bachelor is all over the press as the place to ski this winter. First there was Bill Fink’s story in the San Francisco Chronicle, and now Whitney Malkin’s AP piece that I saw in USA Today. If these guys are pointing the world to Bend I’d better get there in a hurry before it gets jammed with people like me. Maybe this winter is the time.