Backcountry Ski Touring in Bend Oregon

Steep and Deep, and All to Yourself

Backcountry Skiing

Backcountry Skiing in Central Oregon

Steep and Deep, and All to Yourself

Discover the best of backcountry skiing in Oregon. Bend offers tons of groomed slopes and gnarly terrain serviced by chairlifts, but sometimes you crave something different. Something daring. Something peaceful. Something that leaves you breathless and enamored by the hammering of your own heartbeat.

Backcountry skiing Bend’s lesser-traveled terrain isn’t for the faint of heart, but it’s a great way to find an adventure worth bragging about for years to come. There are plenty of options for backcountry skiing, snowboarding, splitboarding, ski mountaineering, and other snow adventures that can only be found a bit off the beaten track.

The Backcountry Goods

Wondering where to go? Check out these popular backcountry spots around Bend.

The Cinder Cone at Mt. Bachelor, known to locals as “The Cone” is a favorite for sidecountry skiing. The Cone offers 700 feet of vertical terrain on slopes up to 40 degrees. It’s also easily accessible as it’s within the Mt. Bachelor boundary. From the West Village parking lot, take the skin trail up the Leeway Run. The trail will zig-zag its way up to the top for 360-degree views, and probably some wind. Ski down the front side for steep terrain that continues into the trees. Or, just to the north is an open, sheer slope that’s a favorite among skiers and boarders. Before heading out, check Mt. Bachelor’s uphill traffic status and always be aware of downhill traffic and mountain operations equipment like grooming machines and snowmobiles.

Tumalo Mountain is a favorite among backcountry skiers in Central Oregon. Enjoy alpine bowls and threading between powder-capped trees. Located across the road from Mt. Bachelor, you can access it by parking at Dutchman Flat Sno-Park. A SnoPark pass is required from November 1st through April 30th.
The ascent is between 1.4 and 2.2 miles, depending on how aggressively you charge the summit. It has a vertical gain of just over 1,475 feet. Look for a skin track trail to the summit; it generally takes around 45 minutes. The easiest way to avoid any hiking back to your car is to aim for the center of Mt. Bachelor for your descent. If Bachelor’s out of sight, bear west and follow it down to the parking area.

For backcountry rentals and gear check out Pine Mountain Sports, Crow’s Feet, or Powderhouse.

Know Before You Go

When you head into the backcountry, make sure you’re prepared for the unexpected. Always carry a beacon (and know how to use it), a shovel, and an avalanche probe in addition to the remaining ten essentials. Travel with a buddy, and know what to do if things go wrong. Central Oregon Avalanche Center (COAC) has a network of properly-trained avalanche and winter conditions experts and a weather station in the heart of the Central Oregon backcountry to help you decide if today is a safe day to head into our backcountry.

A few tips, for safety’s sake:

  • Never go out without preparing yourself by learning about avalanche safety, checking weather reports, and determining avalanche conditions.
  • Pack your avalanche gear, including beacon, probe, and shovel. Make sure you’re heading out with a friend who also has all three and knows how to use them.
  • Get a good map and study it before heading out.
  • Please visit the Central Oregon Avalanche Center’s website for avalanche resources and recent snowpack observations.
  • Check the weather. The weather in the mountains around Bend can change quickly. It’s essential to be prepared and know what winter conditions to expect.

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