Monday, March 12, 2012

Girl's Ski Weekend

Every year, a bunch of my women friends plan a girls ski weekend.  The past couple of years, we've traveled to Steamboat, Colorado.  But this year the decision was made to stay in state.  Two of the ladies now own vacation homes in the resort town of Sunriver, just outside of Bend.  We all love to ski Mt. Bachelor, and the lure of cheap lodging sealed the deal.  A date was set, and plans made. 

Size matters!  Click on any photo to enjoy a larger version.

Cool clouds over South Sister

Then, about a week before the trip, people began to drop out.  The day before departure, the group had been whittled down to two people - my friend Kim and I. 

Dale in action!

But we had made plans, and a lack of participants wasn't going to stop us - girls ski weekend would go on as planned, even if there were only two of us!

Ice-crusted tree frames Mt. Bachelor summit

Of course, our timing was a day off.  Two days before we left for Bend, a huge snowstorm rolled over the Cascades, dropping a foot and a half of fluffy white stuff.  Wednesday was stormy, but Thursday was powder heaven.  Unfortunately, we didn't ski until Friday.  Although the snow was still good, it was totally tracked out.  Everyone we talked to on the lift told us "you should have been here yesterday!"  (Yeah.....yeah.....)

I took advantage of a clear-sky moment

My brother Dale played hooky from work on Friday and joined Kim and I on the slopes (which explains the photo of a guy in this "girls weekend" blog post).  It's OK - brothers are allowed on girl's ski weekends (just not husbands and kids).

Kim and I share a laugh

Friday was a beautiful Central Oregon blue-sky day.  It was great to take in the fantastic mountain views from Mt. Bachelor's slopes.

Dale, eyeing my ski poles

Fresh from my lesson from the Meadow's ski photographer, I loaded up my "big girl" camera in a fanny pack and took it with me on the lifts.  I hoped to get some practice shooting action shots.  Dale and Kim got the privilege of being my photo subjects (lucky them!).

Kim makin' turns

I tried to remember everything I'd learned from my photography class.  Although I did get a couple of good action shots of my companions, there weren't as many as expected.  But here is one great photo I got of Kim.  Doesn't she look like a pro skier?

The Three Sisters mountain trio

And here is another one I really like of the Three Sisters mountains emerging from the clouds.

Dale kicks up some pow

After a great day of skiing, Kim and I headed back to the luxurious home we were staying in at Sunriver.  We had a four-bedroom, three bath house - all to ourselves.  There was a hot tub on the back deck (which we took full advantage of!)  After a soak and dinner, we opened a bottle of wine, and settled down to watch a chick flick.  Girls weekend doesn't get any better than this!

Sparks Lake view from the Outback

Saturday morning dawned clear and sunny down in Sunriver.  But up on Mt. Bachelor it was a different world.  The "conditions" page on Bachelor's website was reporting fog and mist.  The good news was that this weather was supposed to burn off in a couple of hours.  But the bad news was we had to deal with drizzle first thing.  Kim and I decided to drive up anyway, and check it out for ourselves.

Sunshine is always welcome!

On the road to Bachelor, the skies were clear except for a big cloud hanging over the mountain.    As we got closer, the sunshine vanished, and small specks of rain began to dot the windshield.  Then Kim spied a rainbow hanging in the cloudy murk.  Yes, a RAINBOW!  How often do you see a rainbow as you are driving up to go skiing?  Only in the Pacific Northwest!

Low clouds by the Northwest Express Lift

Upon arrival in the Bachelor parking lot, we were greeted with a light mist spitting out of the clouds.  To buy some time, Kim and I walked around the ski shop for a half hour, hoping things would clear up.  But you can only look at expensive ski clothes (that I will never be able to afford) for so long.  Finally Kim and I decided to hop on the lift and give it a try.

Kim enjoying the view

Visibility was very limited on the top of the main lift.  Since neither of us care for "skiing by Braille," I suggested we try the easternmost lift (coincidentally called the Rainbow Lift).  It was a little bit lower, and sometimes has better weather.

More cool icy trees

As Kim and I rode up the Rainbow Lift, we could already see the sky starting to lighten.  On our second trip up, the clouds began to part.  By the time our chair reached the top of the lift, we were basking in sunshine.

Late afternoon light on the mountains

By the third trip up the Rainbow lift, we could see clearing spreading to the western side of the mountain.  It was time to head west, following the sunshine.

More ice-encrusted trees

The rest of the day was absolutely fabulous.  The sky cleared to a brilliant blue.  The snow softened up to a skiable consistency.  Kim and did lap after lap, until our legs started to complain rather loudly.

Ski goggle self-portrait

Kim finally conceded defeat and headed for the lodge.  I thought I still had a couple more runs left in me, and tried to stretch as much skiing as I could from the day.  Taking frequent photo (aka "rest") breaks helped prolong my legs.  The ice-crusted trees at the top of the Pine Marten lift caught my camera's attention.  The late afternoon light made for some dramatic scenery.  (That's why you're seeing a ton of frosty tree photos!)

Late afternoon sun lights up the cone

Before we left, Kim used her iphone to send a photo of the sunny slopes to all the ladies who bagged on us.  Then she bragged about the great time we had.  Ha-ha, their loss!  Maybe next year they'll think twice before cancelling.

I'm really glad we didn't stay home.  It turned out to be a wonderful trip!  Who says you can't have a great girls ski weekend with only two girls?


  1. Looks like a fun weekend with the girls. I love all the pictures of the crusted over trees, but I am sure glad I don't have any snow here!

  2. That is so awesome! The pictures are amazing. I love Sunriver. It is one of my family's favorite places to stay in the summer. We have never stayed in the winter. We always enjoy the hot tubs at the end of the day:)

  3. One of my favorite things about your blog is your EXCELLENT photos! Loved the icy trees and the low clouds photo is really cool.


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