MOUNT BACHELOR, Ore. (AP) - Deep powder is standard issue at Mount Bachelor, a West coast favorite that averages 400 inches of snow per season, just 20 miles from the outdoors haven of Bend, Oregon.
Framed by towering ponderosas and crackling pines, Bend is home to world-class cyclists, triathletes, kayakers and rock climbers.
The local population has quadrupled in the past 20 years, but the town's core of 70,000 are friendly and eager to get outside and play.
This photo released by Mt. Bachelor Inc. shows a skier at Mt. Bachelor Ski Resort near Bend, Ore., on the Cirque, with pinnacles shown in the background.
Named one of the five best little ski towns in America by Travel + Leisure magazine's December issue, and one of Outside magazine's best towns last year, Bend is surrounded by 2 million acres of national forest, roaring rivers and of course, the Cascade Mountains.
A logging town that hasn't forgotten its roots, the earthy, laid-back community has Craftsman-style architecture, a buzzing downtown and an exceptional culinary scene.
More than half of the people here have a dog, and you're likely to see Subarus with roof racks crowding nearly every parking lot in town.
On the slopes, there are 10 lifts, several terrain parks, more than 31 miles of Nordic trails, and a tubing hill.
At a little over 9,000 feet, this is a mountain known for exceptionally long seasons that stretch into May. It's also a dormant volcano that regularly breathes steam through tiny cracks. The vents are so small, you ski right over them, but the heat melts snow around the crevices, which can be seen if you happen to look.
Lift tickets are $58 ($69 on Saturdays and on holidays) for adults and $14 to $17 for Nordic skiing.
On the mountain's cloudy days, skiers should try the Outback chair, on the northwest shoulder of the mountain, where conditions are often pristine and runs feature the best moguls.
Boarders will likely feel at home in the Superpipe, which has been home to the Chevy Truck US Snowboard Grand Prix and 2006 Olympic Qualifier.
Both boarders and skiers alike should hit up the Summit chair on clear days . Bombing down the longest run on the mountain is a 3,365-foot straight shot with breathtaking views that make the chilly ride to the top well worth it.
If you get hungry, try the
mid-mountain Pine Marten Lodge's Scapolo's for lunch, and at the end of the day, the Clearing Rock Bar in the West Village Lodge.
Back in town, there are a lot of choices.
With more than six homegrown breweries, nightlife in this town is defined by grabbing a pint and warming up by the fire. Check out Deschutes Brewery, 1044 Bond St., which features more than 18 taps. Be sure to try Jubelale, a seasonal winter ale brewed for just a few months each year during the holiday season.
But if you tire of long lines at Deschutes, head down the street to the Silver Moon Brewing, 24 NW Greenwood Ave., which offers the cheapest craft brews in town at $3.
For dinner, wander downtown to grab a bite at Merenda, 900 NW Wall St., for tapas-style offerings of small plates and an extensive wine bar.
Other surefire bets are Zydeco, 185 SE Third St., where fresh local ingredients, northwest flare and Cajun spice collide, and The Decoy Bar and Grill, 1051 Bond St., a newcomer that's turning heads.
For meals that are easier on the wallet, check out Parilla Grill, 635 NW 14th St., and order the fish tacos, made with fresh snapper, with the ''rerecommendations.'' The homemade corn salsa, cheese, and special sauce make this a meal to remember.
After the sun goes down, there's still plenty to keep you busy.
Head to McMenamin's Old St. Francis, 700 NW Bond St., a Catholic school turned hotel (doubles from $104). In addition to a billiards room, Turkish soaking bath and cigar bar, the downtown hotspot is home to concerts and shows $3 movies in a theater filled with couches. The staff will deliver pizza and beer right to your seat during the show.
Outdoors lovers may want to hook up with Wanderlust Tours (www.wanderlusttours.com) to spend a night trekking on a moonlight snowshoe tour or relaxing by a bonfire on the snow.
Or, for a winter classic, head up to the Seventh Mountain Resort (www.seventh-mountain.com) and strap on some ice skates to twirl under the lights on an old-school outdoor rink.
After a solid night's sleep, try McMenamin's or Sunriver Resort (www.sunriver-resort.com), it's likely snow hounds will be ready to get back on the slopes.
Save on gas and grab the mountain's Super Shuttle ($7 one way), which leaves almost every hour from the Bend Park-N-Ride on the corner of Simpson and Colorado.
Before you go, don't forget to grab the most important meal of the day. Locals suggest the Victorian Cafe, 1404 NW Galveston Ave., for eggs Benedict and Bloody Marys that draw crowds each weekend.
For a breakfast on the go, try Nancy P's Baking Company, 1054 NW Milwaukie Ave., home of killer marionberry scones and a yogurt parfait that will keep you full until nightfall.
If You Go ...
MOUNT BACHELOR: About 20 miles from Bend, Ore., and 185 miles from Portland. Ski resort: (www.mtbachelor.com/) or 1-800-829-2442. Check Web site for ''ski free'' with lodging packages. Lift ticket, $58 daily ($69 Saturdays and holidays). Discounts for teenagers, children, seniors and adaptive skiers.