Hello Bend! It’s official…I’m a skier! Well, more like I’m well on my way to being a skier! I have officially graduated from Mt. Bachelor Ski or Ride in 5 program, and I am heading back up the mountain this weekend to start taking advantage of my FREE 12-day ski pass to finish out this season!
Moving to Bend from Florida, I knew I would need to not only embrace Living the Bend Life, and the winter climate, but I would also need to take advantage of Mt. Bachelor and all the fun this amazing mountain has to offer! My husband grew up in Michigan, was on the ski team in his youth, and has a passion for the sport. Me…not so much, but I knew we wanted to raise our children skiing, so that meant I needed to learn myself, and so did our kids!
As winter approached and we started looking into options, we were excited to find Mt. Bachelor has a Ski or Ride in 5 program for those new to the sport. This program is designed for ages 6 and over and it is an incredible value at only $199 for 5 lessons, including equipment rental! That’s right…5 lessons and all your gear. If you were to purchase lessons and rent gear separately it would cost over $650…and that doesn’t even include your lift ticket! And if all of that wasn’t enough, there is another major bonus… once you graduate you receive a season ski pass for the rest of the season for ages 6-18 or a 12-day ski pass for ages 19+. Then next year you are also eligible for a 50% discount off a season pass and 25% off the following year! This program truly is the greatest ski package on Earth!
Need equipment? No problem…Mt. Bachelor has you covered! Once you complete your Ski or Ride in 5 Lessons, you have access to a sweet deal on next season’s gear. Simply put down a deposit of $150 to reserve your gear for the following season. This will give you access to free rental gear for the remainder of the current season! Come next Fall, Mt. Bachelor will let you know when it is time to come in and pick up your brand new gear, pay the remaining balance of $549, and you’ll be ready to ski or ride! If you’re a skier, you get Salomon skis, bindings, boots and poles. If you snowboard, you get a Burton snowboard, bindings and boots! All the equipment you need to hit the slopes as soon as the snow starts coming down.
Now onto to the lessons! There is a reason Mt. Bachelor – Ski or Ride in 5 program is “recognized as having the best beginner program that converts first-timers into life-long snow sports enthusiasts.” It is an award-winning program that is incredibly well organized! The instructors are knowledgeable, patient & encouraging. My 6-year old son and I had a wonderful experience!
This program is based out of Sunrise Lodge. It is important to note any other lessons, kids programs, and childcare is based out of the West Village Lodge. This is definitely good to know if coordinating different programs. The Sunrise Lodge is home to the Carousel lift, which leads to a comfortable bunny hill and it is FREE! This was great for us…my husband would spend time with our 5-year old daughter here while we were in our lessons. The Sunrise Lift leads to more advanced hills, which we were able to experience by our 2nd lesson!
Please keep in mind if you’ve done any other programs or lessons at Mt. Bachelor, you will not be eligible for the Ski or Ride in 5, so plan carefully if you want to take advantage of this program. Classes run 7 days a week with two 2-hour sessions, at either 10am & 1pm, beginning after January 1. The last day to register for this program is January 31, and all lessons must be complete by mid-March (check website for exact date). You also must wait 4 days after registering to participate in your first lesson. I learned this the hard way when I made plans to take lessons with my girlfriend, but had to cancel because I didn’t sign up in time.
Here are some other tips I learned along the way…
- If you can take a lesson during the week, you may be lucky enough to get a private or semi-private lesson! We took our son out of school on a Friday for his first lesson and it was a great opportunity to get him acclimated to the process in a less crowded environment.
- You need to arrive at least an hour prior to your lesson to sign in and get your rental equipment. If you have your own gear, you can cheat that a little.
- Goggles are a must! I met so many people in my lessons that were miserable and distracted by not wearing goggles.
- The Ski or Ride in 5 program has special VIP parking located along the snow bank on the far left as you drive in, check closest to the lodge first. We didn’t notice the sign on our first day and ended up with a longer walk. Take the first left as your approach the lodge after you turn off the main road (there are two parking lots)
- Bring a plastic Ziploc bag to keep your report card dry. They tell you this after your 1st lesson. This comes in handy, especially if it’s a snowy day!
- Tip your instructor! I didn’t figure this out until the end & most people overlook it. A few dollars goes a long way to let these guys and gals know how much you appreciate their help.
Also, be sure to get your BlackStrap facemask before you head up the mountain. Everyone has one as this is a Bend based company! Didn’t have a chance to pick one up before heading up the mountain? No worries, Mt. Bachelor has them for sale. Saved us on our first day when it was snowing like crazy!
It is amazing what a difference a day can make!
Have any tips or tricks to add? Please comment below. I plan to post another write-up prior to the beginning of next season to help spread the word about the greatest ski package on Earth!
Thanks…and I’ll see you on the slopes!!!