The words "Spring Break" conjure a stereotype of misbehaving college students, but they could just as easily evoke images of college professors supporting many local economies, as we are doing this week in Bend, Oregon.
My wife Leslie and I have been coming to Bend to ski Mount Bachelor more than 12 years now on my spring breaks. We've watched Bend's population explode, its restaurant "scene" go from dismal to astonishing, its real estate market bubble and then collapse, and we've skied through ice and mank and powder and corn. We've always had a great time.
Bachelor is a volcanic cone in the Cascade range, close enough to the Pacific Ocean so that it tends to be warm. We've never hit a zero F day here, as we have very often in New England. The snow depths are also often incredible, 10 to 20 to as much as 40 feet. There's thousands of acres of terrain, some very steep chutes at the summit, tree shots and wide open snow fields, cirques and mogul runs.
The two things that keep us coming back are the mountain's incredible friendliness and the ski week's basic bargain. People here are just plain nice. What a breath of fresh air after Eastern mountains!! Also, thanks to reasonable hotel costs and bargain restaurants that are still excellent, we spend less for a week here than we do for three days in Vermont. And, yes, I am counting airfare.
This year I added something to Spring Break. I taught my first GF sourdough bread baking workshop, in Brush Prairie Washington. This was a great success, fully subscribed with 9 participants. A special thanks to host Mike Lee, creator of the website Gling.com, who turned his kitchen over to a gang of strangers. And who just LOVED the pizza we made on the spur of the moment.
With that under our belts we're ready for powder snow. The mountain has about 15" of fresh which came down at 15 F over the past day or so, so we're psyched. We'll be riding tele boards rented from a local biz, dining at local non-chain restaurants, shopping at a locally owned western wear store and eating - well, OK, brand name - ice cream. So unlike the topless teens, we are good spring breakers.