Details, Details

Outside magazine, Travel Guide 1997-1998

Details, Details
By Jean Arthur

"Why-didn't-we-think-of-that?" comfort-station appliance: Glove baskets, Mt. Bachelor, Oregon
Like a handful of other smart resorts, central Oregon's Bachelor obviously consulted actual skiers before designing the mountain's West Village day lodge: Restroom stalls are equipped with glove baskets above every commode. Anyone who thinks this is not a big deal has never done the deed with a mouthful of wet mittens.

What's New: In addition to the new Thunderhead Express high-speed detachable quad that replaces both the Thunderhead and Arrowhead chairs, there are newly gladed aspen groves between Concentration and Vagabond trails that open up tree skiing for intermediates. The Dude Ranch half-pipe moves into the lower mountain's Bashor Bowl — a designated Family Skiing Zone — for earlier-season access.

Where to Bunk: Central Reservations (800-922-2722) books families at budget spots like the Rabbit Ears Motel (doubles, $89-$145; 970-879-1150). For slopeside lodgings, Bear Claw Condominiums (one-bedroom units, $340-$515; two-bedroom units, $400-$715; call 800-232-7252) offer a kitchen, pool, spa, and game room.

Local Wisdom: The Kids Ski Free program gives kids 12 and under a free ticket for each adult ticket purchased for five or more days; teens 13 to 18 get a reduced rate when parents purchase a five-day lift ticket.

What's New: Northstar celebrates its 25th anniversary season with the addition of two yet-to-be-named runs for blue- and black-diamond skiers. In addition, it's opening up 230 acres of steep, ungroomed terrain on north Lookout Mountain, accessible by snowcat. A half-pipe off Lookout Chair will be shaped by the new Scorpion pipe groomer. The Mommy, Daddy & Me program returns for a second year to offer parents and preschoolers free one-hour ski clinics Sundays through Fridays.

Where to Bunk: The free shuttle serves all Northstar-area lodging units ranging from $150 to $300 a night. The Stay and Ski Free program includes two free lift tickets per bedroom at any of 260 participating properties, and is good Sundays through Thursdays during regular season (except holidays), nightly during low season; call Central Reservations (800-466-6784). The Donner Lake Village (800-621-6664), 15 minutes from Northstar, offers lakeside condos for $80 to $175 per night.

Local Wisdom: Don't fly into San Francisco; traffic is invariably clogged on I-80, and it's a four-hour drive to the resort. Instead, fly into Reno on the Nevada side and rent a four-wheel-drive for the 40-minute drive.

What's New: With the opening of new terrain in Vasquez Cirque, skiers can get in-bounds, lift-served skiing with an off-piste flavor: steeps, glades, and natural terrain variations accessible from the Timberline chair. Beginner and intermediate snowboarders will appreciate the relocation of the half-pipe to a less steep area of the mountain.

Where to Bunk: The Woodspur Lodge (adults, $50-$65; kids 5-11, $45; kids 3-4, $27; 970-726-8417) is a classic A-frame mountain lodge that houses kids in bunks while parents get the queen-size bed; rates include family-style breakfast and dinner and aprˆs-ski snacks. Winter Park's only ski-in/ski-out facility, The Iron Horse Resort (one-bedroom unit with full kitchen, $169-$379; 970-726-8851) offers luxury lodging, shuttle, restaurant, bar, health club, pool, and ski shop. The Super 8 Motel-Winter Park in downtown Winter Park (doubles, $67-$128; 970-726-8088) is within walking distance of shops, arcades, theaters, and restaurants. All properties can be booked through Central Reservations (800-729-5813).

Local Wisdom: Skip the car rental and instead ride the Ski Train from downtown Denver. The two-hour trip costs $35 per person per day and runs weekends from mid-December to early April, and Fridays as well during February and March. Reservations are required; call 303-296-4754.

What's New: After nearly two decades of intensive expansion and improvements, Les Otten's resort is beginning to rival Disney World in its dedication to keeping the customers happy. The new Perfect Turn Express high-speed quad serves beginner, intermediate, and expert skiers. New beginner runs include the Ridge Express in the South Ridge Learning Area and an unnamed Jordan Grand Hotel access trail. Bail Out, off Spruce Peak, is a new single-black-diamond run; the new double-black-diamond runs are Northern Exposure, directly under the new quad, and Spruce Cliffs, off Spruce Peak.

Where to Bunk: The new $18-million Jordan Grand Hotel at the base of Jordan Bowl's cruising terrain has child care, an arcade, two restaurants, a heated outdoor pool, a spa, and a fitness center. Ski and Stay packages, which include five nights' lodging and lift tickets, start at $399 for adults, $299 for kids 12 and under; call Central Reservations at 800-543-2754. The cozy Sunday River Inn, about a mile from the mountain, operates its own Nordic center (family bunk rooms, $44 per adult, $22 per kid 12 and under; doubles with shared bath, $68 per adult, $34 per child under 12; prices include breakfast, dinner, and a Nordic trail pass; call 207-824-2410).

Local Wisdom: If you're looking for bumps, skip the notorious White Heat trail and head to Caramba in the Jordan Bowl area — it's guaranteed to leave you breathless (and likely to whip your butt).

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