For the third year in a row, Mt. Bachelor in Bend, Ore., will play host to teams and camps looking for early summer training. While groups from Stratton Mountain School, Green Mountain Valley School, and the Western Region, among others, will utilize the facilities in the coming weeks, 2014 USSA Club of the Year Ski & Snowboard Club Vail (SSCV) has been holding early court on the snow-covered volcano with all five of its programs relocated to Mt. Bachelor for June training. SSCV provided the initial critical mass to justify summer operations for the resort, and this year they have over 180 athletes and 30 staff using the area for just under a month.
“This is my first time at Mt. Bachelor for summer training, and I couldn’t be happier,” said SSCV Athletic Director Brandon Dyksterhouse. “Mt. Bachelor has gone out of their way to accommodate our five snow sports with world-class venues, and our working relationship with the Mt. Bachelor staff is second to none.”
The partnership between SSCV and Mt. Bachelor has had a significant impact on Vail’s summer on-snow programs. Citing the freedom they have to design, build up, and then use high quality summer slopes in North America, SSCV says the venue allows it to tailor training to exact needs down to the smallest detail. With limited access to the mountain for others, there are no lift lines, enabling athletes to get 15 to 20 runs per day without feeling rushed.
To accommodate such a mass of individuals, the program rents out the entire 79-room Entrada Lodge during their stay. The lodge, conveniently located at the tail head for an extensive network of singletrack multi-use trails, also allows SSCV to set up trampolines and slacklines and have rollerblading and skateboarding space.
“The partnerships we have built with Mt. Bachelor, the Entrada Lodge and other Bend area businesses have allowed us to create a unique summer on-snow program that incorporates all of our programs. This has allowed us to have the highest level of training for each of our sports while bringing all our athletes together in one great community building setting,” remarked SSCV Director of Operations C.B. Bechtel.
On the mountain, Mt. Bachelor builds a custom 22-foot halfpipe and a slopestyle venue with 20- to 60-foot jumps and small to large sliding features for the team, allowing everyone from groms to professional freeskiers and snowboarders to benefit.
“Private Mountain, great crew, and nothing but style over on the pipe and park, we always love coming here to Mt. Bachelor and Bend,” noted SSCV Head Snowboard Coach Elijah Teter.
In the mogul lane, there are up to three full-length lines, each including two jumps of a variety of sizes to accommodate the needs of all ages and abilities in the program.
“We have a full mogul course with airs, plus another 200 meters of bump lines. Our skiers can get 15-20 runs a session in bumps, on groomers and natural terrain. There’s literally more terrain than we know what to do with right now. … Basically, we can set up any training scenario that we can dream of here,” said John Dowling, SSCV Freestyle Program Director.
The Nordic Center maintains up to 10 kilometers of track over a variety of terrain. Immediately prior to SSCV’s arrival, the U.S. Ski Team hosted its spring camp on the very same track. The precise design and maintenance of the course allows both development and elite level athletes to have high quality summer training in the same area as their alpine and freestyle counterparts.
“The Nordic venue at Mt. Bachelor is fantastic. Sue (Foster) and her crew do a great job for us and we really enjoy the quality that the venue has to offer,” said SSCV Head Nordic Coach Eric Pepper. “The town of Bend is an amazing place for dryland training and has a ton of social outlets and activities for our athletes.”
On the alpine side, the team is able to use multiple runs with no more than two groups training per trail. With so much open space, each training group is able to customize drills and courses to its exact needs, choosing among green circle, blue square, and black diamond runs. The alpine slope is regularly salted by machine, one trail has a roller section and jump designed for speed training, and there is available space for free skiing both on and off piste.
“With so much varied terrain and space, the coaches are able to really tailor their progressions to age and skill levels. It is amazing to see the amount of work getting done and the progress the kids are making,” said SSCV Alpine Program Director Karen Ghent. “We couldn’t be more excited!”