The Year of the Tailgate | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon

The Year of the Tailgate

With reserved parking, indoor restrictions at Mt. Bachelor, skiers and snowboarders will need to up their car-comfort game

Earlier this fall, Mt. Bachelor announced its winter operations plan for the 2020-21 season—one that will be remembered as the year COVID-19 made everything change. Getting outdoors for some vigorous—or not-so-vigorous—exercise (while staying 6 feet from others) continues to be one of the ways to stay healthy throughout this pandemic, and at Mt. Bachelor, staying outdoors is going to be the name of the game throughout the season.

The Year of the Tailgate
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Take a "que" from these football tailgaters and get your parking-lot hangout game on at Mt. Bachelor this season.

Get your tailgate game on

With lodges allowing people in on only a limited basis, this may finally be the year for powder hounds to dial in their tailgating game. The many Central Oregonians already living their best lives in their Sprinters will be fairly well set up for this change, having cozy places to sleep, eat and chill already inside their vans. But for those "lodge moms and dads" who have previously spent their time hoarding a gaggle of chairs and guarding kids' snacks and warmies inside one of the lodges, adjustments are in order.

People visiting Mt. Bachelor this year will need to "be prepared to warm and dine out of their vehicles, given reduced capacity limits in lodges and more limited dining and beverage options at resort venues," reads a recent press release.

For some, that might mean packing a portable fire pit—wood, gas or otherwise—and a handful of outdoor chairs. A portable gas fire pit or grill that isn't hot to the touch will be more easily transportable when you're ready to go home—meaning extra planning is in order to either extinguish the fire well ahead of time, or find a cool place to transport the pit or grill.

Another consideration: Does that tiny Subaru give you and all of the friends you're encouraged to carpool with enough room to boot up and chillax at lunch time? For some, flipping down a back seat and adding a futon mattress or camping foam could offer the right amount of shelter and coziness. For others, it might mean your sister with the big Suburban gets to drive all season long, leaving your less-spacious sedan back in Bend. Naturally, more layers and blankets, along with a bigger selection of hand warmers, are going to be essential.

In terms of food, investing in that bigger thermos for your hot drinks and soups is a good idea. In addition, Tailgater Magazine (yes, there is such a thing) recommends spicy foods as a way to keep warm. "When kicking up the heat of a recipe, keep the spice level at mild or medium; any hotter and you run the risk of causing the body to sweat, which means damp clothing – a must-avoid for cold days," the magazine recommends in a story on the art of cold-weather tailgating. Another next-level tailgating tip: Bring a slow cooker filled with chili or other warm foods—powered by an inverter you've connected to your car, of course.

Parking reservations at Mt. Bachelor

On Nov. 9, Mt. Bachelor will begin allowing people to start making car reservations—something required for anyone visiting the mountain this season. (Yes, that goes for people doing laps on The Cone in the early morning, too.) Starting on that date, people can reserve parking for their cars for up to seven days of their choosing—so if you know you're going to ski every Saturday, you might reserve for all the Saturdays after Dec. 7, when the mountain opens. Parking areas will be divided into Alpine and Nordic areas for those using different types of terrain.

For those expecting to be at the mountain more than seven days, Mt. Bachelor advises, "Once the season begins, guests will also be able to book an unlimited amount of days in a rolling 7-day window. As advance days are used, guests will be able to book additional advance days, never holding more than seven advanced reservations."

One exception to that: Those who are of driving age and have the Outplay 365 pass—Bachelor's year-round, multi-sport pass—will get a parking pass for the entire season.

If you try to reserve parking and none is available, Mt. Bachelor encourages people to try again. Those who reserved and decided not to come are supposed to cancel their reservation by 7 am the day of the reservation. According to Mt. Bachelor, "Guests who make reservations and do not either cancel their reservation prior to the date, or do not use their reservation will lose their next priority booking. Repeat offenders may lose the ability to make advanced reservations."

Other changes for Mt. Bachelor

In September, Mt. Bachelor announced other changes for the winter season, including a pause on the resort's child care and "Ski or Ride in 5" offerings, no tubing park, no beginner lessons, no lessons for kids age six and under, and everyone must wear a mask while in and around the resort.

Undoubtedly, snow riders will have plenty more questions about parking and riding this year. Mt. Bachelor has a lot more information at

About The Author

Nicole Vulcan

Nicole Vulcan has been editor of the Source since 2016. While the pandemic reduced "hobbies" to "aspirations," you can mostly find her raising chickens, walking dogs, riding all the bikes and attempting to turn a high desert scrap of land into a permaculture oasis. (Progress: slow.)
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