Mt. Bachelor resort to keep new ski pass despite fairness concerns

Central Oregon ski area operator to keep new ski pass in place that allows people who pay more to bypass most chairlift lines despite a request from Oregon Senator Ron Wyden to drop the plan because of equity issues.

POWDR Corp. Co-Chairs Wade Martin and Justin Sibley, in an open letter on Friday, said the company intends to keep the pass available at Mount Bachelor near Bend, but will offer season ticket holders refunds before the start of the season.

Two people board a chairlift at the Mt. Bachelor Ski Resort outside of Bend, Oregon on Monday, December 7, 2020.

Bradley W. Parks / OPB

The pass, called Fast Tracks and announced on Monday, starts at $ 49 per day and allows buyers to use a dedicated lane at each chairlift. The price will vary based on days of high demand, the company said.

Wyden Wednesday sent a letter to POWDR president and founder John Cumming urging the company to drop the Fast Tracks program or at least delay its implementation.

“My concerns about this policy, shared by many longtime Mt. Bachelor guests, are rooted in the understanding that a two-tier system of access to public lands based on financial capability is contrary to equity in outdoors, “Wyden wrote,” Leaving those who can’t afford the pass are literally sent back to the back of the line. “

Related: Senator Wyden criticizes plan to create “expressways” at Oregon’s Mt. Bachelor

The US Forest Service, which manages the land on which the ski area is located, has looked into the matter. Kevin Larkin, ranger of the Deschutes National Forest District, said The bulletin in a story Friday that the agency will continue to assess the information.

“At this point, I haven’t seen anything that would require us to say it’s outside the terms and conditions of the license,” Larkin said. “But we remain open to different interpretations and different information.”


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