Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Bashing Season

Posted By on Wed, Oct 7, 2009 at 6:44 PM

Bashing Time
In the not too distant future snow will fall in the mountains which will soon be covered with several feet of it. And when the snow gets to a certain depth, the ski lifts will begin operating at Oregon ski areas.
Locally, the start of the ski season will also mark the start of the annual ritual of Bachelor Bashing season. Ragging on anything and everything that has to with Mount Bachelor Inc has, for at least two decades, been a favored way to pass time with people over coffee, beer and cocktails.
It's amazing how Mount Bachelor gets blamed for things like crummy weather days, traffic jams going to and from the mountain, car wrecks, kids getting colds, mothers delivering babies early, older men running off with younger women, people's drinking problems and more.
Not that Mount B is perfect but give me a break, the corporation is just that, a for profit company doing, I think, a tolerably good job.
So, you might surmise that I'm an apologist for Mountain Bachelor Inc. Not so, I'm just a realist, and a a ski industry vet, who knows that the business of operating an alpine ski area is a tricky one fraught with the peril in the form of angry customers.
To be fair for everyone who calls Mountain Bachelor, Inc "the evil empire" that's ruining their lives there are an equal number of need-a-life Bachelor supporters who claim their lives and the lives of their families are nothing without the mountain to ski in winter.
Count me in the vast middle between the two poles when it comes to adoring or hating the ski area. Mount Bachelor is a cruiser's paradise. In fact one of the most all-abilities accessible ski areas in the country. So what it doesn't have the serious steep terrain of a Squaw Valley, there's plenty of fun terrain to ski and more to come when the east side of the mountain is eventually opened.
So what if the area doesn't get the cold champagne powder that makes skiing the canyons above Salt Lake City so memorable, Bachelor gets some very good snow. As good as it gets in a geographical region best known for its "Cascade Crud" snow.
One reason, with apologies to Hoodoo and Willamette Pass, Mount Bachelor gets ragged on so much is that it's the only game in town.
If you skied in the Lake Tahoe Basin say at say Squaw Valley and got peeved at the area's management or operations, you'd simply protest by taking your business elsewhere to Sugar Bowl, Heavenly Valley, Alpine Meadows, Kirkwood, etc, etc.
Here, if things aren't to your liking there's really no alternative for the "big mountain" experience. So the Bachelor bashers stew and spew.
And so it goes, the ski area and its management becom the focal point for hyper criticism. Criticism that I think Bachelor's management has been more than willing to listen to in the focus groups they've conducted during the late summer the past couple of years.
Mount Bachelor may never be the ski paradise some people think their entitled to by buying a lift ticket, but then what alpine ski area is?

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