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Mt. B's Radical New Rates: Locals catch a break at Bachelor, Shire Update and more 

If you've lived in Bend for more than a year or two, you've probably had one of those days when you head up to Bachelor

If you've lived in Bend for more than a year or two, you've probably had one of those days when you head up to Bachelor hoping for 6-8 inches of untracked powder only to find that the rain in town translates to rain on the mountain. And unless you're a season pass holder, you've either outright asked or wondered why you couldn't get a refund.

This year it's going to be a little different on our local ski hill, according to Mt. Bachelor officials who announced their new pricing structure for next year. And while the mountain won't be giving out refunds, it has announced a radical and, from what we can tell, unprecedented, tiered pricing structure for daily lift tickets this coming season. This winter, guests will pay on a sliding scale depending on the weather and lift operations. On the worst of non-holidays, Bachelor will charge guests $49 to ski or ride. Average days will be $59 and optimal conditions with full lift operations will be $69.

The new pricing is designed to pair the cost of skiing with the conditions, which can be widely variable at Bachelor, said Alex Kaufman, marketing director.

"If it's ugly, it's going to be the cheap rate. If it's an average day, it's going to be the middle rate. If it's a bomber day, it's the high rate. We're trying to match the number to the experience," Kaufman said.

Other major changes in store for next year include a long-overdue multi-day pass that's available to locals.

The 12-day pass (holiday blackouts) will go for $399, putting the daily lift cost at roughly $33 - or a $26 savings per ski day.

Those who plan to ski less than 10 days, but still want to see some savings, will be able to buy a "Club Card" for $29 that is good for $49 tickets daily and $59 lifties on holidays. Also Bachelor is also allowing people to spread the cost of daily and 12-day passes out over several months with a summer payment that will be available today through Aug. 15.

In terms of the actual decision, Kaufman said the staff has developed a basic scoring matrix for lift operations and weather. The total score will determine whether it's poor, average, or good day. The staff will try to make that determination by 3 p.m. for the next day based on the weather forecast, but will reserve the right to up or downgrade the rating based on the actual conditions the following day.

"We know we need to be transparent on how we come up with that," Kaufman said.

The Oregon Trail

Every few years the park district does a survey of local priorities and the same items make their way to the top of that list, public trails being one of them. While trail acquisition, funding, construction are usually locally driven initiatives, locals will have the chance to lobby the state for some help enhancing our local system while advocating for some larger projects of regional and statewide significance when state trail planners meet in Bend this week.

The Oregon Recreation Trails Advisory Council will meet this Friday at the new Bend Metro Park and Recreation District headquarters, 799 SW Columbia in the Old Mill. The council invites public comment beginning at 9:30 a.m. and will also hear presentations from local trail providers. The meeting is scheduled from 9:30-1 p.m.

The day concludes with a public hearing over proposed changes to Oregon's 35-year-old trail designation law. The changes are designed to simplify Oregon's cumbersome laws governing trail establishment, which have hindered the development of new trail systems, according to some observers. The hearing is scheduled from 5-6:30 pm at the district offices. No Pulaski required.

What About Frodo?

Two of Bend's orphan poster children for real estate over exuberance, The Shire and Tuscany Pines, have recently found an adoptive, or at least a solid foster, home. The Shire, a Lord-of-the-Rings inspired, development on Bend's eastside that had slipped into foreclosure and Tuscany Pines, an Italian villa-style townhome development on O.B. Riley Road on Bend's north end, were recently purchased by a Hood River-based venture capital group that acquired both properties at fire-sale style discounts from Umpqua Bank, an institution that was heavily leveraged in the Bend real estate market.

Broker Kelly Johnson of Steve Scott Realty said Castle Advisers paid $2.75 million for Tuscany Pines, a purchase that included the 4,000-square-foot clubhouse and pool, ten town homes that are finished or near completion and 35 improved lots. The Shire, which has been re-branded Forest Creek, went for $750,000 and comprises 15 lots once finished. Johnson, who is listing the properties, said Castle Advisers is betting the Bend market is ready to rebound and plans to sell off the completed units immediately while marketing the undeveloped lots to developers/builders over the next five years as the economy stabilizes. If you want to get a piece of the fire sale, you can see both communities on this year's COBA tour homes which starts this weekend.

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