Rich Pass? | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon

Rich Pass?

Sen. Ron Wyden called out POWDR Corp. for its controversial “Fast Tracks" pass

Oregon Senator Ron Wyden echoed many Central Oregonians' criticisms of Mt. Bachelor’s “Fast Tracks,” which would allow people to skip regular lines at all but three of the resort’s ski lifts. Passes start at $49 a day, but price will vary based on mountain conditions, day of the week and holidays. A petition seeking to end the fast pass reached over 7,000 signatures in just three days.

“Mt. Bachelor operates the ski resort on public lands via a U.S. Forest Service Special Use Permit, and as such, the public deserves fair and equitable access to those public lands. Given the serious concerns this policy raises about equitable access to the public lands on which Mt. Bachelor operates, I request that POWDR abandon its plans to adopt this new pass system,” Wyden wrote to John Cumming, Chairman and Founder of POWDR Corporation. “At a minimum, POWDR must delay implementation until it adequately explains to the public how the Fast Tracks policy will not exacerbate equity issues that already exist in outdoor recreation.”

click to enlarge Rich Pass?
Chris Miller
Senator Ron Wyden speaking to members of the Source.

Wyden said the pass could exacerbate inequality in already expensive winter sports.

“My concerns with this policy, shared by many long-time Mt. Bachelor guests, are rooted in the understanding that a two-tiered system of access to public lands based on financial ability is antithetical to equity in the outdoors, leaving those who cannot afford to pay for the pass being literally sent to the back of the line,” Wyden said. “Ultimately, a Fast Tracks policy will ensure more time waiting in liftline bottlenecks and less time skiing or riding for those who cannot afford to pay for an elite, special upgrade.”

Wyden ended the letter advocating for broader access to outdoor recreation and reaffirmed his support for the Outdoors for All Act and Kids to Parks Day.

“While I understand that Mt. Bachelor needs the ability to charge guests for use of its infrastructure in order to create and maintain safe access to the mountain, I firmly believe these fees should not be set higher than necessary nor give preferential access to the wealthy, especially given that the resort operates on public land owned by every American,” Wyden said.

Representatives from Mt. Bachelor have not responded to our requests for comment on the backlash around Fast Tracks.

About The Author

Jack Harvel

Jack is originally from Kansas City, Missouri and has been making his way west since graduating from the University of Missouri, working a year and a half in Northeast Colorado before moving to Bend in the Spring of 2021. When not reporting he’s either playing folk songs (poorly) or grand strategy video games,...
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