Big Changes at Bachelor | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon

Big Changes at Bachelor

As pandemic restrictions continue, Oregon's biggest ski resort plans for reservation-only parking, limited indoor amenities for the winter season

The shutdowns around COVID-19 forced Mt. Bachelor to close operations entirely for a time in the spring. Since then, the resort has been open for mountain biking and its new zipline activities throughout the summer—with many new health and safety guidelines in place. Now, with winter approaching, Mt. Bachelor has announced its plans for the winter season, which include a lot of changes from previous years.

Among them: The need to reserve a parking spot in advance, a recommendation to use your own vehicle as a warming spot—rather than the lodges, and a pause on the resort's child care and "Ski or Ride in 5" offerings. Also, no tubing, no beginner lessons, no lessons for kids age six and under, and everyone must wear a mask while in and around the resort. Mt. Bachelor plans to open to the public Dec. 7—provided there's enough snow at all three of the resort's lodges.

Big Changes at Bachelor
Brian Cripe / Wikimedia Commons
Mt. Bachelor summit at the peak of winter.

"Over the summer, the ski industry worked together in an unprecedented effort to develop a shared set of operation guidelines called Ski Well, Be Well," wrote John McLeod, Mt. Bachelor's president and general manager in a letter Sept. 16, "and both Mt. Bachelor and POWDR [Mt Bachelor's parent company] were engaged in this important work facilitated by the National Ski Areas Association (NSAA)." Resort leaders say the focus this season is on a "Back to Basics" approach.

Tickets and season passes

To aid in the mandated social distancing, Mt. Bachelor is limiting its single-day passes. "The number of single-day dated tickets we make available will be significantly limited and we are not planning to sell undated tickets, like in years past," states Mt. Bachelor's website. "We have increased the typical number of blackout days on Ikon Base Pass visitation, 12-Day and 4-Day passes, and limited the sale of the 4-Day pass."

Season passes are on sale now and go up in price after Sept. 30. Prices are comparable to recent years—though passholders from the 2019-20 season may still have a credit on their accounts from the resort's closure in the spring.

"Passholder vouchers have been loaded into each passholder's guest profile account, so no action is required by passholders," explained Leigh Capozzi, brand and marketing director.

And anyone buying season or multi-day tickets have access to the "Passholder Promise," a voucher system that covers prolonged COVID-19-related closures, plus a 100% refund option through Nov. 20. Those looking to rent ski or snowboard gear at the resort will also have to reserve in advance.

Big Changes at Bachelor
Bachelor season passes are on sale now and the price goes up after Sept. 30.

Parking reservations

Another big change: People visiting the resort will have to reserve a parking spot for their car. Mt. Bachelor plans to issue more information about the parking system in the coming weeks. "We are considering ALL scenarios," Capozzi said, "knowing that many passholders like to sneak in an early morning Cone lap, a few powder turns as the lifts open or an afternoon Nordic ski." As for the ski bus, Capozzi said Mt. Bachelor is working with Cascades East Transit to continue to offer the service this season.

Lessons and child care

Lessons and child care this year are also greatly reduced. "To minimize contact, we will not offer any All-Day or daily group ski school lessons," Mt. Bachelor's website says. "Gravity Sports Ski and Ride School will offer modified half-day multi-week programs for kids and pre-booked private lessons. At this time, we will not offer beginner lessons or lessons for youth ages six and under. We will also not be offering our Ski or Ride in 5 program this year or childcare services at our Daycare Center."

Accessing the lodges

"Minimizing indoor services" will be the name of the game this season. As McLeod detailed, "Consistent in the early days of Mt. Bachelor, we expect and encourage guests to be prepared to be based out of their vehicles as a lodge this season, for booting up, warming up, and refueling up. While we will be offering some food service in our lodges, services will be simplified and occupancy will be limited, with the focus on preserving lodge capacity for quick warmups and/or restroom access."

Season pass holders' exclusive first days

As a way of saying thank you to season passholders, Mt. Bachelor plans to reserve the first four days of the winter season—from Dec. 7 to Dec. 10—for those with season passes. And while the amenities and operations will be limited, the resort is keeping focus on what most are ultimately there for: Riding the snow. As McLeod stated, "Thankfully our mountain lends itself extremely well to dispersing crowds when we are able to open a majority of our lifts and terrain."

Bottom line, pray for snow.

Nicole Vulcan

Nicole Vulcan has been editor of the Source since 2016. 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.
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