BEND, Ore. - (Update: Comments from Mt. Bachelor spokesman, business)
With a healthy early snowpack, Mt. Bachelor announced Tuesday that it will open for the 2017-2018 winter season this Saturday, nearly a week before the traditional start-up for the lucrative Thanksgiving holiday weekend.
The resort also announced that its 96-hour lift ticket sale will kick off on Thursday.
The Nov. 18 opening is the resort's earliest in over a decade, having started the 2006-07 season on Nov. 17, 2006, said Drew Jackson, Mt. Bachelor's director of sales and marketing.
For now, the staff at the mountain is getting the slopes ready for the season ahead. While that's happening, there's a noticeable buzz in Central Oregon about the transition to snow sport season.
"It's awesome to see so much excitement so early," Jackson said. "It seems like the whole community is just really jazzed for this. It's really continuing the momentum from last winter. Last winter was so good, and we'd like to see the enthusiasm continue into this one. Early openings are always better than late openings."
Area ski and snowboard shops are excited about the business opportunities that come with a head start on the season.
"We're all looking forward to it, because it has been so long since we've been able to open up a week before Thanksgiving, which is awesome -- especially being that Oregon has that whole week off, all the kids," said Powder House Ski and Snowboard owner Todd McGee. "So we're expecting it to be pretty busy."
Skjersaa's owner Jeremy Nelson agrees.
"Having a jump start, you know, an early opening, is great for us, because it gets our busy season in gear -- the holiday season -- a week sooner, which is always good for business for sure," Nelson said. "We really appreciate that part of Mother Nature."
Here's the rest of the resort's news release announcing Saturday's opening:
“It’s exciting to get an early start to the 2017-2018 ski/snowboard season,” said John McLeod, Mt. Bachelor’s president and general manager. “With our parent company POWDR investing $2.5 million to further improve the Mt. Bachelor guest experience, it’s going to be another great winter.”
Mother Nature delivered more than 7 feet of snow this fall, condensing to a base depth of 24 to 36 inches. The deeper-than-normal snowpack will allow the resort to open sooner than the typical Thanksgiving weekend start.
Conditions permitting, three lifts – Pine Marten, Skyliner and Sunshine Accelerator – will be in operation from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., providing access to terrain for skiers and snowboarders of all abilities.
Despite the significant early snowfall, resort officials caution that early-season conditions exist and recommend that guests ski or snowboard on groomed runs.
All 2017-2018 Full Season, 12 Day and 4 Day Passes will be valid for use beginning Saturday. The resort will also allow Midweek Passes to be used both days of opening weekend. Single-day lift tickets will be $63 for adults (ages 19-64) with tickets for youth, teens and seniors offered at reduced prices.
The resort also plans to open its Nordic ski season on Saturday, with grooming planned for the upper Nordic trails.
Mt. Bachelor will offer a limited selection of guest services for opening weekend including food and beverages, equipment rentals, lessons and the Gravity Sports shop. A full roll-out of services is slated to be in place by Thanksgiving.
With mountain crews in full preparation mode for Saturday’s opening, Mt. Bachelor’s winter Uphill Travel Policy is now in effect. The Cinder Cone route from West Village is the only hiking route open to climbers. All other areas of Mt. Bachelor are currently closed to uphillers.
To further sweeten the deal for opening week, Mt. Bachelor’s popular 96-hour sale will return on Thursday. This program provides discounts of up to 45 percent on pre-purchases of three-of-five- and four-of-six-day lift tickets:
- $139 for the 3-of-5-day restricted ticket (holiday blackout dates apply)
- $169 for the 3-of-5-day unrestricted ticket (no blackout dates)
- $169 for the 4-of-6-day restricted ticket (holiday blackout dates apply)
- $209 for the 4-of-6-day unrestricted ticket (no blackout dates)
The 96-hour sale tickets are valid throughout the 2017-2018 winter season, however they must be purchased online before 12 p.m. PST on Monday, Nov. 20. Quantities are limited and may sell out prior to the deadline.
Please check Mt. Bachelor’s website later this week for a complete list of what will be available for opening weekend, as well as for additional information about the 96-hour sale and the resort’s operating plans.