Fresh powder, wind, ice challenge Mt. Bachelor

Traffic jams and long lines frustrate mountain-goers

POSTED: 9:50 PM PST January 12, 2014    UPDATED: 4:36 PM PST January 13, 2014 
Mt Bachelor hit by snow wind challenge
BEND, Ore. -

After not having any new snow over the past couple weeks, Mt. Bachelor saw close to a foot and a half of new snow overnight, and that caused some issues Sunday for the resort and  those wanting to hit the fresh powder.

The biggest snowfall in weeks brought a big crowd, but the resort said all that snow and wind-blown drifts challenged efforts to clear enough parking to accommodate them Sunday morning.

Different issues faced the mountain on Monday morning: More than three inches of ice coated lifts, requiring crews to de-ice them.

Many folks who wanted to hit the slopes were upset by Sunday's problems.

"I think it was another one of their big failures,” Matt Gadow said. “I don't know, they just don't seem to get it that when it snows, that's when people want to come up."

People were excited to make the trip up to Bachelor Sunday morning, and while crews worked to open up all the lifts that were safe, some weren't open due to strong winds, which also frustrated many.

"It's definitely a little disappointing, especially to people who are coming up and only buying a day ticket, to only be able to ride one lift per se throughout the day, or one lift that's steep enough so you can keep momentum and ski the snow," Peter Sky said.

Some mountain enthusiasts took to social media to express their displeasure with Bachelor. Their Facebook page was filled with comments saying the staff "dropped the ball" in anticipation of predicted new snow.

"To their advantage, maybe not,” Sky said. “Maybe they weren't necessarily expecting this. Should they have been prepared in my mind? Yeah, I think so."

Not everyone was willing to let them off the hook.

"Yeah it's hard, but other resorts do it,” Gadow said. “I'll go to Jackson Hole or Snowbird and they'll have 13 inches of snow and plow their parking lots and people will get in. They just need to get their business done."

Gadow's main frustration with the mountain was their lack of communication. He claims their regular 6 a.m. snow report wasn't updated on time, which might have helped with the crowds.

"If they just communicate that stuff on time and get the message out, then people could understand what to do and avoid this mess,” Gadow said. “A lot of people don't want to do this."

Andy Goggins, Mt. Bachelor's director of communications and marketing,  acknowledged the largely negative feedback on Facebook, but said the higher-elevation lifts weren't able to open due to strong winds.

In an early-afternoon update, Mt. Bachelor apologized to skiers and boarders for the inconvenience, saying its crews worked all night and they "are doing everything we can to manage this storm, but the high winds and dry snow transport have impacted our ability to stay ahead of the accumulation." In the morning, they had asked folks to use the shuttle, carpool or wait until later in the day to come up.

In the late-afternoon update, resort officials said more storm recovery work was planned Monday morning, and some areas could take the day to clear, if icing is severe.

But the crowds weren't limited to Mt. Bachelor. Oregon Highway 35 was backed up past Government Camp near Mt. Hood Sunday morning as hundreds of people headed up to the fresh snow on the mountain, KGW reported.