Past month's smoky weather has hurt resorts

Fires had impact after strong start to season

Tough month for resorts due to weather

BEND, Ore. - Resorts and campgrounds along the Cascade Lakes Highway have had an up-and-down summer this year, for reasons as clear as the skies often weren't.

Elk Lake Resort owner Patrick Prieve said Tuesday this last month though has been extremely challenging. With fire and smoke and now rain and snow, resorts are worried about their bottom line.

"So June was strong, July was very, very strong, and so was the first part of August -- and then the smoke rolled in," Prieve said. "As good as we can tell, it impacted us about 25 percent."

Even with this early-season snowstorm, the resort owner said he is not too concerned that these conditions are going to stick around.

This week's snow didn't deter everybody from enjoying the lake. The UCLA triathlon team was there Tuesday on a training trip.

One of the athletes, Dylan Bridges-Oliva, had just finished swimming in the lake and was warming up in the lodge with some hot chocolate.

"It's been crazy, I think a little unfortunate this year," Bridges-Oliva said. "We've gotten a lot more smoke then normal, so we were really hoping for some rain, and then it's kind of like we're getting two extremes here, going from fire to snow. But you know, it's still nice up here."

Elk Lake Resort depends on the summer months for three-quarters of their total business. So this past month's struggle has made it hard to meet their financial goals.

Prieve said he hopes that this summer's conditions were a fluke.

"Since we've owned it, all of our summers have been great," Prieve said. "Year over year, improvements in the business. So this was obviously new to us."

Even with a positive outlook, Prieve said he has scaled back his staff to help cut down on costs.

Elk Lake Resort will close on Oct. 8 for the summer season and plans to open back up Nov. 17.

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