Guest Column

Powdr Corp., which owns Mt. Bachelor as one its resorts, is instituting a fast-tracks pass starting at $49, which allows you to go to the front of the lift line. In reality, it is a cut-in-line pass. Bend’s explosive growth is no secret and has brought in many people with disposable income, and Powdr wants to profit from this. As much as I understand and support the profit motive there are places where one has to draw a line.

I am not a newcomer to Bend and my first lift ticket here was $5 many decades ago. I have watched this town grow from a sleepy lumber town into what it is today. As with all growth, some is good and some not so much. When Powdr bought Mt. Bachelor, I had misgivings. They may have bought a presence here but they weren’t headquartered here. I read what the co-presidents Powdr wrote in rebuttal to our petition and concerns and it struck me as tone deaf and not as well crafted as the greed is good speech in the movie Wall Street.

They brought up how we wait in line already for adaptive sports and ski lesson folks. None of us have an issue with that. They compare it to buying a first class plane ticket. I’ve flown first class before and we took off and landed at the same time as coach. It is also different from buying an upper-tier concert theater ticket. I’ve done both and the lower-priced ticket holders did not have to wait for me to be seated.

The cut-in-line pass is a different ball game altogether. Although I can afford the $49 add on I will not be doing so and I encourage others who can afford it to boycott it as well. The idea that I could cut in front of firefighters, health workers, police people, teachers, trades people and those who serve me in stores and restaurants in town just because I have the money is both rude and repugnant. These people help make my life here and make this town what it is, a great place. Many of them work hard and save their money to enjoy the slopes. What may appear as an upgrade to some looks like an offense to others.

Should you be tempted to buy one of these I have a suggestion. Instead of giving Powdr your $49, put it to where it will do some real good. Adaptive Sports (541-306-4774) is a nonprofit that does a fantastic job getting people with disabilities on the mountain. They have great volunteers and they could use your help. Discover Your Forest ( is another great nonprofit with volunteers that offer the snowshoe walks on the mountain that are free to the public. They also educate our young people about our public lands, upon which Mt. Bachelor resides, and the importance of maintaining them.

Civility in our country has taken a giant nose dive these past few years and Powdr seems to want to exacerbate the problem. We learned in kindergarten never to cut in line. It was good advice then and remains so today. I’m sorry that the corporate heads Powdr seem to have missed that lesson growing up.

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Brian Steely lives in Bend.

(7) comments


I skied Bachelor for decades and now I'm just too creaky.

But mega-kudos to the author who speaks an important truth.


I hope we move in the direction of completely renegotiating the forest service lease. Snowsports has changed dramatically since the onset of the lease and given Mt Bachler has a near-monopoly of the accessible mountainous winter recreation terrain something has to change. From 'fast pass' to the uphill policy we need a complete renegotiation of the lease. If Powdr Corp doesn't find it profitable enough to operate under new terms set for the landowners (us!), they are welcome to sell.


As a Nordic skier, it’s amusing to watch all these feverish debates over the Fast Pass. We just snap on our skis and go. It’s practically free.


Spot on, Brian.


Well stated, Brian. I couldn't agree more.


Well done Brian!! A thoughtful and relevant response to a thoughtless and divisive proposal!


I got a refund on the full-season pass and so did my girlfriend. The reason was the fast pass. I'm going to do a lot of skinning this year and be healthier for it.

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