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Lack of snow delays Mt. Bachelor opening at least a week; resort ‘optimistic’ snow will come soon

(Update: Adding video, comments from Mt. Bachelor, ski shop)

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Staff at Mt. Bachelor are actively training for ski season, but they’ll have at least an extra week to prepare.

Mt. Bachelor Director of Marketing Leigh Capozzi said Wednesday that opening day has been pushed back from Friday, Nov. 26 to Dec. 3rd, due to warm temperatures and a lack of snow.

“When you see what’s going on up here at the mountain, it’s pretty obvious that we’re not ready to open for guests to ski and ride,” Capozzi said. 

She explained there's not a specific number of inches required to open the season, but when you have exposed grass and rocks like the mountain does now, it’s obvious there's not enough snow.

Capozzi said the resort usually opens around Thanksgiving, depending on weather, but this is the second year they've given a firm date, due to Covid.

Back in 2008, for example, the season didn’t start until mid December.

“But then we ended up getting over 530 inches of snow that year,” Capozzi said. “That year in particular was a La Nina year, which we’re forecasted for this year.”

Bend native and Powder House Assistant Manager Christian Harris isn’t deterred by the delay, but said he has noticed a change in weather over the years.

“I used to go trick-or-treating down here in town -- there used to be snow everywhere. You can still go outside in short sleeves right now,” Harris said. “Snow is getting pushed back, but we’ll still have a season.”

Harris said the delay will give the store more time to prepare, and he's sure a big snow storm will come soon enough.

“It's just going to dump -- pray for big dumps!” Harris said, laughing. 

Capozzi and Mt. Bachelor are praying for big dumps too, because it only has enough snow cannons to supplement the base, but not cover it entirely.

“You know, we’re feeling good about Dec. 3, but really we need some cooperation from Mother Nature. It is weather-dependent, our community knows that,” Capozzi said. “This is something that ski resorts across the country right now are facing. Forecasting, making snow. So we are optimistic, but we also are realistic as well.”

The resort said in Tuesday night's announcement, "Any guests who pre-purchased lift tickets, rentals, or lessons for use before Dec. 3 will be refunded. No action is required."

Some Mt. Bachelor facilities, such as the Gravity Sports Retail Pro Shop and pass pick-up, still will be open Thanksgiving weekend, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Guests who have booked RV camping for the weekend can get a full refund, the resort said, "or you may enjoy sleeping under the stars to wrap up your holiday week!"

Also, the delayed opening means Mt. Bachelor will remain open for uphill travel through Sunday, Nov. 28, rather than closing the gates on Nov. 21 to prep the mountain for opening. Instead, the gates will close a week later.

Article Topic Follows: Business

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