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Mt. Bachelor parent co. defends controversial ‘Fast Tracks’ addition, offers refunds to pass-holders

Powdr Corp. posted open letter to community to explain, defend its 'Fast Tracks' pass addition.
Powdr Corp.
Powdr Corp. posted open letter to community to explain, defend its 'Fast Tracks' pass addition.

PARK CITY, Utah (KTVZ) -- With Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., joining critics in calling on Powdr Corp. to drop plans for a 'Fast Tracks' quick-access pass at Mt. Bachelor, the company issued a letter Friday defending the program and offering refunds to any season pass-holders who disagree with the move.

The recent Fast Tracks announcement sparked controversy and even a petition to drop the move, followed by Wyden's letter to Powder Corp.'s founder, John Cumming, saying the move raises equity issues at Bachelor, which leases Forest Service land, and calling for an end to the plans.

In a "letter to the community" posted on its website, Powder Co-Presidents Wade Martin and Justin Sibley noted that a similar concept has been used at its Copper Mountain, Colorado resort for nearly 20 years and refined over time, with only 2% of visitors making use of it. They also pointed to numerous programs giving free access to its resorts, including Mt. Bachelor, and various partnerships with the community.

Here's the full letter from top Powdr Corp. officials:

A Letter to the Community Regarding Fast Tracks

We understand how passionate you are about the mountains. Doing the things you love with the people you love is definitely a shared mission.

We also understand that change can be concerning.  Our intent as stewards of the mountains is to be thoughtful and considerate.  We believe there is nothing better for our communities than providing a balanced life full of adventure.  To make this happen, POWDR is committed to doing all we can to protect our environment and enable participation for all.

Our recently announced Fast Tracks product, which enables upgradeable express lift access at four of our mountain resorts, has generated some questions and confusion, especially among the Mt. Bachelor community. As a result, we would like to clarify how this product works and what it means for our community and reiterate our commitment to mountain access for all. 

The Fast Tracks concept has been in operation at our Copper Mountain, Colorado, resort for almost 20 years.  First introduced in January of 2002 for lodging guests only, the offer was made widely available to anyone skiing the following season, in February 2003.  Since that time, it has gone through a number of variations and optimizations informed through guest feedback.  Product and experiential enhancements were successfully implemented at Copper Mountain and the concept was expanded to other resorts and reintroduced as Fast Tracks.

What we have learned through our recent experience with the product at Copper Mountain is that it is utilized by less than 2% of total daily skiers due in large part to our careful calibration and limiting access to ensure a quality experience for all guests.  The product is additionally managed with lift loading protocols, which provide for rotation between traditional, Ski School and Fast Track lines.  As a result, the impact on lift line wait times across our mountains is negligible.  

Fast Tracks does not affect general access to our resorts, as it is an add-on product to a day lift ticket or season pass.  Fast Tracks access is no different than the access offered through ski school, private lessons and guided mountain tours in that they all provide a finite number of fast lane experiences. These experiences are made available to every member of the public, at the same price, with the same benefits. 

To this last point, as stewards of amazing mountain resort experiences on some of our nation’s most beautiful public lands, we believe we have a responsibility to create opportunities for everyone to access and enjoy the adventure lifestyle.  As part of our Play Forever commitment, we are working to build a more inclusive community through our partnerships with the Burton Chill Foundation, SOS Outreach, Special Olympics, Boys and Girls Clubs and local parks & rec and school learn to ski programs. We also enable access by providing resources through the High Fives Foundation and local organizations such as Wasatch Adaptive Sports, Vermont Adaptive, Adaptive Action Sports and Oregon Adaptive Sports. 

Furthermore, we provide free public access to resort amenities located on private and public land. For example, Snowbird provides access to adjacent U.S. Forest Service lands through permanently open gates at the bottom of Mineral Basin as well as Baby Thunder and has a controlled gate to access public lands via the White Pine and American Fork Twin Peaks when avalanche conditions permit. In addition, Mt. Bachelor’s Woodward Start Park and Early Riser Lift are free and available for the public to enjoy all season long as is alpine touring in specific controlled areas and access to adjacent forest and wilderness areas for Alpine Touring and Snowshoeing. 

We do not believe that providing access to the public lands on which our resorts operate and offering customizable experiences for our guests are mutually exclusive.  We remain highly confident based on our experience with similar products that Fast Tracks will be a valuable product for those that wish to participate and it will not compromise the experience of other guests. Nevertheless, if any guest would like a season pass refund before the season starts as a result of our Fast Tracks product, we will honor that request.  

We remain committed to fostering lasting relationships with our communities and enabling the adventure lifestyle for generations to come. 

Wade Martin & Justin Sibley
POWDR Co-Presidents

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    1. If you are skiing with a pass you as well are a rich privileged person….
      Everyone in Bend has become an absolute whiner about everything… What a bunch of sissies you all have become.

    2. Let’s see….season pass $1000+, skis $1000+, ski jacket\pants\boots $1000+, gas up and down the mountain countless times to make season pass worth the cost $500…..hello pot, this is kettle.

  1. RHmmm….What’s the big deal? How many are they going to sell in a day 50, 100, 500? Do the math you whiners. There are 12 lifts and 100’s of runs, so the chance of my next run being delayed by more than about 4 seconds seems pretty slim. Let’s say they sell 10,000 during the season, that’s $490,000 in revenue and much of that will be pumped back into facilities. Come on Mount Bachelor whiners, let an extra snap out of your trucker hat, jump in your Subaru and go grab a cold one

      1. flashsteve Well-off skiers. You really do not know many of the locals here. Many are the wait staff at local restaurants who have days off. They are not rich by any means. Continue to put them down and be sure and tell them how you feel about this when you eat out.

    1. Lol, check this Californian out. He thinks they’re going to make the mountain better with all that cash. Lmao. Dude, they cant even properly clear the lot on most days, especially bluebird. Most services are a daily cluster**** up there. They’re going to do nothing but shove that cash straight their pockets.

    2. So… you really think that “much” of that $490,000 will be pumped back into facilities? How? And how will that benefit those that can’t afford the extra $$$? I see your comment as wishful thinking.

    3. Yep, look at eh facts first. If someone else is willing to pay extra, that may mean more investment in the facilities. Otherwise perhaps they will raise the price for everyone to compensate. I am perfectly willing to wait a few seconds extra for someone else to foot the bill for perks I will enjoy.

    4. “Revenue pumped back into the Facilities”?? You must not be at Bachelor very much in the last 20 years Powder has owned it.They skimp on putting money back into Mt. Bachelor.

  2. So only 2% of the people are going to be allowed to benefit from this. The other 98% of your loyal customers who paid full price will be the ones who will be pushed back in favor of the 2%. So what if the 98% decide to no longer buy your overpriced food and drink or shop at your ski shop? I spend at least $1000 per year on those things up at the mountain. I and most of the other loyal 98% will probably stop doing that in protest of this short-sighted move. Mt. Bachelor should also prepare for additional security. It is not my thing to do damage to other people’s property, but many locals have been really been pushed to the back of the line already with the new money coming into this area. This has priced many of them out of the local housing market etc. Once again as I said, I am not in favor of violence, but POWDR corp is putting a match to a tender box with this move. I have ridden the lifts with many locals over the years and they tell me how they feel about wealthy outsiders coming here even before this latest poorly thought out move. Every year I host visitors who have plenty of money to burn and I will warn them not to buy a fast track pass for their own safety and to avoid getting their cars vandalized. In the end, all this fast track pass will do is cost POWDR corp money and cause a lot of bad feelings. I know how many locals resent outsiders already and this is going to be really bad. This is not Copper Mountain. This is Mt. Bachelor and we are a family. This move will change that feeling.

    1. I think boycotting food and drink services if a wonderful idea, and I hope others will do the same. Wade and Justin, this move is absurd and you know it. Its bad for the industry, its bad for the mountain culture, and its worse for your reputation. The fact that you didn’t introduce this obviously well-planned policy change until after the season pass deadline pretty well establishes that you knew damn well what the reaction would be, and you did it anyways. I suppose, pending review of a violation of your conditional use permit, that is your capitalist prerogative, as it is mine to deny you the additional funds I would have otherwise spent on food and drink.

      You know you have a captive audience of season pass holders as we aren’t exactly flush with options here, and many of us moved here precisely for mountain proximity (apologies to those that are aggrieved that people move to this wonderful town on account of it being wonderful, but that’s sort of how the world works). So your ad hoc, “we’ll be happy to refund your money” is just another slap in the face. I get it. You want to increase profits so you don’t care. To that end, I hope it stings when your locals stop buying your food beverage.

    2. 100% of people are allowed to benefit. Only 2% choose to. I think your concerns of violence and vandalism are amiss. Fast track programs are widely used in public and private transportation, entertainment and service industries. This is not a new concept with unknown social response. As far as “family”, I find users of the mountain to be rather exclusive and it has little to do with where you are from or how much money you have. The message is clear –be a like us or go ski Hoodoo. And for that reason, many do.

      1. Sorry you had that experience, Skiz. There are pockets of jerks everywhere including Mt. Bachelor. But the vast majority of the locals are not like that at all. But some are, and many of those that are feeling the way they do is because of what they have seen happen to Bend and Bachelor over the years as more newcomers with money move into this area. I can afford to buy a fast track pass, but I would not do so as this would only further anger those who are already angry about how the new money in this area has caused housing to skyrocket and many things to become crowded that never were in prior years. So my reason for opposing the pass is not because I can not afford it. I am opposed to it because of what it will do to the attitude of the loyal locals. This will cause further divisions and the last thing we need today is more divisions. MT. Bachelor was a place where you could mostly escape the divisions and anger so many people have in today’s world. I have talked to people from all beliefs and political views while riding the lifts. In the last five years of being up there over 100 days a year, I have only had discussions two times where there were any bad feelings when we got off the lifts. Riding the lifts is somewhat like speed dating. You get exposed to all these different people from all social-economic backgrounds from those struggling to pay for the pass to those who have multiple properties and companies they own. I just want everyone to get along and be happy while they are at Mt. Bachelor. This fast track program is only going to further cause divisions among those skiing/riding Mt. Bachelor and that I why I am against it.

    3. Are you just pulling numbers out of your hat? Are those complaining about this also complaining to Disney in California and Disney World in Florida? They do the same thing and have been doing it for years. Wyden – did you write a letter to them also?

    4. Sorry dude but Powdercorp knows that you and I are going to complain and then go up to the mountain, buy that lift ticket, buy that beer and sandwich, and complain about long lift lines. If everybody boycotted Bachelor the prices would come down in a heartbeat but we all know that won’t happen. Bachelor was ruined the day Powdercorp bought it

  3. Whine whine whine. With my midweek pass I suspect it will have no effect on me. I’m retired so guess I must be priviledged to have a mid week pass but I sure see a lot of you younger folks out during the week on the mountain getting in some turns. And then the crew that obviously does not work that is up there everyday but you sure ain’t retired. Yes refund your pass and the lines will be even less for me.

  4. Wyden is a key player in determining new taxes to pay for Biden’s build back better plan. Doesn’t seem like it would be very hard to slip a new tax provision into this multi thousand page bill that would levy an additional tax on for profit companies who use public land via permit and have a program like this in place.

    1. Look! Another Biden voter who doesn’t understand how economics work. Yes raise the taxes on Ski Areas that will fix em’
      Hint: The cost of your skiing will go the opposite direction snow falls…

    2. Great idea, the. The mtn can pass the cost off to skiers… brilliant. Ron Wyden has never solved a problem in his life. The answer is not govt

  5. 2% is the overall average of skier days which doesn’t sound like much. However, this could be made up of 0% on foggy, windy, icy, slushy days and 70% of powder days.

    1. Exactly correct. Most days at Bachelor the fast track pass will be of no benefit. So those who have flexible schedules as I do, the fast track program will not affect me that much. I already avoided crowded weekends unless there was fresh pow of course, or if I was needed to take my granddaughters skiing. IMO those most affected negatively by the fast track program are going to be those who can only ski on weekends when lift lines are longer. So the hard-working middle class will for the large part be the ones who bear the real cost of this benefit for those who have money to burn. A great way to stoke the already increasing hatred of the wealthy.

  6. This IS going to be a problem when that elite group laps the main line on Powder days.
    I hope everyone BOOS them when they pass by in the line. Maybe start a movement to do that ! I for one will be boycotting food and drink and shopping at Mt Bachelor.
    Clueless management will eventually be sorry. Thick headed……maybe that’s why it takes two of them to manage the place.

  7. It’s all about the money but, when the ground is leased from the forest service – public land – the people should have something to say about this.

  8. I’m glad to see one of our elected leaders is wasting his time worrying about whining skiers.
    Oregon leadership is an absolute joke…
    I just might buy a pass this year and laugh at all the whiners as I show up late and whiz past them in line with my shiny new FAST TRACKS pass LOL!!!!

  9. I haven’t skied in years so I don’t really care what happens on the mountain,
    but I don’t understand the whining. The concept of people spending more money
    to get certain perks or better products is nothing new.
    Skiing isn’t a cheap sport to begin with. Maybe those that are complaining because
    they can’t afford it should get a part time job and then they too could afford the perks.
    There is certainly no shortage of jobs available.

    1. Comments like yours are only going to increase the anger of those who are already working as many hours as they can get, just so that they can scrimp and save to buy a pass. I can afford a pass, but I would never think to throw it in the face of those who cannot no matter how hard they work. Not everyone is as blessed as I am and I always try not to flaunt what I have in front of those who do not. At times in my life, I thought it was all about money and how hard you worked if you wanted to be successful. Now I am older and wiser and realize not everyone is able to just work harder and achieve whatever they dream. FYI I have seen locals skiing up at Bachelor with gloves held together with duct tape. A lot of those with duct-taped gloves have worked harder than you or I ever have. Some people are just blessed with more money. It doesn’t make them better people. It just means that they have more money.

      1. ” Comments like yours are only going to increase the anger of those who are already working as many hours as they can get, just so that they can scrimp and save to buy a pass.”

        I would bet that there are very few people that are going skiing, that are truly working as many hours as they can get. All we have to do is look at the incredible number of jobs that are available. A large percentage of the workforce is still using
        the virus as an excuse to sit on their butts at home.
        I’m certainly not wealthy. I turned 60 last month and retired five years ago.
        I started working on a farm / ranch when I was 12 years old, and I spent most of my
        life working 60-80 hours a week. I was never jealous of people that had money
        and could do things that I couldn’t afford to do, I worked more hours so I could
        afford to do the things I wanted to do, because that was how I was raised.
        A lot of the entitled, younger generation today don’t have that same mindset.
        Obviously there are exceptions to that. I never gave it much thought in the past
        but when I see a younger person working in a fast food restaurant, or a store,
        or gas station, I have a lot of respect for them. They aren’t using the virus as
        an excuse for laziness, they are trying, and doing what they can…
        Agreed, people with money aren’t better people. There are people with money that
        are awesome people. They are the people that worked hard all their life to become
        successful. They don’t talk about their money or try to impress people.
        Many, but certainly not all of the people that inherit their money are different.

        1. Those who don’t work are not the people skiing at Bachelor for the most part unless they are students. I am 64 and worked my whole life. I still work, but I have a flexible schedule. I am all in favor of people working hard and enjoying the rewards of their work as long as when they enjoy those rewards it is not at the expense of others. I am not against private country clubs, private jets etc. Here is the issue you are not understanding. Consider that those cutting in line are taking 1/3 of the chairs going up the lift. This will make those not cutting wait 30% longer each time they ride that chairlift. POWDR says they will only sell 2% of the total tickets there each day on average. But they will sell more on days when the demand is higher. On those high-demand days the lines can get to be 30 minutes long. You lift ride takes less than ten minutes. You can ski down in 3 minutes or less. Therefore if you buy a fast track pass you are back in front of people who have already waited 13 minutes and now still have to wait another 17 minutes. You go up again, ski down, and are now in front of them again. With the fast track pass on busy days, the wealthy get to make at least two runs for everyone run the other paying customers get. So then I decide to pay for a fast-track pass because I could. I have now added to the wait time for those who cannot afford that pass. Each person who buys that fast track pass does. Mt. Bachelor is selling its normal paying customers’ time to wealthier skiers without reimbursing the other paying customers for the time they took from them. That time is not free. It is worth something. So if POWDR corp is going to take their full price paying customers’ time, then they should reimburse those customers for their time that they sold to more well-to-do customers. I don’t want the government to get involved. But I do want people to understand why people are upset. Their time is being sold to wealthier people, and they are not getting paid back for that time. POWDR corp is pocketing the money.

  10. And to paraphrase and quote a line in the letter “We provide…….access to adjacent forest and wilderness areas for Alpine Touring and Snowshoeing”. Such BS taking credit for the access to public lands. They are required by their Special Use Permit from the Forest Service to provide access free to the public. If they could figure out a way to monetize access without stirring up a **** storm from the public they would be all in. Bachelor went significantly downhill after Powdr took over. As mentioned in a previous comment, I have also seen the parking lots a mess and half unplowed on a bluebird powder day so there is not enough parking for the demand. The don’t put any money into the equipment to maintain the parking lot and it breaks down. I have seen this multiple times over a season.

    1. I don’t care for the new program, but I’m not getting my knickers in a twist over it. I couldn’t agree more about the self-aggrandizement. Bachelor is on OUR land. We are supposed to thank them for for not barring access to more of OUR land?

  11. I had to laugh when some of my friends and even my own family member was all upset about this a ski pass.
    All this woke outrage while our Federal, State and local government is burning through our tax dollars like a oil tanker on fire. Inflation is out of control, trucking and transport rates have doubled since January Biden, basic items are hard to find and we have an inept Federal, Sate and local Government making Mandates and policies that will ruin our way of life and destroy our entire country while crippling the economy. By they way.. The Company POWDR that runs that business doesn’t owe you anything. Vote with your dollars.. if you don’t like it go to Hoodoo.. or Pilot Butte 🙂

  12. Just another nail in Mt Bachelor’s (Powder Corp) coffin, which is a mediocre ski area.

    And it is not not a resort. No ski in ski out capability.

  13. As anyone should know there is already growing resentment towards the rich in this country. Moves like this cause that movement to grow even more rapidly. Many of the comments call those not happy with this idea “whinners”. This reminds me of a famous quote from history where a wealthy person said, “Let them eat cake.” How did that work out?

    1. I am not against the fast-track pass because of how it will affect me. I am against it because of the hard feelings and resentment it will cause people who work really hard just to be able to get to enjoy something they love so much. They will have to watch truly wealthy people cut in front of them and their children. TioZo, I thought you were against the wealthy using their power to push other people back in line. Or is that just when it affects you and something you care about? Mt. Bachelor was a place where people could escape the classism and division so prevalent in society today. The fast track program will have a very negative effect on that. Not everyone who skis/rides is wealthy. Most in fact are middle-class families who work really hard and give up other things in order to be able to ski/ride.

  14. If you can afford to ski quit crying about the Fast-Tracks pass. If you can’t afford the Fast-Tracks pass than you really can’t afford to be skiing.

  15. I think folks are missing a critical detail. Although the land itself may be public, all of the equipment that is at Bachelor is privately owned and maintained. Ski passes are nothing more than a rental agreement that allows folks to use said privately owned equipment. It’s kind of like rental cars or airline seats – If you want to rent a luxury car or sit in first class, it will cost more than an economy car or economy seat. Same applies here folks. Someone purchasing a fast pass are not doing anything more than paying for an upgrade. One thing that I think would be nice would be if they could figure out a way that folks could possibly earn a fast pass. Maybe season pass holders get a few vouchers for fast pass upgrades that they can use on any day (no blackouts). Or, maybe vertical feet earns you free vouchers. They already have the ability to track that so it shouldn’t be a stretch to apply it the same way that coffee shops track your purchases so you can get that coveted 10th coffee for free.

    1. They are selling time. There are only so many chairs going up per hour. The time they sell to the wealthy is the time taken from those who cannot afford the fast-track pass. That time others are made to wait is worth something. POWDR corp did not ask permission to sell the time of those who paid the full price. POWDR corp is selling something that was not theirs to sell without permission. If we had another large ski area close by it would be different and people could go elsewhere. But POWDR corp has a monopoly because the government will not allow other sites to be developed. Since the government has allowed for the monopoly then perhaps the government will have to step in. I hope that is not necessary. POWDR corp should consider their customers and their customers’ time which they are selling without any reimbursement.

    2. A beautiful cold bluebird day after a storm that’s dumped a foot of new snow. People lined up for an hour before the lift opens to get those first tracks. You really think you’re going to want to use a fast pass?

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