Earlier this month we reported that Mt. Bachelor will offer cheaper lift tickets for guests who choose to sign a liability waiver. Now the resort is taking a similar approach to season pass prices.
This year’s season pass will have two pricing options. One cheaper option will be available for season pass purchasers who are willing to sign a liability waiver. The second option will cost an extra $250 and is for those who decline to sign the liability waiver.
Why is this?
It all comes down to the legal protection in Oregon for outdoor recreation providers.
John McLeod, Mt. Bachelor’s President and General Manager, had this to say in an email to season pass holders:
“In 13 out of 14 Western states, liability releases are legally enforceable helping outdoor recreation providers in those states address dangers that are inherent to recreating outdoors. Unfortunately, outdoor recreation providers in Oregon do not have this type of legal protection and are being challenged by rapidly increasing insurance premiums and legal costs.”
For those people who do choose to sign the waiver, the situation would be just as it is in many other states where it governs the terms of the resort’s relationship with those customers. If they don’t sign it then it all falls to state law.
Potentially more outdoor companies will do the same as Mt. Bachelor until the legal landscape changes. Oregon is a state that prides itself not just on the abundance of skiing and snowboarding but also hiking, mountain biking, fishing, surfing, and climbing.
Mt. Bachelor plans to launch an effort to introduce legislation that gives Oregon outdoor recreation providers the same protection as in other states like neighboring California and Washington. Until then, charging more for not signing a liability waiver is a way to hedge themselves against potential lawsuits. It is also a way to ensure that they can continue to be a viable business going forward for all to enjoy. Oregonians have already seen the impact of this with the closure of downhill mountain biking at Ski Bowl, another Oregon resort.
It is expected that many season pass holders and day ticket purchasers will opt to sign the waiver. This is not just because they want to save some money but because they also understand the concept of personal responsibility and the inherent risks of skiing and snowboarding.