In a report put out by the Central Oregon Daily News, Mount Bachelor Ski Resort in Bend, Oregon is planning to sell daily lift tickets for the 22/23 Winter Season at two different price points based on its guest’s willingness to sign a liability release. The news broke after an important email was sent to the resort’s season pass holders by Mount Bachelor GM and President John McLeod.
Though the exact prices were not laid out on in the email, McLeod had informed recipients that the current pricing model will change and is linked to the release of liability. Lower-priced tickets will be available to those who sign the resort’s standard liability release and higher-priced tickets will allow users to skip the release of liability. McLeod stated:
“This change is a result of the current legal landscape in Oregon. In recent years large lawsuits against outdoor recreation providers in Oregon, including many related to the inherent risks of skiing, snowboarding, and mountain biking, have started to significantly threaten the outdoor recreation industry.”
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Additionally, the email informed season pass holders the Mt. Bachelor’s lift maintenance team was having a busy offseason with upgrades and overhauls of components on the Summit, Sunrise, Pine Marten, and Rainbow chairlifts. It also indicated repairs on the Skyliner Express chairlift are on schedule and the resort plans to have the high-traffic lift reopened by the start of the 2022-23 ski season after it was knocked out of service last year.
We can only assume the resort is making these changes to protect its assets as it is currently involved in a lawsuit regarding a 9-year-old boy who died at Mt. Bachelor in January 2021. Nevertheless, skiing and riding can both be dangerous activities and visitors must assume these risks whenever they hit the slopes. Unfortunately for risk managers at ski resorts, their ability to control these threats is limited, and charging higher fees to those that do not sign a liability release could be a way to defend themselves legally.