U.S. Senator Ron Wyden Criticizes New ‘Fast Tracks’ Program at Oregon’s Mt. Bachelor in Letter Addressed to Parent Company’s Founder

Martin Kuprianowicz | | Industry NewsIndustry News
In response to the new Fast Tracks pass anticipated at Mt. Bachelor this winter (shown above), Senator Ron Wyden sent a letter to John Cumming, chairman and founder of Park City-based POWDR, requesting that the parent company scrap the new initiative. | Photo courtesy of Mt. Bachelor

Mt. Bachelor is one of POWDR’s four resorts that will implement the new and controversial Fast Tracks pass this winter which allows guests to pay extra to skip lift lines. The pass will let anybody skip the regular lines on all but three of Bachelor’s lifts on the day they purchase it. The program has sparked widespread criticism; first from locals—including one who started a petition last weekend asking Bachelor and its parent company POWDR to cancel the pass—and now from a United States Senator.

In response to the new Fast Tracks pass anticipated at Mt. Bachelor this winter, Senator Ron Wyden sent a letter to John Cumming, chairman and founder of Park City-based POWDR, requesting that the parent company scrap the new initiative. Wyden said it is an inequitable use of U.S. Forest Service land, as reported by The Oregonian.

“At a minimum, POWDR must delay implementation until it adequately explains to the public how the Fast Tracks policy will not exacerbate equity issues that already exist in outdoor recreation,” Wyden wrote to Cumming. “Snow sports are already expensive enough that equity issues have been persistent, and financially disadvantaged families have long been unfairly priced out of access—something a Fast Tracks policy is sure to only make worse,” Wyden wrote later in his letter.

Sen. Wyden’s Full Letter to POWDR’s John Cumming 

Mt. Bachelor is one of four resorts under POWDR’s veil of operations expected to implement the Fast Tracks pass this season—the other three being Colorado’s Copper Mountain, Utah’s Snowbird, and Vermont’s Killington. All have been subject to recent media backlash because of the new line-cutting program, with skiers and snowboarders drawing comparisons to Disney’s FastPass+ program which allowed visitors express access to three rides for free before Disney ditched it to offer a paid program, according to the Salt Lake Tribune. (It’s interesting to note that an independent audit showed that Disney’s FastPass+ program was shown to increase wait times at Walt Disney World by less than a minute at some rides, while at others it did actually reduce the time spent waiting in line.)

What will POWDR decide to do at Mt. Bachelor in lieu of Wyden’s letter? That’s still to be determined. However, it’s not outside the realm of possibility that this current situation could set precedent as to what’s to come elsewhere in the ski industry when corporations seek to maximize profits in every space they can.


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8 thoughts on “U.S. Senator Ron Wyden Criticizes New ‘Fast Tracks’ Program at Oregon’s Mt. Bachelor in Letter Addressed to Parent Company’s Founder

  1. I got news for you Karl…it’s already happened. There are private runs all over that only people who own the homes nearby can access. Ski runs and lifts are closed to the public nearly all year at hood for racing. Again- rich people already have it their way. They heli ski, cat ski and don’t ski bachelor. I know it’s kind of shitty (park city has been doing this for at least 15 years) but it is the way it is. Ski resorts are trying to find ways to enhance the skiing experience. Just like always have. Whistler has been offering first tracks for 80 people or so every morning who want to pay an extra $40.00 (4 or so years ago) where they open the mountain to you 45 min before everyone else. I just don’t see the reason to get so self righteous when we are all a victim of it. If you have the chance and the means for an enhanced experience your take it.

  2. Even worse, the possibility of even more expensive passes that allow billionaire to have prime sections of the resort and lifts closed off for private events. The possibilities are endless if tiered pricing and benefits are allowed.

  3. You shameless liar! It is DECREASING the value of the base pass. To have the same chance at new fresh snow, you would now have to buy the new more expensive elite pass.

  4. America is about capitalism. If you think otherwise then you can can ditch your skis, nikes and smartphone. Also, equality in the context you mentioned doesn’t mean we all have the same. Equality means equal opportunity. If those people want the fast pass then ditch a coffee habit for a couple months and pay for it. And I have news for you. Elites don’t ski at bachelor, they ski at Yellowstone club or vail and when they do they have private lessons where they are able to bypass all lines all the time.

  5. So a hundred elites like you can do endless laps, while everyone else waits hours in a lift line? America is about equality and freedom. And that’s America’s land. Purchase and open your own resort on private land.

  6. As if skiing was ever a cheap or available to all people equally (sorry Kansas). Next thing you know they will get rid of first class airplane and tickets. Ski resorts are businesses, not charities. If it’s too expensive find another hobby or sport. I love a lot of things in life that I can’t afford to do and I’ve adjusted my expectations as such. Plus, it’s not increasing the base pass price.

  7. Build new community owned ski resorts that have ZERO development!
    Cut the environmental red tape!
    Poo on the Sierra Club and Sierra Watch and Patagonia!

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