Skiing in low snow | Local News | Fold | The Weekly Source
IIt’s been five years since Mount Bachelor reported above average annual snowfall, according to the website On snow. Most climate change models predict that winters will be shorter and more unpredictable in the future, which could result in a shorter and more unpredictable tourist season in central Oregon.
Winter tourism is more dependent on weather forecasts than summer travel, and people will often try to confirm that there will be good weather for skiing.
“What you generally see during the winter months versus the summer months is that the booking window for the summer may be two or three months before this trip. In the winter we see that the windows reservation times are reduced to a week or two compared to the goal of this trip, ”said Kevney Dugan, President and CEO of Visit Bend.“ The reservation window is much shorter. And I think that’s because people are waiting to see what the weather will look like. ”
This means that the number of visitors fluctuates more dynamically during the cold months, with the exception of holidays where an increase in the number of visitors is virtually guaranteed. Dugan said the biggest short-term drain on tourism is not a lack of snow, but too much snow, which makes travel more dangerous.
“If this big snowfall happens before Presidents’ Day weekend or something like that, then you are (really) seeing negative impacts on travel,” Dugan said.
While heavy snowfall can be difficult for winter-based businesses, it’s not devastating, and winter tourism has remained strong (for the most part.)
“The correlation is really directly related to travel, so the heavy snow impacting travel in the community is the only time we see (sort of) an impact on travel in general. But with the low snow years, what hasn’t happened is you haven’t seen Mt. Bachelor not being able to open or, they still usually open by Christmas, and they have always as much of the season as possible, ”said Dugan. “If it starts to get to the point where we don’t have snow by Christmas time, or if we see a much shorter season until spring, that’s when I think that places like Bachelor Mountain or other winter recreation opportunities are starting to become concerned. ”
Dugan attributes this to the many options available to tourists in Bend compared to other ski resort communities like Breckenridge or Aspen.
“It’s just a bigger city, it’s a bigger community and with that comes a lot more options than just being here to ski,” he said. “I think we see a lot of our visitors doing this where they can come for a week, and they ski three or four days and sort of pick the best weather days. And then the other days they go and do other things. like the high desert dam or the Smith Rock hike or other activities in and around town. ”
Winter sports on warmer land: Protect Our Winters seeks systemic solutions to protect the environment and their favorite winter sport
Winter sports in warmer land
Protect Our Winters seeks systemic solutions to protect the environment and their favorite winter sport
By Jack Harvel
The worst effects of climate change are likely years away, and Dugan said winter tourism businesses like Mt. Bachelor are adapting.
“The point is, climate change is happening, and we all need to understand that the length of winter and the amount of snow will change over time,” said Dugan. “I think Mount Bachelor has been very progressive and forward thinking in developing more summer recreational opportunities, whether it’s mountain biking, ziplining, or the new hiking trails they add to the mountain. these things, I think, are an indicator that they are potentially seeing a shrunken winter spell, which means reduced income for daily skiers. ”