Oregon's Mt. Bachelor has become the first U.S. ski and snowboard resort to give a price break on day tickets to anyone who signs a form that releases the resort from liability in case of injury.
The move appears to help protect the Powdr-owned resort further if it has to defend itself from lawsuits involving injury accidents within the ski terrain boundaries of the 4,300-acre mountain. Resort officials did not say how deep the discount would be for a day ticket. The 2021-2022 day tickets cost $159 for adult weekend, $119 for adult weekdays, and a top price $169 for holidays.
“This change is a result of the current legal landscape in Oregon,” said Bachelor's John McLeod in an email to season passholders. “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.”
Physically signing such a liability waiver has long been a standard practice when season passes are bought at U.S. ski and snowboard resorts, but Mt. Bachelor appears to be the first to give day-ticket purchasers the option to sign or not.
Coincidence or not, the announcement of the discount program comes as Mt. Bachelor and owner Powdr are in court contesting a $49 million wrongful death lawsuit filed by the parents of a 9-year-old boy who died on the upper slopes of the mountain in January 2021.
All U.S. resorts have small print on the back of the ticket that essentially say purchasing a ticket is a waiver of liability because of the sport's "inherent risks." However, the power of that statement has been repeatedly challenged in courts -- and sometimes overturned.
Both Colorado and New York have passed laws that further protect ski and snowboard resorts from lawsuits arising out of alleged negligence within the resort boundaries. However, the force and breadth of those laws continue to face legal challenges.
A burgeoning trend in the ski and snowboard industry is for resorts and states all across the country to expand ski-free programs for youngsters and teens in hopes they stick with the sport -- and also save families a bit on ski vacations.
Buying a ski-snowboard ticket right at the ticket window has become the exception rather than the rule in the digital age, as individual resorts and a trio of online ticket services have become the virtual “walk-up ticket window” for most mountains.