Normally a state where ample snow can be found well into spring, Oregon is finding that the low snow level is affecting their lakes and other water levels state-wide. Low water levels at usually high lakes are prompting snow parks all over the state to close early, affecting business and tourism in the areas that usually enjoy a bustling event season.
Closing Up Shop Early
Mount Bachelor, a premier ski resort in Bend, Oregon announced on Tuesday that it would be closing its doors for the season on Sunday May 10, the earliest it has ever closed in its 40 years. Most were hoping they’d be able to keep the facility open until at least Memorial Day, but because of such low snow piling, Mt. Bachelor won’t be able to remain open for the holiday. According to Mt. Bachelor’s marketing and communications manager Drew Jackson, this years snowfall was the fourth-lowest in history, “but in terms of how much snow we actually had pile up on the ground, this was the least amount that actually piled up in our recorded history.”
Though there is a slight chance that the area could be hit with snowy weather and the season could be extended, wintry weather hasn’t been in the cards for Mt. Bachelor this season. Subsequently, the resort is having to cancel many events that take place at Mt. Bachelor on an annual basis. One such event, the Pond Skimming Championships, was scheduled for Saturday, a full day before the resort closes up shop. Because of such low snow piles, the event has been cancelled. According to Mt. Bachelor’s president and general manager, “limited base area snow will not allow for a sufficiently deep pool to safely carry out the event.
Going Out With A Bang or Two
Mt. Bachelor’s season will end with a bang however. The annual BrewSki Beer Festival is this weekend, and the event is expecting to draw huge crowds of beer, music and barbecue lovers. After that event, the 39th annual Pole Pedal Paddle is happening on May 16th. Though Mt. Bachelor will be closed, the multi-sport, multi-stage event is reported to still go on, though race coordinators have yet to make an official decision regarding the race trail.
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The Pole Pedal Paddle is an annual snow event that invites teams, pairs and individual participants to compete in races from Mt. Bachelor to Bend, Oregon. Participants race in a six-legged relay that includes alpine ski or snowboarding, cross-country skiing, biking, and running, ending with a canoe/kayak/SUP race to the end.
Thousands normally show up and race, but because of the low snow levels, registration has been lower than previous years. Many participants are waiting until final call in order to register for the event, as race coordinators have yet to release alternate plans for the cross-country skiing leg of the race. Race coordinators and officials will most likely replace the snow event with a short trail run less than two miles in length.
The low snow levels have hurt equipment reservations at local ski shops and registration for the Pole Pedal Paddle, though race coordinators are still expecting a big turnout. Race Director Molly Cogswell-Kelley said, “It (registration) might be down a little bit, but it’s the Pole Pedal Paddle, and it’s going to be an amazing experience,” regardless of equipment reservations dipping below their normal levels for the race.