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Sales decline prompts Mt. Bachelor shakeup

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Tuesday, July 01, 2008

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BEND As the final days of last winter’s ski season wound to a close, Powdr Corp. — which runs the Mt. Bachelor Ski Resort — took the dramatic step of firing the majority of the resort’s top management: general manager Matt Janney, along with the directors of marketing, food and beverage services, and operations. The 2007-2008 season saw record snowfall and attendance at ski areas around Oregon — but not at Mt. Bachelor, which experienced a 7% drop in ticket sales.

The firings were intended to do one thing: revamp a resort plagued by maintenance, chairlift and community relations woes. But many of those problems pre-date Janney’s 10-month stint in the driver’s seat.  Less than a month afater Janey was fired, Dave Rathbun — the previous director of marketing at Killington Resort — took over as GM. It’s unclear how much much can change before the first snowflakes start falling this winter.

Over the course of this summer, Powdr Corp. will dump $3.4 million into the resort, which is one of the major players in Central Oregon’s $500 million-a-year tourism economy. Repairing lifts that routinely shut down because of ice problems is at the top of the fix-it list. Repairing a disconnect between the resort and the community will be equally important, says Powdr Corp. spokesman Justin Yax.

“Any large corporation has a responsibility to the community. That has not been as prevalent as it should have been,” he says.

Whether involvement means corporate sponsorships or directors serving on civic boards, both of which Yax offered as possibilities, the company clearly hopes to have some good news to announce for the 2008-2009 season. It would be a birthday present of sorts: This winter is Mt. Bachelor’s 50th anniversary.              

ABRAHAM HYATT



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