The Student News Site of Summit High School

The Summit Pinnacle

The Student News Site of Summit High School

The Summit Pinnacle

The Student News Site of Summit High School

The Summit Pinnacle

Merriman Betters Bachelor

A closer look into the upcoming plans for the mountain through the eyes of the new president

As it gets closer to cold weather and snowfall, Summit students as well Bend citizens can’t help but look forward to winter activities at Mt. Bachelor. However, in recent years, Mt. Bachelor has become more expensive, making it tricky for students to do the activities they love. Mt. Bachelor’s new president and general manager, John Merriman, has solutions to make the mountain better for locals by adding new events, lifts and improving its policies. 

Merriman grew up in a small town in Maine and skied slopes on the east coast. After moving to Colorado to attend college, he studied telecommunications and became a ski bum. But, Merriman needed a change, so he became the head of finance and sales at Copper Mountain Ski Resort in Colorado. Merriman discovered Bend with his wife in 2018 and loved that he could ski and golf in the same day. So, when the opportunity came, Merriman jumped on it; he got the position of Mt. Bachelor’s new president at the end of the season last year and relocated to Bend with his family.

Merriman’s goals for Mt. Bachelor are to improve employee and guest experience, connect to the community, update new lifts and increase communication.

”I firmly believe that in order for us to have the best experience for our guests, we need to provide the best experience for our employees,” Merriman said.

Merriman is hoping to immensely improve employee’s experiences by implementing new training programs and giving them more personal benefits—all while making sure they’re having a fantastic time.

“We’re doing a leadership-led culture training at the beginning of every season where our leadership team goes up and we talk about our mission, vision and values so that [all employees] can all be on the same page,” Merriman said. 

From having maintenance work done to all the lifts to make them brighter, shinier and updated, to staying open a little bit later on busy days, Merriman is finding new ways to make the guest experience the best it can be. Mt. Bachelor will also be hosting more music events, in hopes to create a more fun and welcoming environment. 

“We’re not about to have Taylor Swift come, but probably some more stuff with local bands in Bend,” Merriman said. 

Along with the guest and employee experience, Merriman is going to put an emphasis on connecting with the community. To do so, Mt. Bachelor is implementing a program called “Play Forever Thursdays.” Every Thursday in Jan. Feb. and March, there will be $99 tickets compared to the average $120, and $5 from every ticket will go to a nonprofit such as the Environmental Center or Oregon Adaptive Sports. On each Thursday, that nonprofit will come up to Mt. Bachelor and present information about their organization in hopes of gaining more donors and educating visitors. 

The mountain’s typical season pass is around $1500, and a day pass ranges from $90 to $130, depending on the day. “Play Forever Thursdays” will give mountain enthusiasts a guaranteed opportunity for a cheaper day pass if they don’t want to pay for a full-price season pass. Mt. Bachelor’s deal is pricier compared to other mountain’s deals though, like Mt. Hoodoo, which has “Thrifty Thursdays,” consisting of $29 tickets. Although Hoodoo’s Thursday price is cheaper, it’s farther away from Bend and has fewer lifts, which turns people towards Mt. Bachelor’s Thursday deal instead. 

Additionally, Mt. Bachelor is reopening Skyliner—a new six person lift—this season. The new lift will be able to hold more people and most importantly, stay open longer because of the sturdy build. Since the new lift is made of steel, Merriman claimed it can operate more often while still being safe under harsher conditions, which is beneficial to everyone.

Lastly, Merriman thinks communication is Mt. Bachelor’s biggest struggle, and will make it a priority this season. Whether it’s communication with employees or with guests, the mountain is going to do a much better job conveying lift, trail and weather status through their website and app. 

“In the past where [Mt. Bachelor] missed is if the Northwest lift wasn’t going to open, [people] often had wishful thinking that at some point it would be open,” Merriman said. 

Instead, Merriman will find ways to communicate more clearly and make sure skiers and snowboarders understand that if a lift is in pending status, there’s no guarantee that it will open.

Merriman is very excited for the upcoming season and can’t wait to ski with everyone on the mountain. Having only skied eight times at Mt. Bachelor so far, Merriman is excited to meet his average of skiing 100 days per year, but this time at Mt. Bachelor. The future of Mt. Bachelor is in great hands, and Merriman is thrilled for ski and snowboarding enthusiasts to see what’s in store for the season and future years to come.

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About the Contributor
Paige Parton
Paige Parton, Staff Writer

When Paige isn’t running around getting things checked off her massive to-do list, you will probably see her playing lacrosse or online shopping. Paige loves to have fun and doesn't like putting all her eggs in one basket, pushing her to explore many different activities, even kitesurfing! But aside from all her hobbies, spending time with family and hanging out with friends is her favorite thing to do when she has time, since nowadays, Paige can never stay in the state for more than a couple weeks at a time. 


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