The totals are in for the first phase of Mt. Bachelor's new charity event replacing Free Ski day, and while they aren't as bad as critics warned they're not nearly as good as the resort predicted.
Mt. Bachelor announced this week that 1,312 of the 3,500 vouchers distributed for the first segment were redeemed between Jan. 5 and 16, a rate of a bit over 37%. The total raised for five local charities was $32,800.
In early November Bachelor announced it was canceling Free Ski Day, a long tradition in Central Oregon in which people got to ski for free in return for a donation of food. In the past, NeighborImpact, a regional non-profit that provides emergency food and other services for low-income families, had collected as much as 25,000 pounds of food from the event.
In lieu of Free Ski Day, the resort decided to hand 10 different local charities 6,500 vouchers that they could distribute. The recipients then - hopefully - would redeem them to get an all-day lift pass for $25, which Bachelor would in turn give back to the charities.
"This [new program] will allow us to leverage more money for the non-profits. Each of these [agencies] is going to be gaining between $10,000 and $25,000," Mt. Bachelor spokesman Alex Kaufman said when the cancellation of Free Ski Day was announced.
But the actual results during the first phase of the program fell considerably short of that mark.
The Mt. Bachelor Ski Education Foundation redeemed the most vouchers (389) and netted $9,725. NeighborImpact redeemed 371 vouchers and earned $9,275. But the other three agencies didn't do so well. The Sparrow Clubs received $5,250, Saving Grace got $5,050, and the Tower Theatre took in only $3,500.
Bad weather and equipment problems plagued the mountain during early January, and that might have reduced the number of vouchers turned in. Let's hope for better conditions, and a better outcome, during the next voucher exchange period in early April.