All Fall Campers should understand the Fall Camp 2020 early dates of December 3-6 at Meissner Sno-Park have pros and cons that we want to be totally transparent about before you register.
Pros Of Early Dates
--> Earlier snow days -- for racers, this historically can be a big deal because folks getting earlier snow time generally have more snow time before major ski marathons and other adult events start up later in the winter. For recreational skiers, earlier generally just means getting technique input before you've started to regularly get out and ski.
--> You will save $ on trail fees -- Meissner skiing is entirely donation based so technically "free". However, as a condition of registration the Fall Camp is requiring that all Campers promise to make a donation of $10 per day (or for locals, make a season donation) to the non-profit Meissner Nordic Club. But even with your promise to donate for each Camp day, $10 per day is a smokin' deal on trail fees.
--> No parking reservations -- You will need to buy either a daily or season Oregon Sno-Park permit for any car in the lot. Yes, state police to patrol the Sno-Park and they do ticket. Ye be warned. Those permits are sold at several west Bend outdoor shops ($25 season, 3-day $9, $4 daily). Powder House and Pine Mountain Sports are at the roundabout of Simpson and 14th (near westside Safeway). If you go downtown, use Webcyclery or FootZone. You can get season permits on-line "immediately", but short term you need to buy at shops one day ahead of your Camp start. Parking itself is first-come, first-served for the Winter 20/21 period at Sno-Parks (no reservations) -- but they do fill. Luckily our Camp starts early enough each morning we should be able to find parking spaces for our group even on the Dec 5-6 weekend. Note for our northern neighbors that WA snowpack permits no longer have reciprocity in Oregon. We hear CA and ID, however, do have reciprocity (but check that out for yourself please).
Cons of Early Dates
--> Snow is not as reliable at this elevation in early December -- Meissner parking lot is 5374 feet. Mt Bachelor parking lot is 6300 feet. So there is a chance that Meissner will not have enough snow in the early dates for good grooming or extensive skiing. This is a big reason why the Fall Camp normally never bases out of Meissner. The main trails are dirt roads so it only takes about 10-12" of snow to provide a very good ski surface out of the trailhead -- and an upside this year is the Camp is starting on Dec 3 which is historically a decently “safe” date for Meissner to have main trails groomed.
--> For out-of-town skiers or skiers with little flexibility on your dates — there is going to be a chance we have to push all or part of the early dates over to after Dec 12 if good snow isn’t on the ground (we would also move up to Mt B if we move dates). The Camp will issue refunds if we have to move dates due to snow, but we can’t do anything for out-of-town skiers with fixed travel expenses. Ye be warned.