This special page has been set up by XC Oregon to keep our program skiers and Camp guests up-to-date on what we know and what we think about navigating the Mt Bachelor parking reservation system for Winter 2020/2021. Updates are being posted below as needed.
For starters, here's the direct link to the Mt Bachelor parking reservation page:
Please note that the XC Oregon priority is to "solve the current parking issues" for our Campers rather than soapbox. The ski industry is "winging it" just like everyone else in this crazy time. XC Oregon remains convinced we'll all figure this out. Stay calm. Work the problem. :-)
Parking Update: Friday, December 11 -- 7:30am
The "Week Of" parking reservation system -- supposed to be operational Monday -- is still not operational as of Friday morning. No information available from Mt Bachelor via phone or on-line.
The bottom line for our Camp week remains exactly the same as earlier this week (notes below).
NOTABLE GOOD NEWS -- XC Oregon can confirm that for five straight days (Mon-Tues-Weds-Thurs-Fri) last second reservation spots have been available either the night prior AND/OR (more reliably) the morning of each ski day. For example, this morning (Friday) as of 7:25am there are free parking spots available for today (Friday). Why this is happening is described below.
Because the "Week Of" system isn't functional right now, the only parking reservations that can be obtained are when folks holding "Advance" reservations cancel that reservation either the night before or early the morning-of a particular ski day. People are supposed to cancel both to be polite and also because Mt Bachelor has penalties if anyone holds a reservation past 7am on a given day and ends up no-show. How to get your parking reservations via this scenario is described below.
Waiting until the night before you Camp is undeniably a bit of a stress. But XC Oregon has seen multiple cases now where Campers and others have successfully adopted the "night before or early morning of" strategy to get last second parking reservations. The catch is that you have to go thru this last second process just before every remaining Camp day -- or at least you will until the promised "Week Of" inventory and system comes on-line.
To fully understand how many reservations are NOT being handed out right now because the Week Of system is "broken", consider that the West Village parking lot has been only half to a third full when Camp mornings have wrapped up. But the parking reservation system chart you see on the webpage says "sold out". So something is clearly going wrong here.
Coach JD continues to press buttons around town to see if any answers can be found. Unfortunately the ones that know what's going on are silent right now. Anything learned will be posted on this page and the Daily Camp Updates page.
As we chase answers, keep checking back and refreshing the Mt Bachelor parking page. Things could change at a moment's notice.
Here's your remaining options for parking all Camp week.....
1.) For Campers needing a parking reservation for the next day (failing tip #3 below) the most predictable option (although unquestionably nervy) will be to hang in there until the night before (6pm until bedtime) or early morning (6-6:59am) the morning of your Camp session. Keep pinging the Mt B parking page like a demon (refreshing the page each time) until you see space open up.
When space is available, it's only going to be a few spaces. People holding Advance reservations are not going to cancel in big batches. This is why you need to keep coming by as often as you can and keep refreshing the page so you have the best chance of getting lucky and finding space due to cancelled Advance spots that are now open.
Why is the last second option your best chance at this point?
The whole Mt B parking set-up really hinges on a very essential rule -- that being those that decide NOT to use a reservation spot, are required to release that spot latest by 7am the day of the reservation so others can use it -- or else they face "penalties". Mt Bachelor has mentioned many times over (and repeated via phone support today) that skiers that are basically a "no show" will be penalized in some way for abusing the system if they fail to cancel reservations in a timely manner. So for our Camp purposes, it is a good bet that you will find a considerable number of openings throughout the evening the night prior and then again more openings probably from 6-6:59am (maybe a bit later too) on target day.
XC Oregon realizes it will not be much fun hoping to get a parking spot perhaps as late as 90 minutes before a Camp session you are all set to attend. But right now this last second option is the most reliable and really your only option.
2.) If the "Week Of" reservation system "goes live" at any point, you will know because the parking page will look dramatically different with TWO reservation calendars displayed.
Right now the calendar display (the one with all the frustrating X marks across the entire month) says at the top ("7 Advance Day Limit"). That calendar is supposed to be just for Advance reservations (the kind a family coming two months from now on a given weekend would make). When the "Week Of" system is actually functioning you should be able to see either another graphic or a menu choice appear to select between Advance reservations (long term planning) or Week Of (only within the next week).
Very important -- if you are camping multiple days until the 12th, you can get all the spots you need under Week Of (if it ever functions) and none of them will count against your Advance allocations for later weeks. So get all that you need. Also important, it's convenient to have your license plate number handy, but really you can put in anything for a number and edit later. Same goes for the name. Email is the only thing that needs to actually be real and valid because you need the confirmation record.
Final Note: In an absolute worst case situation (and we are really hoping this doesn't happen), XC Oregon will refund Camp fees for any Camper that is unable to attend a Mt Bachelor Camp day due to inability to get a parking reservation -- the same way we are offering refunds due to COVID health worries. We will operate on the honor system on this (meaning, if you just slept in or some other reason for not coming, OR if you just give up and don't keep trying to get a reservation until the bitter end -- it's on you). Please honestly exhaust every possible option. But you aren't going to be out Camp funds if the Mt Bachelor parking issues were the cause and nothing we collectively brainstormed worked.
KEY THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT MT BACHELOR PARKING (the XC Oregon version, some of this is now outdated but it explains what the Mt B website is trying to convey)....
--> If you go on-line right now, you'll see X marks over the entire month of December and other days are only available for paid parking. At first glance you'll think that means there's no way to get free parking on Camp days at Mt Bachelor -- if at all. PLEASE DO NOT FREAK OUT. Keep reading.
--> If you read the above Mt Bachelor official information about parking reservations, it is important to understand the difference between ADVANCE and WEEK OF reservations. These are two different and overlapping systems -- but for a given skier they will (once fully functioning) basically double the options to do what you want and when.
--> The WEEK OF reservation system was supposed to start functioning 7am on Monday, November 30. But as of Wednesday, Dec 2 that Week Of system was not yet functioning. Mt B phone support says "soon" it will work. So the best advice is just keep checking back to the Mt Bachelor parking page several times a day, refresh the page, and trust that eventually the "Week Of" system will start up. Each day we get closer to Camp days at Mt Bachelor, any reservations Campers make that are within 7 days of the target day automatically considered "Week Of" reservations. By this coming Saturday (5th) the differences between Advance and Week Of reservations will be irrelevant for Camp purposes on all our Dec 7-12 days. We just need to get all Campers your parking spots for Camp days.
--> On Tuesday afternoon (Dec 01), Mt Bachelor issued a second pool of "Advance" reservations all the way until the end of December. This was called "rolling inventory release" by the mountain. Whatever the name, nearly all spots on all newly-opened days were snatched up within 90 minutes. As of Tuesday, Dec 1 in media interviews the mountain maintained that they still have not issued all parking spots to be available for any winter day. XC Oregon believes that to be true. There will be more parking released for every day from Dec 7 to 12th. The problem is that no one knows when those releases will happen.
--> The trick going forward in terms of our Fall Camp days at Mt Bachelor is for every Camper that needs parking to keep your eyes and ears open throughout every day (at least 7am - 7pm) to spot newly-released batches of parking. XC Oregon will also keep eyes and ears open. All registered Campers will get an email blast as fast as we can send one out. Note that it is entirely possible to recruit friends and family to help you get a parking spot. An unfortunate aspect of the parking system is that you can literally put any name and license plate number on reservations (you can edit the license later, the name is not material). You just have to have an email address to link the reservation to. So anyone, anywhere could make a reservation for you and email you the necessary confirmation.
--> Here's the Mt Bachelor parking reservation page to keep hammering until you get what you need:
--> More background info if you want to read it below.
--> The Advance system was set up such that any human -- with a season or multi-day pass or not -- could book 7 days worth of Advance Reservations at any point throughout the winter. Because the Advance system was so open-ended on who could lock up spots, most high traffic days are already filled months into the winter. PLEASE DO NOT PANIC. All that has happened is just the Advanced reservation allocation for a given day (say a given Saturday in December or January ) is "filled". In reality, the only thing that filled is the Advance allocation (for sake of argument, let's say 30% of the parking Mt Bachelor is ultimately going to offer on that day). Once you get 8 days out from that Saturday (so the Saturday before your target Saturday), a whole new allocation (the XC Oregon guess is 60-70%) opens up in the form of "Week Of" reservations.
---> Advance Reservations were set up for long term planning (say a family coming from out-of-state in March). But for every day of the season, Mt Bachelor will release "Week Of" reservations on a rolling basis. Every day from here on out opens up the next 7 days of the winter. The "Week of" allocation is a bigger and additional pool of parking reservation spots seven days than "Advance" reservations. "Week Of" reservations are what most skiers want to aim for. On lower volume days, it'll be easy to snag a "Week Of" reservation up to minutes before you hop in the car to go to the mountain.
--> If you are attending the Fall Camp or really, really, really want to ski on any particular day (yes, even weekends and holidays) and you did not or could not make an Advance reservation -- DO NOT PANIC. You will very likely be able to get a reservation for any upcoming day once the system enters the "Week Of" window ahead of that given day. The week of window begins at 7am PST exactly 7 days prior to your target day. So -- for example -- if you need a reservation for Fall Camp on Friday, December 11 .... your "Week Of" parking reservation window opens up to the universe at 7am PST on Friday, December 4. Just go on your device, load up mtbachelor.com, and you should be able to find PLENTY OF FREE PARKING SPACE for that selected day that was previously unavailable. Here's the link: https://www.mtbachelor.com/plan-your-trip/getting-here/parking-reservations
--> "Week of" reservations are entirely separate of "Advance" reservations in what every human is allowed. So if you have seven Advance reservation spots held in February/March and you make a couple "Week Of" reservations in December -- those December "Week Of" reservations are totally different allocations. So in theory, once the season starts, a single person could hold at any given instant 14 days of total parking reservations between the two systems.
--> Note that you can modify your reservation in terms of the car license at any time. So if you aren't sure someone is going up with you or which car you are using, don't worry about that right now. Just book a spot with your known info and change details to fit later. If you will have a rental car, just make up a car license plate for the time being.
--> The ParkWhiz app can be downloaded to phones now and some folks already find it handy for managing reservations instead of worrying about paper printouts. Fair Warning: Other folks are not finding the app to be so handy.
--> Do NOT freak out about the time posted on the reservation system (usually appears as 9am). You are allowed to check in to the Mt B parking lots starting at 7am (you have to scan a smart phone or paper print out with your reservation info, there will almost certainly be car line-ups on busy days and -- no -- it will not be fun on windy/snowy days to stick your arm/head out of the car window). No, you apparently cannot ski earlier than that (sorry dawn patrol folks). You have to check out latest by 6pm or two hours after a special event. We are guessing they will actually close the gate on both ends of the day, but that's just a guess.
--> When you make Mt Bachelor parking reservations, just ignore the street address and map you see on the booking page. Mt Bachelor parking reservations can be used at whatever lots are open on the day you visit. The ParkWhiz system is more familiar with city or event parking which is fixed to a given location -- not so much for a ski resort in the middle of a National Forest.
--> Some reservation days will offer Nordic options for Advance and/or Week Of reservations. Other days will not. Do NOT worry about this. Just make any free reservation you can get when it is available. The reality is that difference between "Nordic" and "alpine" parking in the virtual parking world is maybe 100m walk. But in the real world, XC Oregon seriously doubts that you won't be able to park on the Nordic side of the parking lot regardless of what type of reservation you made. But even if they end up enforcing the difference, it's not going to be a hardship.
--> Unless you really love forking over extra cash, there should never be a situation this entire season where you actually need to pay $40 for reserved parking. If you want to just because you can, by all means (we'll mention right here that XC Oregon is a non-profit and new donors are always appreciated :-). But everyone should be able to navigate at least the "Week Of" parking reservation system so that you can get a parking reservation for every day of the winter -- at least if you plan 5-7 days in advance and follow steps above once everything is functional.