A Lost Season For An Oregon Ski Area
Southern Oregon’s Mount Ashland announced Friday that it won’t open at all this season because of a lack of snow.
This is the first canceled season in the ski area's fifty-year history.
Skiers and snowboarders in Southern Oregon won’t be able to ride the chairlifts at Mount Ashland for even a single day this season.
This makes it the only major resort in Oregon or Washington not to open.
General Manager Kim Clark says there hasn’t been much good news during a season that was supposed to be Mount Ashland’s fiftieth.
“The U.S. Forest Service has done snow surveys since 1963, the year before we opened up on the mountain – and this is the lowest snowpack ever recorded,” said Clark.
A snowpack below 20 inches, and a warm forecast for March, led to the non-profit ski area’s final decision not to open.
Ordinarily, the mountain would support 130 paid staff and about 60 volunteers.
In contrast, the staff has been reduced to four -- each working only part-time.
For season-pass holders, Mount Ashland has offered two options: half off the price of next year’s pass, or a tax-deductible donation for the amount they paid.
But neither option will address the impact to local businesses.
One ski shop owner says he’s doing about 5 to 10 percent of his normal sales.
Copyright 2014 Oregon Public Broadcasting