The Mt. Ashland Association has eliminated its general manager position, held by Kim Clark since 2005, in an effort to reduce overhead and reorganize its business approach leading up to next ski season, a board member said.
The Mt. Ashland Ski Area is reeling after a season in which the snowpack was so dismal the area failed to open for the first time in its history and needs to restructure its business plan in order to stay a viable operation, said board member Alan DeBoer.
"We definitely need to change our business model. Kim's performance has been great, it's nothing to do with Kim at all. I think we just need to restructure how we do the mountain," DeBoer said. "We value all our employees and it was a hard decision, but we are a non-profit and we need to run it a little bit more like a non-profit."
DeBoer said the decision to eliminate the ski area's general manger position came out of a recent day-long retreat attended by the association's board members.
He said additional fundraising and grant writing will be a part of the association's approach to restructuring the management of the ski area.
"Kim has done a great job, but we have to change the direction of the mountain," DeBoer said.
Clark took over the role of general manager at the ski area in March 2006.
He came to Mt. Ashland from Arizona Snowbowl, where he served as manager of that resort for five years. Prior to Snowbowl, He was in management at Angel Fire Ski Resort in New Mexico and before that at Silver Mountain in Idaho.
When Clark accepted the job at Mt. Ashland, he replaced general manager Jeff Hanson, who retired from the position after 28 years to focus on the ski area's expansion project.
Clark, who has 40 years experience in the ski industry, won the job out of about 70 applicants and was lauded for his knowledge concerning the management and expansion of ski areas.
Clark did not respond to a phone message seeking comment.
Rick Saul, development director and former marketing director, will be interim executive director while the association conducts a search for an executive director.
DeBoer said the board hasn't decided whether the executive director position will be seasonal or full-time.
"We don't know at this point, I think we're looking to see what response we have to that position and who responds," he said.
In a nutshell, DeBoer said, "we're trying to cut all unnecessary spending. ... We're making some hard decisions to ensure the success of the mountain for all of Southern Oregon."
The association will continue to operate the concessions at Howard Prairie Resort for Jackson County, he said.