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Saul to leave Mt. Ashland Ski Area

Development director is second top manager to depart; ski area is having an organizational review
 Posted: 2:00 AM May 23, 2014

Mt. Ashland Ski Area Development Director Rick Saul is leaving the ski area at the end of this month, just a few weeks after the ski area eliminated the position of general manager, which had been held by Kim Clark.

In the wake of Clark's departure, Saul had been appointed to serve as interim executive director while the Mt. Ashland Association board of directors searched for a person to fill the newly created position of executive director.

Saul said this week he is leaving his job with the ski area voluntarily and it was a personal choice.

"It's been a good run. I've had a wonderful experience at Mt. Ashland. I'm looking forward to doing something new," said Saul, who has been with the ski area since 1999.

Clark had worked for the ski area since 2007.

Saul previously served as the marketing manager before becoming development director and then stepping into the interim executive director role.

Saul declined to talk more about his reasons for leaving.

The ski area is in the midst of a year-long organizational review and strategic planning process after it was unable to open over the winter due to a lack of snow. It has taken out a $750,000 loan from the Small Business Administration to stay afloat.

Board member Alan DeBoer said Saul has been an asset to the ski area.

"Rick has offered to volunteer and help in the future. He's looking to go a different direction," DeBoer said. "We have the utmost respect for him."

DeBoer said he has confidence in the remaining staff to carry on during the search for an executive director. The Mt. Ashland Association is taking applications for the post, he said.

In the meantime, marketing and fundraising consultant Michael Stringer is coming in on a consulting basis to take over Saul's development director duties, DeBoer said.

A past development director for the Southern Oregon Land Conservancy, Stringer is credited with leading that organization's fundraising efforts and doubling revenue from donors.

DeBoer has said the nonprofit ski area must run more like a nonprofit.

"We are moving to make sure the mountain is financially stable and able to handle bad years," he said.

A proposed expansion of the ski area remains tied up in court after years of litigation.

DeBoer said consultants for years have told the board the ski area must increase its number of ski runs for less experienced skiers or turn to fundraising every year to survive. The ski area is known for its steep terrain.

The board is continuing to take input from the public about the ski area's future. Part of that effort will include a survey of area users and residents, he said.

"We want to make sure the mountain is there 20 years from now," DeBoer said.

Staff reporter Vickie Aldous can be reached at 541-776-4486 or valdous@mailtribune.com. Follow her at www.twitter.com/VickieAldous.


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