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DailyTidings.com
  • Mt. Ashland Association seeks public input

    Prizes offered for answering questions in survey
  • The Mt. Ashland Association is asking the public to participate in a survey as it plans the future of the Mt. Ashland Ski Area over the next five years.
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  • The Mt. Ashland Association is asking the public to participate in a survey as it plans the future of the Mt. Ashland Ski Area over the next five years.
    "We're looking for public input. A survey is a way to gauge what's out there," said Alan DeBoer, a member of the Mt. Ashland Association Board of Directors that guides the nonprofit ski area.
    The Mt. Ashland Assocation has indicated the nonprofit will likely need to be more active with fundraising, and the survey asks whether respondents donate to other nonprofit organizations, such as the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and Jefferson Public Radio.
    The ski area was dealt a near-crippling blow this past winter when it was unable to open for the season due to a lack of snow. It took out a $750,000 Small Business Administration loan to stay afloat.
    DeBoer said the ski area still has money left from the loan.
    "We're watching our dollars closely," he said.
    Season pass holders were given the option of returning their passes as a donation to the ski area, or receiving a 50 percent discount on the purchase of a season pass for the coming winter.
    The survey asks people whether they plan to buy a season pass for the coming winter.
    It also gathers household data, such as whether there are children in the home, and information on where respondents live.
    The survey seeks information on how often people ski or snowboard at the Mt. Ashland Ski Area versus the Mt. Shasta Ski Park and Mt. Bachelor Ski Resort.
    Noticeably absent from the survey is a question about whether the ski area should continue its long battle to expand, although there is space for people to write in their own comments.
    "We're looking for comments from people," DeBoer said.
    The survey asks if the ski area's top priority for improvement should be "the mountain experience," the lodge, food service or the bar.
    For the next five years, it asks whether the ski area should prioritize increasing educational programs, upgrading existing facilities, increasing summer activities or something else.
    Respondents can also rate the ticket office, rentals, lessons, food service, the bar, lift operations, grooming, the ski shop and the ski patrol.
    Survey participants have a chance to win prizes that include $50 gift certificates to Porters Restaurant and Bar in Medford, ski and snowboard lessons, lift tickets and clothing.
    To take the survey, visit www.mtashland.com.
    Meanwhile, the Mt. Ashland Association has received about 34 applications for its newly created position of executive director/general manager, DeBoer said.
    The position of former General Manager Kim Clark was eliminated in May as the Mt. Ashland Association reorganized operations.
    Interim Development Director Micheal Stringer is working on fundraising efforts to complete the ski area's expanded parking lot. It was left unpaved last fall as winter weather approached.
    The ski area took on $440,000 worth of projects to expand the parking lot, widen existing runs and create a more gentle grade on its beginners' hill. The projects ended up costing significantly more than the $250,000 that was first estimated.
    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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