Despite high winds and thick fog, hundreds gathered on Mt. Ashland's slopes Saturday night to participate in the 43rd annual Bavarian night, a fundraiser for the ski patrol, the group in charge of emergency response on the mountain.

While the event was ultimately successful, the morning's conditions threatened to put a damper on the festivities before they even began.

"It was great that the weather improved throughout the day," says Ada Rivera, guest services manager for Mt. Ashland. "The morning was very windy and nasty; we had to close [the Ariel lift]. We weren't sure if we were going to be able to have the parade or fireworks." The torchlight parade and fireworks display is a traditional element of the affair &

as is a rather boisterous and rowdy atmosphere amongst the revelers, something the management made a point to damper down this year.

"We tried to set a family tone so that people can bring up their kids and the whole group can enjoy supporting the patrol," says Rivera. "We worked closely with Forest Service, Law Enforcement, Oregon Liquor Control Commission and we had paid security staff to make sure that everyone had safe, sane fun."

According to Rivera, the unofficial after-party that usually takes place in the parking lots behind the ski area after the official party in the lodge began to be the reason that some people were coming up on Bavarian night and that, as law enforcement agreed, needed to change.

Butch Merusi, a member of the Mt. Ashland Ski Patrol, says that this fundraiser, which consists of the sales for twilight lift tickets on the day of the event, accounts for around 75percent of the group's budget for the year. The Ski Patrol is a 501c3 and uses the money to fund training of volunteers and for advanced training of paid professional patrollers.

This year's estimated donation from Mt. Ashland, which itself became a non-profit in 1997 will be between $3,000 and $4,000.