If you've been thinking about making a donation to the capital campaign to remodel the lodge at the Mt. Ashland Ski Area, now would be a good time to take the plunge.

Lithia Motors Chairman Sid DeBoer and his wife, Karen, have announced a $500,000 matching grant to the ski area. The Sid and Karen DeBoer Foundation gift will come through the Oregon Community Foundation.

The $1.4 million campaign aims to expand the ski area's lodge, adding 1,000 square feet of space by enclosing little-used decks, relocating the rental shop to the lodge basement, replacing the roof and rearranging the interior.

Donors already have contributed $90,000 to the project, which will be matched by the DeBoers' grant. That leaves plenty more to match additional gifts, and puts the campaign well on the way toward its goal.

The Southern Oregon community has steadily supported the ski area since its founding in 1964. In 1992, after three bad snow years in a row, then owner Harbor Properties was poised to close Mt. Ashland and move the lift equipment to other ski areas in the region. The community rallied to purchase the ski area to prevent its closure, raising $1.67 million and creating the nonprofit corporation that has operated the resort since.

The ski area is on its way to amassing enough reserves to carry it through future low-snow years, but the lodge renovation is needed to continue to attract new skiers and snowboarders. Donations to that effort are well worth it.