It would seem the Mt. Ashland Ski Area just can't catch a break.
After a carefully planned expansion was stalled for years by opponents who filed a series of futile court challenges in an attempt to block the project, and two bad snow years that put the publicly owned resort on financial life support, Mt. Ashland is now poised to undertake a badly needed remodeling of the lodge. Fundraising is ahead of schedule, and the work is ready to proceed.
But first, the State Historical Preservation Officer must be satisfied that the lodge work won't have an adverse effect on the building's historical character.
We're all for preserving historic properties. But the lodge was built in 1964. It's a little hard to grasp the concept that a building constructed within the lifespan of the editorial board of this newspaper qualifies as historic. But there it is.
Much of the remodeling work will be internal. What will be visible from outside is the replacement of the shake roof with metal — a prudent move given the lodge's national forest location — building an entry structure and enclosing little-used exterior decks.
The required public comment period closes next week. After 30 days for the Forest Service to incorporate the comments, the SHPO could take up to another 30 days to approve an agreement, pushing the start of construction into late July. That's too long.
Both agencies should work to produce an agreement quickly, so work can be completed before the snow flies.