Guest ski and snowboard on Sunday, the last day of operation at Mt. Ashland. [Andy Atkinson Photo]

Season ends on a snowy note

Mt. Ashland's ski season ended on a high note Easter Sunday.

After some tough winters with low snowfall, the mountain was a skiers paradise with high snowfall. More visitors than normal came, and the ski resort had a half-million dollars more in revenue than budgeted.

The morning started out sunny on Sunday, but by the afternoon blizzard conditions sent many skiers scurrying for the comfort of the lodge.

Skiers were in a particularly festive mood Sunday, and Ashland resident Mick Reynolds attracted quite a buzz with his wild "Easter suit."

The red, white and blue suit with matching tie were emblazoned with vibrant snowflakes and reindeer.

"Having a great last day on Mt. Ashland, the last day" the 49-year-old said. "Showing some respect for Easter with my two-piece suit."

Reynold said it was a beautiful day for skiing.

"It turned into a complete blowout at the end of the day, a complete snowstorm," he said. "We're not barbecuing tonight, but we're having a good time."

Ashland resident Melissa Kahn was already buying season tickets for next year for herself and her children.

"We came up specifically because it's the last day," the 43-year-old mother said. "We've been up here a lot."

Though she's not sure whether next winter will have bountiful snow or dry conditions, Kahn said it was worth it to pay $299 for her season ticket and $30 for her kids.

"It's a gamble," she said. "It's an investment in the mountain."

Ashland resident Joe Mosley said Sunday was the first time he'd skied the mountain because he'd been tied up in a kitchen remodel during the winter.

"We've done 20 runs today," he said. "It was nicely groomed."

Mosley and his wife met years ago in the northern part of the state while working ski patrol. They found a couple of eggs that were hidden throughout the ski park.

They missed a golden egg, which contained a season pass that was hidden on a golden ski lift, which commemorated the 50th anniversary of the facility in 2014. Coincidentally Mt. Ashland was unable to open for the ski season in 2014 because of a lack of snow.

Other eggs offered gift cards and other treats for those lucky enough to find them, though the golden egg proved elusive.

"Several people took the lift before they found it," said Hiram Towle, general manager of ski resort.

Towle said Mt. Ashland stayed open 90 days this season compared to the average 80 days.

"We could have gone on longer, but the numbers taper off quite a bit," Towle said. "This is a bonus weekend."

It's also difficult to schedule more days because workers have to take down miles of boundary ropes along the runs.

As of Sunday, tons of snow was on the ground. At the top of the mountain, there was 186 inches and at the lower mountain 102 inches. Altogether, Mt. Ashland received 368 inches for the season.

With so much snow, Mt. Ashland saw 80,000 visitors this season compared to 70,000 in an average year, Towle said.

Close to $3 million in revenue has been brought in, much higher than the $2.5 million budgeted, he said.

This summer, work should begin on a lodge expansion that will also put the ski rental space underneath so it's more convenient for visitors, Towle said. Fund-raising continues to raise the $1.4 million for the remodel.

As the ski season comes to an end, the long hours keeping things going has been tiring for the workers, he said

"We're running on fumes, but finishing strong," Towle said.

— Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476 or Follow him on

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