By Associated Press • 

At Mount Ashland, skiers hope for snow this winter

ASHLAND — The ski area at Mount Ashland has some money to work with and some workers to staff the slopes. All it needs now is snow, which it didn't have a year ago when it failed to open for the first time in its history.

Leaders of the nonprofit ski area said the failure of the 2013-14 season might put its future in jeopardy. It has struggled through droughts and changes in ownership since it opened in 1964, but it never has gone a season without skiing.

In the spring, it took out a $750,000 Small Business Administration lifeline loan to stay afloat, the Ashland Daily Tidings reports.

The ski area also launched a $50,000 crowdfunding campaign using Indiegogo, a popular Internet fundraising site, to pay for improvements at the lodge, food service and bar, as well as staging events, such as concerts.

A Nov. 13 job fair was a success, and the area has about 150 employees ready to go, said Jamie Schectman, director of sales and marketing. Many of them are workers who have returned year after year and had to scramble last winter for other jobs.

“The sentiment of potential employees is cautious optimism,” he said. “Last year's not opening was the first time in 50 years that happened. If you're a statistician, that's a one-in-50 chance of that happening, or 2 percent.”

Mount Ashland's peak is at 7,533 feet. It saw moisture last year that didn't accumulate as snow because temperatures were warmer than usual and the hill is lower than ski areas in Northern California and those to the north in the Cascades.

As of Thursday, it reported a base of only 2-4 inches. But it has announced plans to be open five days a week this year and seven days a week during the Christmas and New Year holiday season.

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Information from: The Ashland Daily Tidings

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