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Ski lodge expansion stays on track

How's the fundraiser going for Mt. Ashland's lodge expansion? We skiers (and boarders, too) are eager for a little more legroom when we return to the mountain, and I think the work is supposed to be done by the start of next season.

— Tom T., Medford

You are correct, Tom. The plan is to have the work done by the time the snow begins falling in earnest in the coming winter. And things are looking good for that to happen, according to Hiram Towle, general manager for the Mt. Ashland Ski Area.

Towle tells us the fundraising effort is nearing the $1 million mark — the goal is $1.4 million — and requests for proposal have gone out. Three contractors are bidding on the project, with a bid deadline of May 24.

In case anyone was stuck in a snowdrift and missed the news, Mt. Ashland is proposing to expand the lodge's indoor space by 1,000 square feet, move the interior staircase out of the center of the lodge to create more open space, relocate the rental shop to the lodge basement and lockers to the current rental shop site, replace the roof and move the cafe area farther away from the main entrance.

Towle says once the fundraising hits $1 million, which he hopes will be soon, the work can begin in earnest. Fundraising will continue while the work begins, with all parties focused on finishing before the traditional opening date of early December. Towle adds the start of the work still requires U.S. Forest Service and county approvals, but said he doesn't anticipate issues with those.

The fundraising effort got its big lift from a $500,000 matching grant from the Sid and Karen DeBoer Foundation. Tom, if you want to ensure that match is met — along with the overall goal of $1.4 million — you can pitch in at www.mtashland.com/2017-lodge-improvements. Then next winter, you can stretch out in the expanded lodge and admire the handiwork.

— Send questions to “Since You Asked,” Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@mailtribune.com. We’re sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.