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Reviving Part of Our Past

It has been exciting to launch our 60th anniversary “Elevate Mt. Ashland” vision, and with it the first new chairlift in over 30 years.  The Lithia Chairlift is more than just a new chair, it is the revival of our upper beginner terrain that we enjoyed for the first few decades of our history.  With the fanfare of our announcement calming, here are some more details about the Lithia Chairlift:

  • Replaces the former Poma lift- following nearly the same alignment.
  • Fixed grip, triple-seat chairs.
  • Five tower chairlift to be manufactured by SkyTrac.

The Lithia Chair will serve Beginner and Intermediate terrain.  From the lodge, skiers will access the lift by skiing down Aisle 1 to the loading area- near where the beacon park is now.  The short ride will end at the very top of the Sonnet slope, providing access to all trails that come off that hill in every direction.  The trails currently known as Lodge Poma (beginner) and Poma (intermediate) will now be able to be skied without having to go all the way to the Comer chair and without any hiking.  Additional beginner terrain that is already approved in the current master plan is also possible from the top of the Sonnet hill.  This project is a priority due to the need for a more well-rounded beginner program and learning progression for novice skiers and snowboarders.

This 1979 Mt. Ashland trail map shows the location of the former Poma lift, at the lower left corner with very similar alignment and locations of the new Lithia Chair:

Or, for another perspective here is our current trail map with a new red line showing an estimation of the Lithia Chair:
Starting work on the Lithia Chair is possible due to the largest gift in our history- $2 million from the Sid & Karen Deboer Foundation and an additional $500,000 from Sid & Karen Deboer.
Survey and engineering work is underway now.  Pending USFS review of engineered plans, construction will begin in summer 2024.
The Lithia name pays homage to the tourism roots of Ashland, when the local mineral springs drew visitors from around the country starting in the 1910s.  Many of our community’s favorite gathering places bare the name: Lithia Park, Lithia Plaza, and the historic Lithia Springs Hotel.  And who hasn’t taken a sip from the lithia water fountain on their first visit to Ashland?  Although a departure from the more common Shakespeare-themed names, we do have precedent for other names with the Comer Chairlift, Dan’s Run, Rodger’s Way, and others.
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