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No Storms Near: Mt. Ashland Lays Off Staff

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The snow-free January already closed the ski areas closest to the state line.  Now Mount Ashland operators have taken the extra step of laying off core staff.

The layoff, announced January 22nd, dates back to the previous Saturday.  Mount Ashland ski area opened for 13 days in December and January, after lack of snow kept it from opening at all the previous winter.

And like the previous winter, the snow just stopped around the first of the year.  Ski area operators last opened the slopes for business on January 5th.

But they are not giving up hope.  In a news release, General Manager Hiram Towle said he and his staff "hold out hope for snow and a strong finish to this season."  But the release says another storm could be two weeks away.

The snow-less winter of 2013-14 already forced the ski area to get a disaster loan from the Small Business Administration. 

90 miles to the south, Shasta Ski Park is also closed, awaiting more natural snow and cold temperatures.  Webcam pictures from both ski areas show very little snow, and a lot of bare earth and rocks.

Geoffrey Riley is a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism and has hosted the Jefferson Exchange on JPR since 2009. He's been a broadcaster in the Rogue Valley for more than 35 years, working in both television and radio.