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As It Was: Skiers Install Portable Rope Tow at Crater Lake

Snow skiing has always been a popular sport in Southern Oregon.

In the 1950s, skiers paid five-dollar dues to join the Rogue Snowmen Ski Club.  Members had access to a portable rope tow installed and uninstalled on weekends at Crater Lake during snow season.

Barbara Hanel and her husband, Jack, were early members of the club.  Barbara said the park required the club to bury the motor during the week when it wasn’t being used, and the next weekend dig it up from six feet of snow.  The park allowed them to keep the bull wheel at the top of the hill, but someone had to carry the rope up each week, while other club members packed down the run.  By mid-afternoon, they had to take it apart.  They did this for three weeks and then traveled either to Mount Hood or Mount Rose to use a real lift.

Bob Matthews, owner of the Rogue Ski Shop, described the Rogue Snowmen as a “bunch of dreamers” who eventually helped create the Mount Ashland ski area.

Kempner, Ken. "This is our Mountain: The Mt. Ashland Ski Patrol." researchgate.net, ResearchGate, Feb. 2015, https://www.researchgate.net/.Ski./This-is-Our-Mountain-The-Mt-Ashland-Ski-Patr. Accessed 15 Oct. 2017; “About Mt. Ashland Ski Patrol." Mt. Ashland Ski Patrol.org, Word Press, www.mtashlandskipatrol.org/2016/03/16/about/. Accessed 16 Oct. 2017.

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Luana (Loffer) Corbin graduated from Southern Oregon College, majoring in Elementary Education.  The summer after graduation she was hired to teach at Ruch Elementary, where she taught for 32 years. After retiring, Corbin worked for Lifetouch School Photography and then returned to Ruch as an aide helping with reading instruction and at the library.  More recently, she has volunteered at South Medford High.