Vertical feet, number of lifts, and average annual snowfall are typically what we look for in a ski area, but the terrain should not be your only focus. You can get just as stoked on the culture, heritage, and environment that keeps you coming back for more than fresh turns. Mt. Ashland, who celebrated their 50th year anniversary in 2015, is culturally and environmentally rich with close proximity to Ashland and the Siskiyou Wilderness respectively. In summer 2016, Mt. Ashland hosted a bioblitz day in celebration of the National Geographic’s Every Kid in Park program where fourth graders were invited to find and identify as many species as possible in a specific area over a short period of time. Local scientists, park rangers, schools, and businesses participated in the event to educate the next generation about one of the most biodiverse regions in the world that Mt. Ashland calls home. During the three slope care days Mt. Ashland hosts in the summer, volunteers learn about the ski area’s erosion control and watershed management practices and how they affect wildlife habitat and the City of Ashland’s water source. The Environmental Committee and mountain ops teams are working on a formal interpretation plan in collaboration with the local Forest Service, students from Southern Oregon University, and local nonprofits for on-slope interpretation as well as in the renovated lodge as the ski area transitions to year-round operations.