Little ski area needs helping hands, dollars

One of the things that help make the long, cold winters bearable in Northeast Oregon is easy access to affordable, family-oriented winter recreation.

At the top of that list for many people is Ferguson Ridge Ski Area. Dollar for dollar, the little ski area east of Joseph is one of the best investments the inhabitants of the Wallowa Valley have ever made.

Now in its 20th year of operation, "Fergi," as it is known to the locals, is at a turning point. Skyrocketing insurance rates, coupled with mechanical problems nearly did the ski area in last year. A core group of dedicated volunteers that is getting smaller and smaller is adding to Fergi's woes.

Ferguson Ridge has provided untold enjoyment to local residents at a time of the year when other options are severely limited. It would be a shame to lose this community jewel.

That probably isn't going to happen because so many people agree it is so important to the happiness and well being of youths and adults alike. Nevertheless, an infusion of helping hands and open pocketbooks would certainly help put Ferguson Ridge on a more solid footing.

The Eagle Cap Ski Club is inviting more members of the community to get involved in making sure that Fergi is around for years to come. The club will be hosting a potluck beginning at 2 p.m. Sunday at the ski area lodge to recruit new members, volunteers, and financial backers. If you're looking for a way to have fun and give your community a boost at the same time, Ferguson Ridge would be a great place to start. R.S.

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