ashland.news
February 22, 2024

‘He really cared about our mountain’: Mt. Ashland supervisor remembered for skill, dedication

Mt. Ashland Ski Area grooming supervisor Bill Archer, who died suddenly Dec. 21, is being remembered for his devotion to the mountain and the wisdom he left behind for his workers. A crowdfunding campaign for his wife and daughter has raised nearly $32,000 of a $50,000 goal. Submitted photo via Mt. Ashland Ski Area
January 18, 2024

Bill Archer, 56, survived by a wife and daughter

By Nick Morgan, Rogue Valley Times

Mt. Ashland Ski Area grooming supervisor Bill Archer is being remembered for his love of the ski area, his devotion to his workers and the wisdom he left behind.

Archer, 56, died suddenly Dec. 21, and a massive outpouring of support has followed. A GoFundMe crowdfunding campaign supporting Archer’s wife and daughter had amassed nearly $32,000 as of Thursday afternoon. 

Doug Volk, director of mountain operations at the ski area, said he’s been working with Archer off-and-on since at least the early 2000s. Volk, when reached by phone shortly after Archer’s death, said he was still processing the sudden loss.

“I’m still digesting it — we were pretty darn close,” Volk said.

He described Volk as “just a good guy,” and said they enjoyed working together.

“We both had a love of this mountain,” Volk said.

Archer moved on from Mt. Ashland in the 2000s for “about a decade or so, probably a little longer than that,” Volk said, adding that Archer returned part-time a few years ago.

Last year, Volk handpicked Archer to be grooming supervisor leading a team of five full-time groomers. Because of the steepness of Mt. Ashland, Volk said that keeping the mountain well-groomed requires special skills.

“He’s seen the good years, the bad years … he knew what to expect and when to expect it,” Volk said. “You gotta know what you’re doing up here.”

Volk said that in addition to his devotion to the mountain, Archer “cared very much about the crew too.”

“He wasn’t just a machine operator,” Volk said.

Mt. Ashland has picked a successor from their team of groomers to fill Archer’s shoes, but Volk said he’s grateful Archer could share his wisdom. 

“It was good to have him up here passing along his institutional knowledge of the mountain,” Volk said. “He was a very personable fellow, a good teacher.”

“He really cared about our mountain,” Volk added.

Mt. Ashland Ski Area posted a link to the Archer family’s crowdfunding campaign to its Facebook page on Dec. 26. In addition to 12 shares, the post included an outpouring of positive comments about Archer’s work — including unsung some unsung feats.

“The nights people will never understand performing winch operations in a super steep blizzard,” one commenter said.

“He was a great groomer and kept the tiller steady,” another commenter posted. “I wish more of our riding public were able to thank him directly.”

As of Thursday, the crowdfunding campaign had raised $31,075 in 200 donations. To contribute, see gofundme.com/f/pay-tribute-to-bill-archer and support-kat-tess.

Related article: Obituary: Bill Archer

Reach reporter Nick Morgan at nmorgan@rv-times.com or 458-488-2036. This story first appeared in the Rogue Valley Times.

Bert Etling

Bert Etling

Bert Etling is the executive editor of Ashland.news. Email him at betling@ashland.news.

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