Nonprofit’s general manager of eight years headed to Montana ski area
By Lee Juillerat
“I could never imagine leaving this magical place, but Bridger offers an opportunity I couldn’t pass up,” Towle said of leaving Mt. Ashland and Southern Oregon, noting, “It’s been some of the best years of our family’s life.” And, as he added with a lighthearted chuckle, “We felt at home from the moment we opened the moving truck’s door when we arrived here.”
“Towle joined Mt. Ashland in 2014 and provided us with eight years of outstanding leadership,” the Mt. Ashland Association Board of Directors said in a statement. “His vision, guidance and community involvement transformed Mt. A into the successful mountain that we enjoy today. We will miss his daily ‘Hiram on the Hill’ reports that became synonymous with his presence on the mountain. Yet we wholeheartedly congratulate Hiram. He leaves us in a very robust financial position and with plenty of ‘stoke’ on the mountain.”
The board also noted, “With an experienced management team in place, we will continue to support Mt. A’s mission to provide and promote a quality experience in an alpine environment as we conduct a national search for a new general manager.”
Towle, likewise, expressed confidence in Mt. Ashland’s future, noting, “There is a stellar team in place.”
During his tenure, Towle said accomplishments include “investing in the infrastructure and putting money in the bank.” He also believes improvements and upgrades have reinvigorated Mt. Ashland skiers and riders, “not just at the ski area, but in the community.”
He believes challenges facing Mt. Ashland include providing enough seasonal staff to handle all phases of operations and providing housing, transportation and competitive wages. Another goal is continuing to create an atmosphere for employees and skiers and riders so that, “If there’s snow on the ground, they want to be here.”
Overall, Towle believes that since Mt. Ashland is a nonprofit operation, “Everybody takes a lot more ownership. Everybody owns it. It’s about the sport and the community. It wasn’t ‘my mountain.’ It was mine to shepherd.”
Officials at Bridger, the second largest nonprofit ski resort in the country (Bogus Basin outside of Boise is the largest), said they are looking forward to working with Towle, noting he has been involved in the ski industry for 20 years.
“Welcome to our community, Hiram and family,” Bridger officials said in a statement. “We hope you make good on your promise of endless powder days.”
Towle said he’s excited about Bridger because, “It has a reputation in the industry among skiers and riders. It has amazing terrain … It has that vibe of sharing the area with others.” In a prepared statement he explained, “I joined the ski industry to give back to the sport I love, and protect its purity and purpose that I saw being lost. I have learned without a doubt that areas like Bridger Bowl are the most important on the planet, providing affordable access to this life-changing sport. I am honored to join Bridger’s passionate alpine community and add to the ski area’s already stellar operation.”
In leaving Ashland and Southern Oregon, Towle said he and his family have appreciated the “quality of place, quality of people, the climate, the small, friendly, walkable community. I did my best to support and develop one of the best ski areas in the country.”
Email freelance writer Lee Juillerat at email@example.com.