The Mount Shasta Ski Park ended its 2010-2011 season on Sunday in a year that saw some of the best snow and attendance ever, but was marred by the death of snowboarder Alex Gautreaux.

The Mount Shasta Ski Park ended its 2010-2011 season on Sunday in a year that saw some of the best snow and attendance ever, but was marred by the death of snowboarder Alex Gautreaux.

“We had extreme highs and lows,” said co-owner Chuck Young. “We had the best single day ever on New Year’s Eve and an extreme low with Alex’s death.”

Twenty-three year old Alex Gautreaux died in February snowboarding in deep powder off the Coyote lift. The search involved dozens of rescue personnel and Ski Park staff combing the mountain over several days.

“We thank the public for their support and our staff for their commitment and strength,” Young said. “They were there for us in our highest high and our lowest low. That’s the strength of our ski park community.”

Marketing manager Jim Mullins said the record snowfall was a double edged sword. The Ski Park had the most snow ever recorded with over 200 inches at the top of Coyote.

“We had the earliest opening ever on December 7 and the longest season with the closing on Easter weekend,” Mullins said. “The problem was the there was too much snow in the spring. Conditions were great, but the weather reports kept people from coming up.”

Mullins thanked the staff for keeping the Park accessible.

“The staff kept the Park open under extreme weather conditions,” Mullins said. “Our whole staff pulled together.”

Despite the continuous storms that made for great skiing but difficult driving conditions, Young said the Park had a good year attendance wise.

“It was one of our best ever. We had a whole lot of new people coming to the Park. We had a 200 percent increase in our two-for-one learn to ski and board program. Over 1,000 people took advantage of our spring season pass offer,” Young said. “A key indicator for a resort is new people coming into the sport. That’s a sign of a very healthy Mt. Shasta Ski Park.”

Mullins noted that the Park had many new events this year including fireworks on New Year’s Eve, live music in the lounge, base area terrain park competitions and the Slide, Ride, Run, Glide.

“We updated all the run information signs on the mountain consistent with our green policies by using recycled snowboards,” Mullins said.

The Park began a comprehensive recycling program two years ago and Mullins said it has been a great success.
“Plastic recycling has increased 200 fold,” Mullins said. “The recycling money is donated to Shasta Disabled Sports.”

Yoj supervises the recycling program, gathering items not only from the lodge area but from all over the mountain on skis, said glass recycling is up 30 percent.

“It is the concerted effort and cooperation of our customers that makes our recycling program such a great success,” Yoj said.

Young said changes to the Park for next year include expanding the lodge at the lounge area, creating a conference room and the possibility of a solar system to offset usage.

“We spend all summer long doing general maintenance,” Young said.

Mullins said one thing that will not change is the price for next year’s season passes; they will stay the same as they have for several years. There are many levels of passes from children to seniors to families. The reduced rate passes are available until July 31.

“I can’t wait for next year,” Mullins said.

For more information on the Mt. Shasta Ski Park, visit the website at www.skipark.com.