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Mount Shasta Ski Park is on Board with Recycling

10/22/2015 02:41AM ● Published by Paul Boerger

In the Bag

November 2015
Story and Photos by Paul Boerger

The Mount Shasta Ski Park recycles, and the program’s one-man dynamo scours the receptacles around the lodge and on the mountain with unbounded enthusiasm and unbridled optimism.

His name is Yoj, also known as Craig Chase, and you will see him with his backpack and plastic trash bag skiing down the slopes with his precious cargo.

Yoj, of course, is backwards for joy. But for Yoj, it is more.

“Yoj is an ancient word for joy. As soon as I heard the word, I knew I wanted it for my name,” says Yoj,who lives up to his name with an ever-present smile and unflagging cheer.

For the last seven years, the park has recycled approximately 550 lbs. of plastic, 3,000 lbs. of glass and 250 lbs. of aluminum. It also recycles cardboard, compostable bar materials and cooking oil. The money collected from the recyclables is donated to several regional charities. The park’s commitment to going green has extended to halting its practice of passing out plastic rain ponchos during wet weather.

“We thank the skiers and snowboarders for using the recycling cans,” Yoj says. “I need to thank general manager Jason Young and mountain manager Richard Coots for having the heart and soul to create this program.”

Cans are located around the lodge area and at the top of the Douglas and Marmot lifts.

Yoj moved to Mount Shasta in 1997, and except for a couple of years, he has worked at the Ski Park every season. He has worked as a lift operator, bartender and pizza maker.

Yoj says it was “providence” that he got the recycling job.

“The owners, Chuck Young and Andy Aguilera, were aware of my landscaping maintenance business and recycling efforts in the city. My name came up at a managers’ meeting when the park decided to go green,” Yoj says. “I was at home and something, providence maybe, told me to go to the ski park. Richard Coots greeted me with, ‘Who told you about the job?’ ‘What job?,’ I thought, and they hired me to do the recycling. To this day, Richard thinks someone told me.” Yoj is more than enthusiastic about recycling.

“It’s the least we can do. It’s more than just important for the planet,” Yoj says. “It’s about keeping life as it is and moving forward.”

Yoj says the job has touched him personally in deep ways. “Being this close to Mount Shasta and near sacred Panther Springs has added tangible blessings to my life that are nearly indescribable,” Yoj says.

Yoj hopes his example will lead the way for young people to take up the green challenge.

“We need to encourage the younger generation to take the reins for the welfare of the planet,” Yoj says.

Aguilera is thankful for Yoj’s efforts. “Yoj is great,” Aguilera says. “He’s a character, but he fits in beautifully at the ski park.”

Mount Shasta Ski Park • www. skipark.com
Located off Hwy. 89 between the towns of Mount Shasta and
McCloud off Interstate 5
Corporate office: (530) 926-8600
Ski resort line: (530) 926-8610 (winter hours only)

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