|Mt. Ashland Ski Area / NEWS
When will Mt. Ashland open?
We are ready to operate as soon as we receive sufficient snowfall. Our average opening day is December 10th.
Every storm that arrives at the area is unique in terms of temperature and snow moisture content. Sometimes the preseason storms can produce large amounts of snow, but if the temperature is cold during these storms the snow will have low moisture content. As these cold snowflakes fall they trap a lot of air in the blanket of snow that covers the mountain. After we run our grooming machines over the snow surface the weight of the machines forces the release of the trapped air. In this situation it is common that 18 inches of snow can pack down to six or seven inches of snow. It is best in the early season to receive warmer storms that produce wet, heavy snow that packs down well. We are able to build a substantive base much quicker when we receive wet snow.
Therefore, there is no exact quantity of snow we can announce that we need to open. We simply need enough snow to cover the natural obstacles on the runs. Often in the early part of the season, we will state that “early season conditions exist” which means that most obstacles are covered but skiers and riders need to ski with caution.
Once we anticipate that we will have enough snow to open it takes 48 hours to actually open the area. During that time we notify our employees, many of whom have other part- time jobs. We also set up the area boundary lines and mountain signage; install the tower pads; order the café food; groom the runs and build loading and unloading ramps at the lifts.
Fortunately, Mt. Ashland has the second highest base elevation in the state of Oregon at 6,338 feet and our higher elevation means we receive snow when other lower lying ski areas might receive rain or a rain-snow mix. Our elevation at the top of the mountain is 7,533 feet. Mt. Ashland’s ski runs were constructed on the north side of the mountain, which allows the ski area to hold onto the snow that does fall.
Mt. Ashland averages approximately 280 accumulative inches of snowfall a year. Last season our snowpack peaked on February 26th with 98 inches at the lodge and 133 inches at the base of the bowl.
To view Mt. Ashland’s operating schedule, click here.