Mt. Ashland opens to blue skies

Blue skies and groomed runs greeted skiers and snowboarders on opening day at Mt. Ashland Ski Area.

The mountain opened for the season at 9 a.m. today. All lifts are operating and reports at show the snow pack at 24 to 53 inches. Eleven runs are groomed and ungroomed areas feature hard-packed snow.

About two dozen eager winter sports aficionados were in line at this morning's opening, according to those on the scene. The front parking lot was about three-quarters full by midmorning, but the back lot was not in use.

"It filled up quick," said Rick Saul, development director for the Mt. Ashland Ski Area.

Mt. Ashland Ski Road had spots of ice and frost on shady corners, the Oregon Department of Transportation reported on While the slopes are above the cloud line, fog was reported on the drive up this morning.

The ski area usually opens between Dec. 12 and 18. There have been only four openings during the first week of December since 2000, operators report.

Last winter, the season was particularly short — just 72 days — because of a lack of snow, a spate of high winds and a power outage.

— Staff reports

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