Skiers, riders flock to Mount Ashland Ski Area for big air and big smiles

It was all smiles to go along with some big air this weekend at Mount Ashland Ski Area. The day after Christmas proved to be a big ticket for the mountain and carried over throughout the weekend.

The event park opened on Sunday, with a few rails along the lower Juliet run.

The snow has warmed up a little bit, which is beneficial for the slopes with new storms on the horizon, said Mike Dadaos, Mount Ashland's special events manager. The few early storms this season were so cold that the powder wasn't sticking well, but that will change as the storms during the next three days bring in heavy and moist snow to blanket the mountain, Dadaos said.

According to the Mount Ashland snow report, snow levels are staying at 5,000 feet or higher. This morning, it was 32 degrees and snowing lightly, with winds at the lodge at 25 to 30 mph and 50 to 60 mph at the summit. Sunday night, four new inches of snow fell on top of a wet snow pack.

Three chair lifts have opened, with one on hold until the winds die down. Snow is on the roads from Bull Gap to the ski area, so drivers are urged to use caution on the road.

The snow pack is 35 inches at the base, and 42 inches around the top.

"You look around and see a lot of people out on the slopes and everyone I talk to is having some fun out there," Dadaos said. "I think the three days of storms combined will be really good and I think it will carry on through the Christmas break, especially with some more snow. It's really a good start for the year."

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