Mt. Ashland's ski season off to a smooth start

About as many skiers and snowboarders flew down Mt. Ashland's slopes in this season's opening week as in the same period last year, an official said.

"We're holding about where we were last year, although today is a better day than 26th last year, because we had a huge storm on this day last year," Rick Saul, Mt. Ashland marketing director, said Friday.

The ski area opened Dec. 20, the same date as in 2007, and although all lifts are now open, two of the runs don't have enough snow to groom and are recommended for advanced skiers and boarders only, Saul said.

The Dream and Caliban runs have wind exposed areas at the top where snow remained thin as of Friday, but the ski area was awaiting another storm that could bring an additional three to five inches of powder overnight, he said.

"The base isn't building as quickly as we'd like. It's been kind of disappointing because we haven't got snow in the amount that was predicted. There have been three or four storms where they have predicted nine to 12 inches and we've gotten four to five," Saul said.

Still, Mt. Ashland saw a crowd of skiers and snowboarders hit the slopes Friday, he said.

"We have fresh snow just about everyday and we're seeing some pretty good numbers so we're very pleased with where we are right now."

The ski area doesn't release data on how many skiers or snowboarders visit the mountain until the end of the season.

Roads leading up to the mountain were easily drivable as of Friday afternoon, Saul said.

"Last year we had almost too much snow. It hampered accessibility to the ski area, but this year so far accessibly is good."

Twilight skiing began Friday and will be offered from 3 to 9 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays through March 20. Mt. Ashland will be open daily through Jan. 4.

Staff writer Hannah Guzik can be reached at 482-3456 ext. 226 or

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