Local businesses excited for ski season to begin this weekend

MEDFORD, Ore.– Ski season in Southern Oregon starts this weekend, with Mount Ashland and Mount Shasta set to open.

The board of directors of Mount Ashland said they’re excited for the mountain to open on schedule this year.

“I think it’s going to be a great start to the season,” Curt Burrill, president of the board of directors of Mt. Ashland said, “we’ve got good snow conditions, although it is still early season snow conditions. We’ll be open at 9 a.m. on Saturday.”

Mount Ashland will have some new features this season, including a “magic carpet” for its learning area.

The carpet will act like a conveyor belt, making it easier for skiers and snowboarders to go up the hill.

Burrill said, “it’s basically like a people-mover you would see in an airport where you get on and ride a conveyor to the top. It’s enclosed so you’re out of the weather during that ride up and it should just enhance the experience.”

The beginning of ski season also means stable income for businesses like Rogue Ski Shop in Medford.

Owner Bob Matthews said this season is off to a promising start.

“Right now it’s just nice to have it open and have a stable demand curve and people knowing they’re going to ski, wanting to ski and coming in and getting some stuff,” Matthews said.

Matthews said this year has been the second best pre-season in the past five years for his store.

He thinks people are more motivated to hit the slopes this year because the pandemic kept them inside during previous seasons.

Matthews said, “what matters the most for all of the ski businesses is that more snow falls gradually and get us up to that 50-60 inch base and get the whole mountain open with nice enough terrain and grooming where the majority of skiers are really happy.”

Mount Ashland is also offering $25 tickets for anyone that wears a onesie on opening day Saturday.

The mountain will start its 7 day a week schedule on December 15th.

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NBC5 News reporter Derek Strom is from Renton, Washington. He recently graduated from the Edward R. Murrow College of Communications at Washington State University with a degree in Broadcast News and a minor in Sports Management. He played in the drumline with the WSU marching band. These days, he plays the guitar and piano. Derek is a devoted fan of the Mariners, Seahawks, and Kraken.
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