Small holiday opening for Mt. Ashland; still waiting for more snow

Mt. Ashland, Ore.– For many winter sports enthusiasts in Southern Oregon and Northern California, any excuse to get up to the mountain is fair game – especially at this time of the year.

Mt. Ashland Ski Area, which after having to delay it’s opening day on December 9th due to lack of snow, is doing it’s best to provide for all the snow-hungry visitors with smaller events meant to satisfy.

“We just really wanted to have another preseason party,” said Mt. Ashland General Manager Hiram Towle. “Without having enough snow to get fully open, people just really want to get up on their mountain especially coming into the holidays.”

Though no lifts were open, die-hard skiers and boarders and even some sledders hiked around to enjoy the snow and sun. The terrain park crew even built jumps and rails for the more advanced and adventurous. But no matter the skill level, everyone who came out seemed to relish being on the snow.

“It’s about keeping the stoke going. I mean you get people that get so excited about the ski season and as it approaches they’re just champing at the bit to get out there,” said Towle.

After the successful Snow Stomp which brought people to the mountain even when there was little snow, Mt. Ashland management wanted to continue having these types of events until the heavy snow comes. No one is sure when that will be citing Mother Nature as the one who will ultimately decide when the time is right. Until then, people that came to the mountain are enjoying what they have.

“It’s good to be getting some snow up here and the park crew is awesome for dragging stuff up here and setting up a park for us,” said Gracie Bales, a member of the Ashland High School snowboard team. For them it’s been tough not having a lot to practice with, but the team is optimistic and happy to have at least some snow to work with.

One young snowboarder whose grown up in Ashland says he’s been coming to the mountain since he was little. No matter how much snow there is.

“We’ve been snowboarding since I was probably like five on this mountain,” said Hap Snyder. “I know this mountain better than anything. This is like my home.”

This event was also a chance for the lodge to show off it’s new improvements made in the off season. Some of the renovations included fixing the roof, putting covers over outdoor decks and expanding the locker rooms. Overall the whole project is estimated to have cost about $1.7 million.

Still what is on most everyone’s minds is getting more snow.

“Pretty much any day we get enough snow that we can spin the lifts that’s what we’ll do,” said Towle. “Even if it’s a partial opening much like today, even if we can just get combs or winds we’ll push to get this place open.”

And once it’s open, in the words of one young visitor, everyone can start “shreddin the gnar.”

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