Mount Ashland, Ore. — It’s been a season of ups and downs for Mount Ashland, and it’s only just begun. Though the mountain opened a week earlier than scheduled, it’s now dealing with some weather obstacles.
This is the third time this season it’s had to close for weather conditions. But employees say safety always has to come first.
Hiram Towle is the general manager for Mount Ashland. He said making the final call to close down for the day isn’t always easy, but necessary.
“Safety first,” Towle said.
That’s something Mount Ashland takes pride in.
“We don’t close down for convenience. If it’s raining and we have one person out there wanting to lap the lift, because it’s raining – we don’t close for those reasons. We close when it’s unsafe to operate,” Towle said.
Unsafe conditions aren’t limited to the mountain itself, the drive up the pass is also taken into consideration.
“As you can tell, it’s quite a beautiful day down here at 4,000 of elevation – but you get about 8 miles that way up the access road and you’re at about 6,500 feet of elevation. It’s a world of difference,” he said.
Difference and danger.
“It is the windiest point in the Siskiyou Mountain range right there. Parking lot happens to be the windiest point in the whole mountain, you can’t even make the judgment when you open the car door and it almost gets ripped out of your hands,” Towle said.
Prior to Friday’s closure, Mount Ashland closed for two days earlier in the season because of severe weather. Towle said sometimes, that’s just the gamble of the high-alpine environment.
“We get hit with weather up there, that’s the reason that it works most of the time. That’s the reason it doesn’t work some of the time,” Towle said.
This season alone, the mountain’s had more than 200 inches of snow fall. And snow pack? Over 100 inches for now.
“I don’t think anyone could complain one or two days to bad weather, because after all, it is that weather that brings the good stuff too,” Towle said.
Whether or not the mountain will be open this weekend is still being determined. Crews will monitor weather conditions and notify people as soon as possible. You can always find the most up to date information at mtashland.com
DISCLAIMER: The driver of the vehicle was not the person filming.
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