Following a barrage of overnight snow, the Mt. Ashland Ski Area has announced it will kick off the ski year by opening two lifts Friday.
Fourteen inches of snow fell Wednesday night, bringing the base depth to 26 inches, allowing a "limited opening," said General Manager Hiram Towle.
The Comer and Sonnet lifts will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. this week, Towle said. No night skiing is planned this week.
Towle said the more advanced Windsor runs require "a lot of snow," but are close to being ready. Snow from Windsor was used to fortify other parts of the ski area.
"We needed that snow for the Comer ramp," Towle said.
Weather permitting, Windsor could open as early as next week, or even this weekend, but Towle said "it really depends on what comes in." The area will send out updates via text, its website and Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
"If it builds up enough, we'll jump right on it," Towle said. "I'm trying not to over-promise and under-deliver."
The Ariel chairlift that goes to the top of the mountain is generally the last to open due to winds that often scour new snow off the slopes.
More snow showers were in the forecast for overnight, with clearing expected today, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Mike Petrucelli.
"There might be a few (snow) showers in the morning (Friday)," Petrucelli says.
There's a chance some of the precipitation may turn into a rain-snow mix later in the weekend, according to Petrucelli, as a warmer air mass moves in Saturday evening. Snow levels are predicted to remain between 6,000 and 6,500 feet through Sunday.
"They'll still see mostly snow," Petrucelli said.
Towle said the open areas have some "really good snow" that's been plowed-in with snow groomers, and the ski patrol has been testing the runs.
"The reports we're getting is the powder is good," Towle said. "It's going to make the powder-hounds pretty happy."
Lift tickets will cost $25 opening day, and $20 for anyone wearing a one-piece garment as part of "Day Onesie."
— Reach reporter Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @MTCrimeBeat.