Mt Ashland Gearing Up For Snow Season: Getting Started On The Slopes

Skiing needs 24 to 30 inches of snow on the ground before skiers can navigate the slopes but the Mt Ashland website confirms that there have been zero inches during the last week. Because of this, the start of their winter season will be delayed, but the general manager of the ski hill- Andrew Gast, has confirmed that- other than the snow, everything else is primed to start off the season.

Historically, Mt Ashland has different starts to the season annually which is planned to start after Christmas, but in almost a third of the past years, it has only been able to start the season in January because of the delay in the snowfalls. Celebrating their 60th anniversary on January 11, Gast indicated that the crew plans to hold a party to celebrate this milestone if the hill is open. But this will be delayed if the snow is late.

Implementing a $50,000 Travel Oregon grant to put a shuttle service in place, Mt Ashland will have minibuses operating from Ashland up the ski slope by the start of the season. Ensconced within the magnificent Siskiyou and Cascade Mountains, this snowfield has got many generations hooked on the opportunity to escape the daily grind in winter, meeting new friends keen to share the adventure.


For newbies to Mt Ashland, there’s a few things that they need to know to get started:


Mt. Ashland Ski Area: Getting Started

Winter forest near Mt Ashland
Winter forest near Mt Ashland


Get To Know The Code

Endorsed by the National Ski Area’s Association, it is the responsibility of all skiers and snowboarders to familiarize themselves with the code, which includes:

  • Be in control at all times, ensuring you can come to a stop, and avoid other people and objects.
  • When getting going,  or merging into a trail, look uphill and yield to other skiers.
  • People in front of you have the right of way. Keep clear of them.
  • Don’t stop where you could obstruct a trail, or where you are not visible from above.
  • Scrutinize posted signs and warnings, and stay out of closed areas and off closed trails.
  • Understand how to load, ride, and unload safely before using a lift.
  • Use mechanisms that help prevent equipment from running away.


Have Reasonable Expectations

Like learning to swim, learning to ski, snowboard, or ride takes time. Don’t expect to be ready for the deep end on your first visit. Learning programs are offered at Mt Ashland and as you gain proficiency, you also gain confidence- and that’s when things become more fun.


Clothes and Accessories

Dressing in layers allows your body to adjust to the constantly changing temperature. Don’t wear cotton in the mountains as a base layer or anywhere else, and some tips will help keep you warm and comfortable:

A base underwear layer made from synthetic materials such as polypropylene feels good next to the skin, dries fast, and absorbs sweat- keeping you warm by routing moisture away from your skin.

  • Water-resistant pants are an essential item.
  • Wear a turtleneck sweater and cover with a water-resistant parka or jacket.
  • Only wear one pair of warm socks- synthetic is best.
  • Hats or headgear manufactured from one of the many new fabrics that are wind and water-resistant are worn because 60 percent of heat loss is via the head.
  • Mittens are preferred by people who get cold easily, but gloves or mittens should be waterproof.
  • Goggles are worn to provide facial warmth as well as improved vision, or wear sunglasses for protection from the sun.


Prepare your Vehicle

The access road to Mt Ashland is plowed and graded by the Oregon Department of Transportation but after the road has been plowed, new snow can fall. Cars and other vehicles must have studded or winter tires fitted, with chains in the vehicle, to use when necessary.


Physical Fitness Levels

At the end of day one on the mountain, many people discover sore muscles they didn’t even know existed. Start a fitness program before learning to ski or snowboard, and before skiing allow some time to stretch, especially the back and legs. Drinking lots of water in higher elevations maintains hydration levels, helping the body to adjust to the change in climate. A good sleep and a good breakfast are also highly recommended.


Lessons From Pros

Saving time, energy, and frustration, learning from a trained professional rather than a friend with good intentions who offers to teach you to ski or snowboard. Trained instructors teach in one lesson what a friend can show you in 5 lessons, and Mt Ashland offers MyTurn packages for beginners and Next Step packages to learn at your own convenience.


Helpful tips

  • Get one of the Trail Maps available at the mountain.
  • Use at least SPF 15 sunscreen and apply lip balm.
  • Bring extra clothes to change into after skiing, and because the main lodge only has a limited number of day lockers, bring a  backpack for those extra clothes & supplies.
  • Take ID if you will be renting equipment.
  • Mt Ashland has a small shop in case you forget something.


Mt Ashland’s Andrew Gast believes there will be a good chunk of snow falling after Christmas, and they are ready for skiers and snowboarders to do all the stuff that happens on the mountain, including night skiing. Staff are on a break at the moment, waiting for more snow. Updates on the winter season opening date- when the snow is deep enough, can be found on the Mt Ashland Facebook page.


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