Mount Ashland ski area will open its slopes for skiing and snowboarding Friday, its earliest opening since 2002.

Mount Ashland ski area will open its slopes for skiing and snowboarding Friday, its earliest opening since 2002.

The ski area received 21 inches of new snow over the weekend, bringing the base total to 36 inches at the lodge.

More snow is expected over the next few days, ski managers said in a press release. If the mountain receives another 10 to 15 inches of snow by Friday, all four lifts will be open, they said.

The earliest Mount Ashland has opened was Nov. 30 in 2002. Last year it opened Dec. 17 and the year before that Dec. 20. The average opening day is Dec. 13.

The Mount Ashland staff will set up boundary ropes and trail signs over the next few days. The rental, retail, ski school and food and beverage services will be in full operation Friday.

— Staff reports