Mt. Ashland will open Sunday, Dec. 4 — nearly a week ahead of schedule — the ski area announced today.

The ski area previously set Dec. 10 as this season's opening date but opted to move forward after another 4 inches of snow fell Tuesday night, and forecasts call for more snow ahead, General Manager Hiram Towle said.

Towle described the logistics to open ahead of schedule as a "scramble." 

The lower portion of the mountain currently has 26 to 28 inches of snow, which is "the lower end" of snowfall needed to open, according to Towle, who noted that the mountain ski patrol has been out to scout the area.

Towle said opening Saturday wasn't an option because Dec. 3 is slated for staff training and orientation.

Starting Sunday, the cafe, bar, shop and lessons will all be available, but Towle said there's not yet enough snow on the upper portion of the mountain.

The Ariel lift will remain closed, and ski officials are advising that there may be exposed rocks and hazards at intermediate and advanced Windsor sections, but lower terrain near the Comer and Sonnet lifts will have coverage typical of mid-winter.

Starting Sunday, the ski area will operate on its regular five-day schedule, meaning the area will be closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays. The ski area will be open seven days a week during the winter holiday break, between Dec. 19 and Jan. 2.

Pass holders who want to skip the line opening day can get their pictures taken at Mt. Ashland's business office, 693 Washington St., Ashland.

On Sunday, the ski area will hold a "Day Onesie" promotion, in which skiers wearing a one-piece ski outfit or costume will be offered lift tickets at the discounted rate of $25. Normal weekend rates are $49 for adults, $39 for youths ages 7 to 12 and free for children and seniors.

— Reach reporter Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or nmorgan@mailtribune.com. Follow him on Twitter at @MTCrimeBeat.