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Mt. Ashland to end 2017-18 season this weekend

Skiers and snowboarders can make their final runs of the 2017-18 season at the Mt. Ashland Ski Area this weekend.

The ski park will be open through Sunday, April 22, concluding as spring temperatures arrive.

High temperatures on the mountain are expected to reach the mid- to high-40s Saturday and Sunday, according to the National Weather Service. The mercury is then supposed to make a leap next week, with highs in the mid to upper 50s and mostly sunny skies.

Down in valleys west of the Cascades, including Medford, temperatures are expected to hit the low to mid 80s — about 15 to 20 degrees above normal — by the end of next week.

And the chances of another Oregon Spring Fakeout are looking pretty slim.

“It does appear we’re taking a definitive turn toward warmer spring weather,” meteorologist Brett Lutz said.

This upcoming pattern of shirt-sleeve weather is expected to endure through at least the middle of May.

Which is why Mt. Ashland officials believe this weekend is a perfect time to drop the curtain on the 2017-18 ski show.

“The snow is great right now, and with the sunny skies and fresh snow received this week, we expect an amazing ... stretch to finish the season strong,” Mt. Ashland General Manager Hiram Towle said in a prepared statement. “We need to go out in style, and this weekend looks to be much better than the next.”

On Sunday, the park will have been open 46 days during the season. The 2016-17 banner season, by comparison, saw the mountain open 90 days because of an abundance of snow. That said, the 23,457 visits recorded in March 2018 was nearly twice the 13,471 in March 2017.

“That’s larger than any single month last year, when we had a record year,” Towle said.

Ski area officials will celebrate the season’s end with special $25 lift tickets. On Sunday, riders can hit the slopes for free if they bring at least five cans of food, which will be donated to ACCESS.

“We hope to fill the place Saturday and Sunday,” Towle said. “Our final hurrah.”

Reach web editor Ryan Pfeil at rpfeil@rosebudmedia.com or at 541-776-4468.