Mt. Ashland Ski Area opening maximizes winter fun with ‘Day Onesie’
It’s a mystery who first coined this phrase, “A bad day skiing beats a good day at work.” But people skiing at Mt. Ashland Ski Area on Saturday were encouraged to demonstrate how this winter pastime makes them feel — like happy little kids.
“It was a very successful first day,” said Hiram Towle, the ski area’s general manager.
The start of the season was dubbed “Day Onesie” and people wearing onesies received $25 tickets.
Normally, the weekend and holiday lift ticket price for adults is $64. Youths ages 7 to 12 can ride for $54. It’s free for children age 6 and younger as well as people age 70 and older.
About 100 people were wearing onesies to ski on opening day. Some of those playfully dressed skiers were fun-loving season pass holders, according to Towle.
It’s estimated that about 2,300 skiers total came to the ski area Saturday.
While the ski area is highly popular with locals there are a significant number of Californians who come to ski.
“They love the small mountain vibe with the big mountain terrain,” Towle noted.
Conditions include a base depth of 33 inches and a mix of packed powder surface.
There are six groomed trails available now and that number will rise once there is more snow.
Towle said in a press release earlier this week that skiers and riders “should expect early season conditions.” This means skiers need to be aware that some natural obstacles will be present on trails.
Easier terrain would be available on trails off of the Comer and Sonnet lifts, he said.
Lifts run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.https://content.jwplatform.com/videos/VVDeJIr9-SdqvUcKy.mp4
All services are available at the ski area this season: not only rentals and lessons but also shopping, both restaurants and the bar.
Masks are required in the lodge to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
“We hope people will help us accomplish that,” Towle said.
The free shuttle service also started Saturday from Ashland Hills Hotel, and will run hourly beginning at 7 a.m. on weekends and holidays. Shuttle seating is limited and provided first come, first served.
The ski area’s seven-day holiday schedule continues through Jan. 3. The entire ski season is expected to be 80 to 90 days long with the area open five days a week.
The start of the previous ski season was different. Opening day was on a Friday and limited to season pass holders. Only ski rental and ski school were operating, Towle remembered.
Even with fewer services and other COVID limitations, last season was a record-breaker with 106,000 visits to the ski area. An average year draws about 70,000 visits.
“Everybody has smiles on their faces,” Towle said. “That’s all we can ask for.”
Mt. Ashland is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit ski area owned and operated by the Mt. Ashland Association under a special use permit from the U.S. Forest Service. For details, visit mtashland.com