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Mt. Ashland might open this weekend

Skis on, fingers crossed.

With a foot or more of new snow expected to fall over the Siskiyous, Mt. Ashland Ski Area could open for business as early as Saturday, officials said.

"We think we've got a really good shot at making the opening," Mt. Ashland General Manager Hiram Towle said, adding the mountain won't make the official decision until Thursday. For several weeks it's targeted Dec. 12 as opening day.

The National Weather Service said Wednesday that 12 to 16 inches could fall on the Siskiyou Summit, which has an elevation of 4,310 feet, by Sunday. The top of Mount Ashland, at an elevation of 7,533 feet, could get up to 3 feet of snow.

That's thanks to a wet storm that's also expected to drop more than 3 inches of rain in Medford by Sunday, according to the National Weather Service.

Towle said ski patrols will have to gauge the smoothness and safety of each ski run after the snow is on the ground. Either way, he said, everyone working on the mountain is ready to go. Food's been ordered, the lodge has been stocked and staff has been trained.

"Everybody's champing at the bit," he said.