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Windstorm prompts Monday Mt. Ashland closure

Ben Sharkey of Ashland makes turns on his snowboard down the Windsor chairline slope during opening day of Mt Ashland’s 2021-2022 season. High winds and potential blizzard conditions prompted a closure on the mountain Jan. 3. [Mail Tribune file photo / Andy Atkinson]

Due to winds in excess of 50 mph — and expected “blizzard-like” conditions later in the day — Mt. Ashland Ski Area urged skiers, snowboarders and backcountry enthusiasts to steer clear of the mountain Monday.

The ski area was closed for Monday, Jan. 3, after crews reported weather conditions shortly before that included sustained winds of 55 mph and gusts in excess of 70 mph, according to an alert posted on the nonprofit ski area’s social media pages shortly before 7 a.m.

“We apologize for the need to close, but safety is our number one priority,” Mt. Ashland’s post states.

Mt. Ashland is next scheduled to be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 6.

The ski area urges no “backcountry enthusiasts and weather watchers” attempt to visit the mountain during the storm. The wind and snow has the potential to strand drivers. The forecast from the National Weather Service calls for large snow drifts and white-out conditions.

To sign up for Mt. Ashland’s text alert system, text “mtASHLAND” to 541-500-0124.