Thursday, March 20, 2014

A ski season that wasn't



Mount Ashland (7,533'), high in the southern Oregon Siskiyou mountains, is the Rogue Valley's local ski hill.  A throwback to the past, you won't find snowmaking or high speed quads here. Although small, it is nevertheless a skier's mountain, consisting 1,100 vertical feet of excellent steeps, moguls, and tree skiing... usually. Heartbreakingly, this year was no usual year.  For the first time in its fifty-year history, Mount Ashland was unable open due to record low snowpack in the Siskiyou Mountains.

Not wanting to go the whole season without any turns on Mount Ashland, earlier this week I took advantage of the extra hour of daylight to earn some turns after work. On the mountain, I found about two inches of fresh snow on about a foot of bulletproof crust-- just enough to be skiable. Below are a few photos from my ski tour. 

Mount Ashland

The Mount Ashland lodge and Sonnet chair (the lone beginner run on the mountain)

The Windsor chair with the city of Ashland and Bear Creek Valley more than 5,000 feet below

Thin (but skiable) cover near the Windsor chair

Mount Shasta to the south

The view south towards northern California from near the Mount Ashland summit

Looking south from the Mount Ashland's 7,533' summit. Mount Shasta is on the right.

NWS Doppler radar

Peering west along the Siskiyou crest from Mount Ashland's summit

Rime ice
The Ariel chairlift, a vertical mile above the city of Ashland

The descent

Mount McLoughlin above the Windsor chair

Descending Balcony

See you next year, Mount A

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