ASHLAND, Ore. -- The Mt. Ashland Ski Area was closed Saturday because of the messy roads brought on by the storm. Employees said ODOT needed to focus their equipment on I-5. Since there was no guarantee the ski road would get plowed, employees decided to play it safe and close the mountain for the day.
Sunday, the Ski Area reopened and it was packed. So much so employees had to turn people away if they couldn’t find a place to park.
"It’s crazy busy. People [are] parking way out on the road down quite a ways. And there's tons of people. The lines are crazy down at the lifts," said snowboarder Julianne Hulce.
Skiers and snowboarders said the parking lot was like that just one hour after the Ski Area opened for the day.
"It was crazy. My husband dropped us off and he's parked down the road and hiked in," added visitor Stacie Westbrook.
That was the case for many snow enthusiasts on the mountain. Some said they had to park a half a mile away from the lodge.
"I'm going to say we're going to say we're going to touch 2,000 [people] today. This is about our max when we fill that parking lot,” said Mt. Ashland Ski Area’s General Manager Hiram Towle. “We are enjoying the best day of skiing and riding that we have all season and as a result the entire valley showed up which is exactly what we wanted.”
He added the reason for the packed ski area today is mainly because of yesterday's hefty dump of snow and the ski area's closure. Hulce grew up in the Rogue Valley but now lives in Hawai’i. She’s visiting this week and was worried she wouldn’t be able to enjoy the mountain.
"It was a bummer because we're really only here for a certain amount of time but we saw today would be an even better day so it was great it worked out good," Hulce added.
Many visitors said Sunday’s conditions were the best all season which made the struggle for parking worth it.
"They're perfect. A little bit of wind but it’s great. Everybody seems to be smiling. It's a good day to be an Oregonian," said Ricki Entenmann.