The NOAA forecast called for wind gusts of up to 21 MPH. This did not stop 10 people from showing up to snowshoe, ski or hike to the top of Mt Ashland. When we arrived it was 32 degrees and there was a beautiful blue sky.
We started hiking in our boots until we arrived at the bathroom about 0.35 of a mile from the cars. Steve and Jay decided to wear cross country skis, Bob just kept his hiking boots on and carried his snowshoes. The rest of us put on snowshoes.
Right away we could see views to the south with Goosenest, Whaleback, Mt. Shasta, Black Butte and Mt. Eddy. We continued along FS Road 20 and stopped to look at Rabbit Ears. Then we headed up FS road 300. Eventually we saw views of both Table Rocks, Roxy Ann, Mt. McLoughlin and the rim at Crater Lake.
We continued up the groomed road and could see the huge white ball which is really a dome protecting the NEXRAD (next generation radar dish). It was reported by the Seattle Times that it cost $4 million dollars back in 1995. The radar can see up to 200 miles across the Siskiyou Mountains. The fiberglass dome is engineered to withstand winds of 135 MPH and heavy snow and ice.
We neared the top and could see the Ariel Chair lift which was not in operation. We climbed up on some rocks covered in snow and took many pictures of our 360 degree views. We dropped down a bit to get out of the wind and enjoyed our lunch.
On the way back down, a few people went over and looked at the various runs of The Bowl. Wong's which is a black diamond and Chutes 1-5 which are all double black diamonds.
After going back down the road many people decided to take a short-cut so they could go down the hill faster. It was fun plunge stepping and getting almost up to a run on the steepest parts. We gathered together back down below and headed to our cars. It was an enjoyable day and we were back to Ashland by around 2:30 PM.