TUOLUMNE COUNTY (CBS13) — Recent storms in the Sierra means there is now enough snow to open a popular ski resort in Tuolumne County.
The shop at Dodge Ridge was buzzing with people preparing their skis to hit the slopes on opening day.
"I have passes up here. My family comes up here, so it'll be fun," Oakdale resident Ashley Landes said.
Sean Waterman was one of the first people to take advantage of the fresh snow.
"Conditions are remarkable for this time of year. It's really amazing! Just went and looked at the stake over there, there's over three feet of snow, 39 inches of snow so far, so couldn't have asked for a better way to start the season," Waterman said.
The resort has received more than five feet of snow since last week. It's a remarkable number considering it's located on Stanislaus National Forest Land and does not have the ability to make its own show.
"We just catapulted into winter this week," Dodge Ridge spokesperson Jeff Hauff said. "It's the perfect kickoff."
Workers spent all day Thursday gearing up for the opening, prepping the chairlift operators, grooming the snow, and setting up perimeters near the slopes.
"Can't wait to see everybody. It's a big family reunion when we open up, you know? You see everyone you haven't seen for a while and they all come out on the hill," Waterman said.
The snow is not only good for recreation. It also provides a big boost to nearby businesses. Locals say it's important for the upper Highway 108 corridor to thrive.
Businesses like Alicia's Sugar Shack in Twain Harte are looking to cash in on the crowds as people make their way up the hill to the resort.
"When Dodge Ridge opens it's automatic tourism so it's a big help. Including their employees, because we're on their way and they employ quite a many people," an Alica's Sugar Shack employee said.
Workers, skiers, and snowboarders are all excited for the start of the season.
"It's fresh snow and it's opening day, so it should be busy and we have perfect weather right now," Landes said.
Dodge Ridge typically stays open until April.
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