It was a balmy 26 degrees at Dodge Ridge Wednesday morning. Blue skies were streaked with wispy clouds as empty chair lifts circled their routes.

The summit was ribboned with tracks from left by the grooming crews.

Fast forward to Wednesday night and conditions were expected to improve, at least for snow seekers, eager for the chance to finally put skis to fresh powder.

The mountain will open Friday morning at 9 a.m. with much of the terrain ready for skiers.

What to expect on the mountain

Chairlifts 1,2,5,6 and 7 are scheduled to start up at 9 a.m. And chair 8 could open after a delay.

Lifts will run until 4 p.m.

“Opening day is always a fun time, and to open on a powder day with great conditions is a terrific way to celebrate and we expect to open 85 percent of our skiable terrain,” said Dodge Ridge general manager Jenni Smith. “It’s been a long wait and we are looking forward to welcoming our employees, guests, and the community back to the mountain.”

By Friday evening forecasters were expecting more than three feet of snow.

As much as 10 feet could fall at the Dodge Ridge summit.

A winter storm warning went into effect at 4 p.m. Wednesday and is in place until 10 p.m. Saturday.

Wind gusts were expected from 30-50 miles per hour and up to 65 miles per hour on higher peaks.

Travelers can expect chain controls. To find the latest on road conditions in the Mother Lode, visit http://www.dot.ca.gov/cgi-bin/roads.cgi or call 1-800-427-7623.

What it costs

Lift tickets are $74 for adults, $59 for teens, $25 for youth and $54 for seniors.

All normal Dodge Ridge services — such as group and private lessons — will be available.

Private lessons start at $180 for one person over the age of 4 for two hours. The ski area recommends reservations, which can be made by calling (209) 965-3474.

Group lessons include day passes for lifts, depending on the package level purchased.

Those start at $96 for the day.

Group lessons can be reserved online at www.dodgeridge.com/e-commerce/.

Rental equipment

The ski shop opens at 8 a.m. on Friday and at 7 :30 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. To start the rental process, visitors should go to the Family Lodge to fill out rental forms and pay.

Prices and available equipment can be found at http://www.dodgeridge.com/mountain-services/ski-snowboard-rental.

Getting there

If you want to avoid driving yourself and finding a parking spot, the Tuolumne County Ski Bus is an option starting Saturday and Sunday.

A roundtrip ticket from Sonora is $10. A family four-pack is $25 and $5 for each additional child.

The route begins at 7 a.m. at the Stockton Street Save Mart with stops at the Timberhills Shopping Center, the Junction Shopping Center, Twain Harte Market before reaching Dodge Ridge around 8:45 a.m.

Times are approximate and depend on weather and road conditions.

Tickets can be purchased at http://www.tuolumnecountytransit.com/skibus. class="Apple-converted-space">

Additional pickup and drop off locations can be requested and are found on the transit website.

Where to eat

The Creekside Cafe offers breakfast items such as breakfast burritos, egg sandwiches and pancakes.

Starting at 10:30 a.m. their full lunch menu is available.

They serve pizza, chili, soups, burgers and more.

The North Fork Bistro will also be open.

They serve paninis, espresso drinks and daily specials.

For up-to-date snow reports, visit DodgeRidge.com or call the snow phone at (209) 536-5300.

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