Mt. Ashland, just north of the California border, is halfway between San Francisco and Portland, eight 8 miles off Interstate 5. The runs and lifts are named after Shakespeare plays and characters, with Balcony and Upper Balcony (at 7,500 feet) overlooking them all. The day lodge is Elizabethan, naturally. There are some excellent bump runs, but Mt. Ashland's specialty is a cirque, a giant glacial bowl that is corniced, steep, and demanding. Double-black stuff. A casual observer might consider Mt. Ashland less than challenging, with only four chairlifts, two of which serve the higher elevations, and only 1,150 feet of vertical drop. The locals say, "It skis a lot bigger than it looks."