Cascade ski areas rush toward weekend openings as storms dump powder
White Pass is scheduled to open Friday, the Summit at Snoqualmie expects to open soon and Mount Baker has more snow than any other resort in North America.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Cascade Mountain ski and snowboard areas are reaping the benefits of recent storms dumping plenty of powdery snow.
White Pass is scheduled to open Friday, the Summit at Snoqualmie expects to open soon and Mount Baker's ski season is shifting into high gear.
"The density of the snow is fantastic, and these are the big, floaty, dry snowflakes coming down," said Gwyn Howatt, the Mount Baker Ski Area operations manager. "It is just gorgeous, and reminds of a classic Christmas Day with no wind and all the trees are perfectly covered with snow."
Mount Baker has more snow this week than any other ski resort in North America. Baker has 103 inches at Pan Dome base and 85 inches at Heather Meadows, easily beating out runner-up Whistler-Blackcomb Resort in British Columbia's 69-inch base.
Mount Baker received 14 inches of snow overnight, and high on the mountain there are 18-plus inches. Baker's total accumulation is 112 inches.
"A few weeks ago we had nothing, and then got hit with enough to open Nov. 21," Howatt said. "Soon after it switched over to rain, and by Saturday it was a steady snowfall that hasn't let up."
A winter-weather advisory remains in effect for Mount Baker, Stevens Pass, Snoqualmie Pass, Paradise and White Pass areas with snow accumulations of 1 to 2 feet possible by Friday morning. More snow is expected through the weekend.
The Summit at Snoqualmie hopes to open this weekend.
"It's the perfect kind of snow coming down," said Guy Lawrence, director of marketing for The Summit at Snoqualmie, who added that the decision should come Friday morning.
The Summit received 4 inches of new snow overnight with a base of 15 inches. More than 80 inches is on top of Alpental.
White Pass will begin winter operations at 8:45 a.m. Friday, with all lifts opening, and 80 percent of terrain accessible. Snow depth is 20 inches at the base and 47 on the summit.
In Eastern Washington, Mount Spokane Ski and Snowboard Park north of Spokane will open at 9 a.m. Friday.
The snow continues to pile up at other areas like Crystal Mountain Resort, which has 98 inches. .
Crystal is open daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., with the Gondola, Rainier Express, Forest Queen, Chinook Express, Green Valley, High Campbell and Northway lifts in operation. Discovery lift will open Friday, offering beginner terrain. The base has 25 inches, and the summit 50.
Mission Ridge will reopen Friday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. It received 6 inches of snow Wednesday night, and has a 23-inch base and 31 inches on the summit.
Stevens Pass Resort is open daily 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. It plans to expand to six lifts by Friday and be in full operation by Saturday. It received 2 inches of new snow overnight with a 43-inch base and 47 on the summit.
49 Degrees North is open 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Fridays to Tuesdays, and Ski Bluewood could open soon.
Some other Pacific Northwest areas are also opening.
Mount Ashland in Southern Oregon opened Thursday, with all four chairlifts operating daily at 9 a.m. Ashland has a base of 27 inches and 55 on the summit.
The Lookout Pass Ski Resort on the Idaho/Montana border opened Thursday, and will operate at 9 a.m. Thursdays through Mondays. It has a base of 18 inches, with 41 on the summit. The Huckleberry Jam terrain park will also be open.
The Whitefish Mountain Resort in Montana will open Saturday. Through Tuesday, it had 42 inches on the summit. Other resorts now open are Mount Bachelor, Mount Hood Meadows and Timberline in Oregon; and Schweitzer Mountain, Silver Mountain and Sun Valley in Idaho.
Events and deals
• Get a photo taken with Santa Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Mount Baker's White Salmon Lodge. Cost is $5.
The Summit at Snoqualmie has partnered with Mission Ridge to offer free midweek lift tickets by showing their 2012-13 Big S Pass at the ticket window through April 7. Special is not valid Dec. 26-Jan. 2. Summit pass holders are also eligible for one complimentary ticket at Mission Ridge on Sunday when they purchase a full-price ticket Saturday.
• Crystal Mountain will begin their First Tracks Breakfast on Saturday, and the on-mountain Arbor Snowboard Demo will also be happening that day. On Dec. 15, Crystal hosts its Golden Anniversary Celebration birthday bash.
• All Summit at Snoqualmie, Stevens Pass and White Pass season-pass holders are eligible for $20 tickets at Crystal through Friday by showing a current season pass at the ticket window.
• Mount Spokane has a new 1,200-square foot addition to the main lodge with seating for 100, a new wraparound deck and four big screen TVs.
• Whitefish Mountain, recently ranked 11th by a SKI Magazine reader survey, has a 20 percent discount for Amtrak overnight rides for Washington skiers and snowboarders. Details: www.amtrak.com.
Mark Yuasa: 206-464-8780 or firstname.lastname@example.org