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Originally published Saturday, March 16, 2013 at 8:00 PM

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Ski areas' anniversaries being celebrated | Outdoor Notebook

The Summit at Snoqualmie and Stevens Pass are celebrating their 75th anniversaries, and Crystal Mountain is recognizing 50 years of operation.

Seattle Times staff reporter

Reel Time Northwest

Seattle native and lifelong angler Mark Yuasa blogs on fishing in the Pacific Northwest.

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Three Washington ski and snowboard areas are observing milestones.

The Summit at Snoqualmie is celebrating its 75th anniversary by hosting a party from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. March 24 at Summit West.

"We're bringing this fun celebration to the hillside where it all first began," said Guy Lawrence, director of marketing and sales at The Summit at Snoqualmie. "We'll have a lot of people who've been involved with this mountain coming up to reunite and celebrate."

The ski area, less than an hour's drive from Seattle, began operations in the 1937-38 season at Snoqualmie Summit (now known as Summit West) with a single rope tow. It was one of the first in the country to offer night skiing.

The Summit continued to develop with the Milwaukee Ski Bowl (commonly referred to as Hyak and now known as Summit East) opening in the late 1930s. Ski Acres (Summit Central) opened in 1948 and Alpental in 1967.

As part of the celebration, Summit West lift ticket prices will be $19.37 on March 24 to reflect the year when winter ski operation began. Other activities include a barbecue lunch, pond skimming contest, an oldest-employee season pass contest, a scavenger hunt and live music. To view the area's history, go to www.summitatsnoqualmie.com.

Stevens Pass Resort is also marking its 75th year of winter operation.

In the winter of 1937-38, Stevens Pass was started by Don Adams and Bruce Kehr of Seattle with just a single rope tow. Because of the remote access to the area in the early years, Stevens stumbled through many ups and downs, including a fire that destroyed the lodge in 1939.

During the 1940s, Stevens continued to develop, and after World War II its expansion really took off. The first chair was built in 1956, followed by the popular Seventh Heaven chairlift in 1960.

A second day lodge was built in 1978 at Stevens, and since the 1990s millions of dollars have been invested in development of the area, making it a big draw for Puget Sound region skiers and snowboarders.

Stevens Pass has a colorful book that details the ski area's history. It's available in a softbound version online for $19.95 plus tax (including shipping and handling), or a hard-bound copy available at the mountain's retail shop for $24.95 plus tax. You can also preview the book at the resort's website. For details, go to www.stevenspass.com.

Crystal Mountain Resort is recognizing its 50th year of operation with a colorful book chronicles the ski area's humble beginnings in December 1962, when there were two lifts, one T-bar and seven rope tows.

Since then, Crystal has grown into Washington's largest ski and snowboard area with 10 lifts and the state's only eight-passenger gondola. The resort is a year-round destination for outdoor enthusiasts, with more than $30-million invested in upgrades.

A limited number of hardcover books are available at Crystal's Right Angle Sport Shop for $32.95. You can also access Crystal's history at crystalmountainresort.com.

Diggers happy as clams

Winter coastal razor clam digs have been excellent, and the good times should carry into spring.

"We had a great dig (March 7-11) with lots of happy clam diggers," said Dan Ayres, head state Fish and Wildlife coastal shellfish manager. "The clams are fattening up really nice, so that is another good sign."

That Saturday turnout of 21,002 diggers was only eclipsed by a Saturday, Feb. 9 dig when 22,915 hit the beaches.

A total of 33,052 came out to beaches March 7-11, and dug 493,651 razor clams. The season total is 178,71 diggers with 2,438,045 clams.

The breakdown showed March 7 at Twin Harbors had 662 diggers with 9,936 clams; March 8 at Long Beach and Twin Harbors had 3,274 diggers with 48,918 clams; March 9 at Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis and Mocrocks had 21,002 diggers with 315,033 clams; March 10 at the four beaches had 7,635 diggers with 112,563 clams; and March 11 at Twin Harbors had 479 diggers with 7,200 clams.

Diggers averaged 13.4 clams at Long Beach; 13.5 at Twin Harbors; 13.8 at Copalis; and 14.4 at Mocrocks — the first 15 clams dug is a daily limit.

State Fish and Wildlife has set tentative morning digs for March 28 and March 31 at Twin Harbors; and March 29-30 at Twin Harbors, Long Beach, Copalis and Mocrocks. Final word should be know about a week before.

Low tides: March 28, minus-0.3 feet at 7:57 a.m.; March 29, -0.6 at 8:40 a.m.; March 30, -0.7 at 9:26 a.m.; and March. 31, -0.6 at 10:16 a.m.

"One thing were working on is what clam digging opportunities are coming down the road (later this spring)," Ayres said.

State Fish and Wildlife plans to have more digs in April and May, and specific dates should be announced later this month.

Razor Clam Festival coming up

The Ocean Shores Razor Clam Festival and Seafood Extravaganza is 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. March 23, and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 24 at the Ocean Shores Convention Center.

Events include a pancake breakfast, craft and food vendors, pro and amateur cook-offs, best decorated clam shovel, children's activities and games, entertainment, conservation and cultural exhibits, cooking demonstrations, live music, pony rides, chain saw artwork, and food and beverage vendors.

Cost is $3 one day and $5 for two days, and kids under age 12 are free. Details: www.oceanshores.org.

Mark Yuasa: 206-464-8780 or myuasa@seattletimes.com

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