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Originally published Thursday, March 14, 2013 at 2:04 PM

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Ski report: Freezing levels are rising, but ample snow will keep operations running into April

Spring is less than a week away, but conditions remain excellent for skiing and snowboarding

Seattle Times staff reporter

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The first day of spring is less than a week away, but many are still taking in the excellent Pacific Northwest ski and snowboard conditions.

Freezing levels have skyrocketed between 4,000 and 7,000 feet as the moisture laden "Pineapple Express" warm front pushed through the state.

The weather will gradually change this weekend, giving way to occasional snow showers and mostly cloudy skies along the Cascade hillsides.

No large amounts of snow have fallen in the past few days, and springlike soft snow conditions prevail. However, every resort still has ample snow base coverage to extend operations well into next month.

"Historically we continue with our operations well into spring, and so far we've had a strong March turnout (of skiers and snowboarders)," said Guy Lawrence, director of marketing and sales at The Summit at Snoqualmie. "Our plan is to hopefully make it through the end of April or beginning of May."

The Summit West base is covered with 76 inches, and Alpental has 93 inches on lower slopes and 168 inches on the summit. The summit of Alpental received 1 to 4 inches of snow in the past few days.

Summit Central is open 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., Thursday to Saturday, and Monday through March 23; and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Alpental is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursday to Sunday, and Tuesday through March 24; and closed on Monday.

Summit West is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays only. Summit East is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays only. The Summit Tubing Center is open 9 a.m. to 5:45 p.m., Friday to Sunday. The Nordic center is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., weekends only.

With more than 372 inches of snow this season, Crystal Mountain Resort has six lifts open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily through April 21, with a base of 65 inches and a summit total of 101 inches. Crystal received 1 to 2 inches of new snow the past few days. The deep snowpack will allow Crystal to stay open on weekends from late April through June 16.

Stevens Pass Resort has 11 trails open with three lifts (Hogsback, Daisy and Kehr's chairs) in operation on a 92-inch base, with 108 inches on the summit. The season snowfall total is 411 inches. Stevens is open through March 31 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday to Thursday; 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday; and 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday.

The Mount Baker Ski Area is open 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and Heather Meadows has a base of 168 inches with 204 inches covering the base of Pan Dome. Chairs 3 to 7 were open Thursday under reduced lift ticket prices.

The White Pass Ski Area is open 8:45 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, with six of eight lifts operating on 47 machine-groomed trails. The area has an 80-inch base with a summit depth of 121 inches.

Mission Ridge has three lifts with 44 trails open (16 were machine-groomed) from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday through Monday. Mission has a midway base depth of 37 inches and a summit total of 58 inches.

The 49 Degrees North Ski Area has a 63-inch base and a summit total of 126 inches. They're open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Fridays to Tuesdays with four lifts operating on 83 trails (38 were machine-groomed).

Mount Spokane Ski and Snowboard Park is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Wednesday to Sunday with four lifts running on 45 trails (31 were machine-groomed) on a base of 65 inches and 87 inches on the summit.

Ski Bluewood is closed Friday, and reopens this weekend from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. They have a base of 55 inches and a summit total of 80 inches.

The Hurricane Ridge Ski Area is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends with 109-inch base, operating three lifts on three trails. The poma lift and tube park will also be open this weekend.

Slopeside events

• The Mount Baker Ski Area's Golden Egg Hunt is March 30 with more than 4,000 eggs worth over $5,000 in prizes that will be hidden around the Shuksan side of the ski area. One lucky Golden Egg contains a Mount Baker season pass for 2013-2014 season. They will also have four separate hunts for kids ages 10 and under. Details: http://mtbaker.us/.

• The Hope for the Slopes, Ski and Ride for a Cure fundraising event to support the American Cancer Society is Saturday at Crystal Mountain Resort, and this weekend at the White Pass Ski Area. The event is for all ages and skills. Individual and teams of up to 15 raise money for the most vertical feet or continued participation on the hour awards. Details: 253-207-5158 or email charlene.piercy@cancer.org.

• The 49 Degrees North Ski Area's Hawaiian Daze is 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, and supports the local ski patrol. Events include a pond skimming contest, live music, poker run, BBQ and prizes for the best Hawaiian costume. Details: www.ski49n.com.

• The Ski Bluewood Bash is Saturday, and the Old School Half Pipe Jam, Hand-Dug Half Pipe Competition is Sunday. Details: http://bluewood.com.

• The Stevens Pass Resort Scott Stevens Minor Threat snowboard competition is 9 a.m. Saturday at the Terrain Park. Young age 14-and-under shredders will display their skills on a series of terrain park features. Discounted lift tickets will be available for participants. Details: www.stevenspass.com.

• The Summit at Snoqualmie Belgium's Scavenger Hunt is 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at the Summit Central Lodge. The event benefits the Snowrider Project. Teams of up to four participants will dress-up in costumes to earn extra points in this fun hunt for prizes. Cost is $10 per person. Details: www.summitatsnoqualmie.com.

• The Sun Valley Resort Film Festival is Friday through Sunday, and features more than 60 short films, student films and music videos at theater venues in Sun Valley, Ketchum and Hailey. For a complete schedule, visit www.sunvalleyfilmfestival.org.

• The Mount Hood Meadows Full Sail Banked Slalom is 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 6 at the Daisy Bowl banked slalom course. Skiers and snowboarders can participate in specific divisions with a field limited to 120 participants. Details: www.skihood.com.

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

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