Late winter extends ski, snowboard season in Cascades
Most areas are staying open later, some into late May, as resorts try to make up for early-season drought.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Winter weather just won’t fade away, but that’s good news for skiers and snowboarders. With more snow falling on the slopes, some areas plan to stay open well into May.
“We plan to stay open at least four additional weekends after April 20, and we will operate longer if conditions allow,” said Tiana Enger, the marketing director at Crystal Mountain Resort.
“If we have good coverage, we could extend it beyond the May 17-18 weekend. At this point we feel confident we can make it beyond that, but we’ll just have to wait and see.”
Crystal Mountain reported 5 inches of snow Thursday, bringing its base total to 74 inches and summit to 128 inches. The season snowfall total is 328 inches.
As part of the spring celebration, Crystal Mountain is hosting the Bikini and Board Shorts Downhill, and King and Queen of the Hill on April 19. The Beach Theme Weekend is April 19-20.
On Easter Sunday, Crystal will have a sunrise service at the summit, followed by the Easter bunny skiing around the area handing out candy and an Easter egg hunt.
Crystal is offering a $99 spring pass valid now until the end of the late season to any Washington ski area season-pass holder or $149 for non-pass holders.
The Summit at Snoqualmie is also keeping its doors open as long as conditions permit.
“We’re projecting to have Summit Central open on weekends through April 20, and Alpental will be open on weekends through May 5,” said Guy Lawrence, The Summit at Snoqualmie marketing director.
The base depth at Summit Central is 78 inches. Alpental has 91 inches on the lower base and 179 inches on top.
A tradition at Alpental is to end winter with a Cinco de Mayo celebration 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on May 5. Festivities include a kids piñata contest, costume contest, live music and lunch and drinks specials. The Back Bowls Booter Buddies is 10:30 a.m. May 3 at Alpental, where contestants put on their best “big air” moves.
At White Pass Resort, skiers and snowboarders will be able to carve up the hillsides daily 8:45 a.m. to 4 p.m. through April 13, followed by weekends only through May 4.
“Our scheduled closing date is May 4, but we have stayed open in past years beyond that,” said Kathleen Goyette, the White Pass public relations director. “There is lots of good skiing still to be had.”
White Pass also received 1 to 3 inches Thursday, with a base of 49 inches and a summit of 152 inches. Season snowfall total is 344 to 424 inches.
The Mount Baker Ski Area plans to stay open through April 18-20. It received 14 inches of snow Thursday, raising the base from 174 to 197 inches.
The Baker Golden Egg Hunt is 9 a.m. April 19, with 4,000 eggs and $10,000 in prizes.
Mission Ridge Ski & Board Resort will be open through April 12-13 with 37 inches at the base and 60 inches on top.
“We are currently exploring our options on how long we plan to stay open,” said Jordan Lindstrom, the Mission Ridge marketing director. “We’ve got a lot of snow on the mountain with some of the best skiing conditions.”
Stevens Pass Resort is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily through April 20, and could extend winter operations until April 26-27.
In British Columbia, Whistler-Blackcomb Resort had the third snowiest March in the past decade, allowing Blackcomb Mountain to plan to remain open through May 26.
A major storm hit the mega-resort last week, bringing more than 38 inches of snow and caps a season total of nearly 322 inches.
Columbia salmon fishery extended
Spring chinook fishing in the Lower Columbia River downstream from Bonneville Dam will remain through April 14, except Tuesday, for a commercial fishery. The extra time will make up for high, turbid conditions in recent weeks that kept catch guidelines below expectations. State Fish and Wildlife projected the catch to be around 12,000 chinook at this point, but an in-season update reveals it will be closer to 3,000. The season was expected to close after Monday. State Fish and Wildlife has forecast a strong return of about 227,000 upriver-bound spring chinook. More days could be added if the return comes in above that.
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