Crystal Mountain, Stevens Pass and 49 Degrees North resorts will remain open through Sunday as the first significant snowfall pounded the Cascades and Eastern Washington region on Friday and Saturday.
A storm Friday and Saturday dumped a heaping snowfall of 12 to 24 inches in the northern and central Cascades. At some points it was snowing at a rate of more than one inch per hour. There was a winter storm advisory still in effect through Sunday with an additional 5 to 10 inches of accumulation expected.
Snow and/or rain is expected early this week, then possibly switching back to more snow later on.
More than 600 skiers and snowboarders turned out at Crystal Mountain Resort, which will remain open 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Sunday after receiving 7 to 12 inches of new snow. The base is 7 inches, and the summit has 24 inches with a 42-inch cumulative snowfall. The Gondola will shuttle passengers up to the summit for access to the Green Valley chair lift. Lift tickets are $25.
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“We’ll make a decision (Monday or Tuesday) on additional openings, and see what the next storm system brings,” said Tiana Enger, the Crystal Mountain marketing director. “We could reopen Wednesday and maybe then stay open daily, if possible.”
Stevens Pass is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday with 20 inches of new snow Friday night (56-inch cumulative total), and a 29-inch base and 35-inch summit total.
Lifts operating are Hogsback, Daisy and the rope tow along with up to 10 terrain park features on Beacon Hill. Lift tickets are $20.
Stevens Pass management says additional snowfall will allow it to open the rest of the mountain very soon.
In Eastern Washington, the 49 Degrees North Ski Area will be open Sunday with Chairs 1 and 3 operating on 14 runs. The area received 9 to 13 inches of snow with a base of 13 inches, and a summit total of 29 inches. Lift tickets are $20.
In the northern Cascades, Mount Baker Ski Area is looking at possibly opening very soon.
“It will take another good storm after this one to bring us closer to the option of opening,” said Gwyn Howat, the Mount Baker Ski Area operations manager.
Baker received 20 inches of snow in the upper base area with a 26-inch base at Heather Meadows, plus about 10 to 14 inches in the lower base area. Forecasts are calling for 4 to 5 more inches through Monday.
The Summit at Snoqualmie is also seeing some early snowfall coating the hillsides with 11 inches. At Alpental there is 34 inches on the summit with 12-inches at the lower base. Summit West also has a 12-inch base.
“It is definitely snowing and should give us a nice little base coverage,” said Guy Lawrence, marketing manager at The Summit at Snoqualmie. “The second half of November is traditionally when it is game-on weather, and we’re pretty stoked and right in that stormy time frame.”
Last year, Stevens, Crystal and Mount Baker all had early openings a week before the Thanksgiving holiday.
Another option is going north of the border to British Columbia.
Whistler Mountain, in the Whistler Blackcomb resort, opened Saturday and continues daily operations 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. with lifts operating from the Whistler Village Gondola or Creekside Gondola.
As with any early opening, skiers and snowboarders should be aware of exposed rocks and other hazards and stay on the marked trails.
The mid-mountain snow depth is 24 inches at the Pig Alley Weather Station on Whistler with a cumulative snow fall of 32 inches.
Lifts operating are Emerald Express, Big Red Express and the Franz Chairlift, allowing access to about 1,800 feet of terrain. Runs open are Ego Bowl, Upper Whiskey Jack, Upper Franz, Papoose, Orange Peel and Pony Trail. Blackcomb Mountain plans to open lifts Nov. 28.
Beginning Saturday, British Columbia’s Big White Resort is also open daily with the Plaza Quad Chair operating from 8:45 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Lara’s Gondola shuttling passengers from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The village and alpine snow base is 26 inches, with a total snowfall of 50 inches.
B.C.’s Silver Star Resort plans to open Nov. 28. It currently has a 26-inch base and 32 inches on the summit.
In Oregon, Timberline Resort is open on weekends only from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. with two lifts operating. It has received 10 inches of snow, and a base of 21 inches.