There's plenty of snow at the state's ski resorts after last month's storms.
Skiers and snowboarders caught a short break from winter storms, but change is coming.
A strong high pressure system that settled across the Cascades will move east Thursday night, bringing light snow showers, and then shifts back to peek-a-boo sunshine by this weekend.
All local ski areas have excellent snow coverage on groomed runs, and soft, packed powder off the main trails.
Last month saw record snowfall for many resorts. Crystal Mountain received almost 17 feet of snow (260 inches for the season), putting them 150 percent above normal levels for this time of the year. Green Valley on the upper mountain usually doesn’t get more than 100 inches until February but has already eclipsed that figure.
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Other areas with season snow accumulations of 100-plus inches are Mission Ridge, Mount Baker, Stevens Pass, Alpental and White Pass.
Crystal Mountain Resort has 11 lifts open daily, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The base is 65 inches and a summit total of 91 inches. The main trails are machine-groomed, and off-the-trail hillsides are covered soft powder and packed powder.
Stevens Pass Resort is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Tuesday, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday and 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday. There are 37 trails open (27 groomed) and 10 lifts in operation with an 72-inch base and 76 inches on the summit.
The Summit at Snoqualmie has a base at Summit West of 61 inches and Alpental has a base of 73 inches and 123 inches on the summit.
Alpental and Summit Central are open 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Summit West is open 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday; Summit East reopens this weekend from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The Summit Tubing Center is open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., and the nordic center 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
The Mount Baker Ski Area has excellent machine-groomed conditions, and is open 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. There is 156 inches at Pan Dome base and 128 inches at Heather Meadows.
Patchy fog has surrounded the lower areas of the White Pass Ski Area, but the upper mountain opens to clear skies. White Pass is open 8:45 a.m. to 4 p.m., with seven lifts leading to packed powder on 47 trails, and a 58-inch base and summit depth of 94 inches.
Mission Ridge has four lifts and 44 trails open, including 32 groomed, with a base of 40 inches and a summit total of 60 inches. Mission is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. through Monday then closed Tuesdays and Wednesday.
The Ski Leavenworth hillside has a base of 33 inches, and reopens Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. All the nordic trails are open daily. The Ski Jump Hill is scheduled to open this weekend.
On the Olympic Peninsula, Hurricane Ridge will reopen this weekend from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with two lifts. There is a base of 102 inches and 107 inches on the summit.
In Eastern Washington, 49 Degrees North reopens Friday 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., with a 44-inch base and 94 inches on the summit. All chairs are operating, with 82 trails open and 28 groomed.
Ski Bluewood is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursdays to Sundays with a base of 43 inches. The summit has 56 inches. Three lifts will operate on 24 trails.
Mount Spokane Ski and Snowboard Park is open 9 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Wednesdays to Saturdays, and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sundays, with all chairs operating and 45 trails open (32 are groomed). There is a base of 57 inches and 77 inches on the summit.
The Methow Valley offers 120 miles of Nordic trails for all levels of gliders at Sun Mountain, Mazama and Rendezvous. The area received 1 to 2 inches on Wednesday night with 22 inches of total accumulation.
Slope side events
• The 49 Degrees Mountain Resort Winterfest with Winter Trails and Demo Day is Jan. 12-13. New gear, demos for skiers and snowshoers will be available at the Nordic Center. Mini-lessons and rentals will be available. There will be no trail fees. Details: www.ski49n.com.
• North Cascade Heli is beginning winter operations Jan. 11, through March 24. Heli-skiing and snowboarding programs are available, as well as an overnight in the Barron Yurt. Details: www.heli-ski.com.
• The Baker Beacon Rally is 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday at the Mount Baker’s Heather Meadows Base Area. It’s a free educational event with avalanche professionals sharing rescue skills and promoting mountain safety. Register online at www.rei.com/bellingham.
• Mount Baker offers a “Best for Beginners Package,” which includes a full-day equipment rental, beginner lift ticket and lesson for $49. The Legendary Banked Slalom Race is Feb. 8-10. Details: http://mtbaker.us/
• The Sun Valley Resort USSA Freestyle Spectacular is Jan. 10-13 on Baldy and Dollar Mountains. The event consists of a mogul competition and slope-style and half-pipe competitions. Details: www.sunvalley.com
• The U.S. Airbag Jump Tour is coming to the White Pass Ski Area on Friday through Sunday. Details: www.USAirbag.com.
• The Crystal Mountain Resort First Tracks Breakfast and Summit Dinners are held on Saturdays. Details: http://crystalmountainresort.com/.
• The Summit at Snoqualmie has partnered with Mission Ridge to offer free midweek lift tickets by showing the 2012-13 Big S Pass at the ticket window through April 7. Summit pass holders are also eligible for one complimentary ticket at Mission Ridge on Sunday when they purchase a full-price ticket Saturday. Details: www.summitatsnoqualmie.com or www.missionridge.com
• Mission Ridge has a special Learn to Ski in 3 for $99, which includes three lessons, three lift tickets and three rentals. Details: www.missionridge.com.
• Whitefish Mountain, 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