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Pacific Northwest ski areas are experiencing their own “March Madness” as the wild weather is expected to continue over the next few days.

At least five strong weather patterns are lined up off the coast that should bring additional snow to the Cascades. The weekend will start off with light snow or rain showers along with windy periods, and a snow level staying down between 2,000 and 3,500 feet.

A deepening low pressure system is expected to move across the state Sunday, and likely generate moments of moderate to heavy snowfall along with strong winds. All ski areas are forecast to receive copious amounts of snow so powder seekers will find ample coverage with more than three feet coming in the next few days to Mount Baker.

Jameson Florence of Seattle stands atop a ridge at Stevens Pass Resort.
Jameson Florence of Seattle stands atop a ridge at Stevens Pass Resort.

The cold and moist westerly flow will stick around into Tuesday until high pressure finally builds bringing sunshine back into the forecast by the middle of next week.

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The Mount Baker Ski Area was hit the hardest Thursday in the midst of one of the strongest wind storms ever recorded, but escaped with just minor damage. Historic winds topped out at 109 mph on summit of Pan Dome, and a sustained wind in the 60 to 80 mph range at the Heather Meadows Base Area. To view a video of the windstorm, go to http://www.mtbaker.us/snow-report/.

A gust of 101 mph was also recorded on the summit of Crystal Mountain Resort.

With daylight savings looming, it may seem like spring has finally sprung, but Mother Nature will prove otherwise. The long-range weather forecast calls for a cool and wet pattern through this month.

That is wonderful news for skiers and snowboarders who should find ample snow coverage at resorts that plan to keep the chairlifts running well into next month. Crystal Mountain Resort has already announced it plans to stay open daily until April 17.

Fresh powdery hillsides will remain for skiers and snowboarders to find the days to come.
Fresh powdery hillsides will remain for skiers and snowboarders to find the days to come. Photo courtesy of Mitch Winton at Coast Mountain Photography and Whistler-Blackcomb Resort.

Expected snowfall totals through Monday:

Mount Baker, 26-46 inches of new snow (500.5 inches for the season).

Summit at Snoqualmie, 9-17 (359).

Stevens Pass, 14-25 (364).

Crystal Mountain, 18-33 (452).

White Pass, 12-24 (307-365).

Whistler-Blackcomb, 3-9 (425).

Mount Bachelor, 10-21 (385.5-395).

At Mount Rainier National Park the road to Paradise at Longmire has extended hours (weather conditions permitting) on weekends from 8 a.m.-9 p.m. with uphill gate closing at 8 p.m. On weekdays the road is open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and uphill gate closing at 5 p.m. The road to Paradise was open Thursday with traction tires advised, and all vehicles are required to carry tire chains

The snow-play sliding hill at Paradise will remain open through March 27 as conditions allow. Ranger-guided 1.8-mile snowshoe walks are available Saturdays, Sundays and holidays through March 27 at 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. outside of the Jackson Visitor Center. Winter backcountry, camping is available with a permit required. Be sure to check the website for road conditions and restrictions before heading up. Through Friday, Paradise was covered with 114 inches of snow. For updates, go to www.nps.gov/mora/index.htm.

It’s not the bobsled race, but sliding at the Paradise snow-play area on Mount Rainier is a thrill.
It’s not the bobsled race, but sliding at the Paradise snow-play area on Mount Rainier is a thrill.

Oregon: Mount Bachelor, 106-144 inch base; Timberline, 121; Mount Hood Meadows, 103-206; Mount Ashland, 72-133; Willamette Pass, 38-100; and Mount Hood Ski Bowl, 36-41. Cooper Spur, 10, reopens this weekend.

Idaho: Sun Valley, 36-65; Brundage, 59-101; Tamarack, 29-83; Schweitzer, 55-107; Lookout Pass, 64-107; Bogus Basin, 48; Pebble Creek, 20-57; and Silver Mountain, 60-70.

Montana: Whitefish Mountain Resort is open daily, with 103-inch base, and 276 inches this season. A total of 105 trails are open. It was snowing is heavily Thursday, but the skiing on the North Side and at higher elevations should be great. Conditions are variable and a little sloppy on the lower hillsides.

British Columbia: Whistler-Blackcomb, 135; Cypress, 155; Mount Washington, 118-186; Whitewater, 125-126; Manning Park, 72-101; Big White, 115; Revelstoke, 28-107; Fernie, 53-129; Mount Seymour, 66-142; Red Mountain, 111; Grouse Mountain, 76-118; Kicking Horse, 37-81; Apex, 99; Silver Star, 69-92; Sun Peaks, 84-91; Panorama, 22-59; and Kimberley, 45.

Latest snow and lift reports:

Which ski areas are open and closed:


Resort

Hours

Base


Summit West, Snoqualmie Open: Sat-Sun: 9am-5pm; closed Fri and Mon-March 18 76 inches

Summit Central, Snoqualmie Open: Fri-Sat and Mon-March 18: 9am-10pm; Sun: 9am-5pm 76 inches

Summit East, Snoqualmie Open: Sat-Sun: 9am-4pm; closed Fri and Mon-March 18 76 inches

Nordic Center, Snoqualmie Open: Sat-Sun: 9am-3pm; closed Mon-March 18. Tubing center Fri-Sun: 9am-5pm; closed Mon-March 18 76 inches

Alpental, Snoqualmie Open: Fri: 9am-10pm; Sat-Sun and Tue-March 18: 9am-4pm; closed Mon 101-143 inches

Mount Baker Ski Area Open daily: 9am-3:45pm 161-196 inches

Crystal Mountain Open daily: 9am-4pm 77-128 inches

Stevens Pass Open: Fri-Sat: 9am-10pm; Sun: 9am-6pm; Mon-March 17: 9am-4pm 84-115 inches

White Pass Open daily: 8:45am-4pm; nordic center is open Thu-Sun 78-118 inches

Mission Ridge Ski & Board Open: Fri-Sun: 9am-4pm; Mon and Thu: To be determined; closed Tue-Wed 56-74 inches

49° North Mountain Open: Fri-Sun and Mon-Tue: 9am-4pm; closed Wed-Thu 82-127 inches

Mt. Spokane Ski & Snowboard Open: Fri-Sat and Wed: 9am-9:30pm; Sun: 9am-4pm; closed Mon-Tue 40-88 inches

Ski Bluewood Open: Fri-Sun and Thu: 9am-4pm; closed Mon-Wed 67-95 inches

Whistler-Blackcomb Open daily: 8:30am-3pm 135 inches

Mt. Bachelor Open daily: 9am-4pm 106-144 inches

Leavenworth Winter Sports Club Open: Icicle River trail open, other trails closed; ski hill and tubing closed for season 14 inches

Methow Trails Open daily: 18 trails groomed March 10-11 at Mazama; 16 at Rendezvous; 16 at Sun Mountain; and 11 at Winthrop 28 inches