Latest storm deposits heavy snow, as first Western Washington ski areas open for the season. British Columbia's Whistler resort opens Friday.
Update: Stevens Pass ski area announced on its website Wednesday that it will open for the season on Thursday, Nov. 16.
What amounted to blizzard conditions at times Monday at Crystal Mountain deposited enough snow for the ski resort to announce a Wednesday opening — for sure, this time. It’s the first Western Washington ski area to open for the winter season, with Mount Baker close on its heels. To the north, British Columbia’s Whistler will open Friday.
Snow forecasts last week had led Crystal’s operators to announce a likely opening of last Friday, but winds blew much of the falling snow off the mountain late in the week and the opening was postponed.
Tuesday morning, the resort’s website announced it would open with three lifts running on Wednesday, Nov. 15. The Discovery, Chinook Express and Forest Queen Express lifts will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Lift tickets will be $45.
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“The coverage on Downhill and Queens run is really good however we’re still a little thin around the base so we suggest leaving your new equipment at home until we have more snow,” the website advised Tuesday. Strong winds have continued to blow snow off the upper ridge “so we still need just a little more snow to open the upper mountain. We’re hoping to have Rainier Express, Green Valley and the Mount Rainer Gondola open by Friday (conditions permitting).”
Mount Baker Ski Area announced it will open Thursday.
“This storm is bringing us the goods, with six inches of new snow falling last night and up to 15 inches of new snow expected for tomorrow,” the ski area’s website said Tuesday. The snow base at Heather Meadows was 33 inches, and the temperature was 30 degrees with snow falling Tuesday morning.
A Twitter posting Tuesday morning on the Stevens Pass ski area website reported that 10 inches of snow fell overnight, “and we are so close to opening. Just a bit more is needed. Fortunately, more snow is on tap tonight. Stay tuned, and be ready.”
Meanwhile, neighbors to the north are getting snow, too. Whistler Blackcomb Resort announced Tuesday that it would have an early opening, this Friday.
Originally scheduled to open Nov. 23, Whistler Mountain will open Nov. 17 with 20 runs and five lifts. Blackcomb Mountain will open as scheduled Nov. 23 – just in time to celebrate U.S. Thanksgiving.
Nearly 19 inches of fresh snow fell in the resort’s alpine area over the last couple of days, with that much again expected to fall by Friday.