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The ski slopes have turned into a soggy mess, and it could remain this way as mild temperatures and rainfall continue to dominate much of the mountain weather forecast.

The endless wintry weather skiers and riders have enjoyed has temporarily come to an end, and while a weak high-pressure system will be situated atop the state on Friday night it will be short-lived. If there is any day to hit the slopes make a beeline there early Saturday, but expect sloppy and heavy snow conditions.

A slightly colder weather system arrives late Saturday with snowfall expected at higher elevation resorts such as Mount Baker and Stevens Pass, and to a lesser degree at Crystal Mountain and White Pass. The freezing level in the Northern Cascades drops to 3,000 feet while in the Central and Southern Cascades it will range between 3,500 and 4,500 feet.

Drivers on Highway 410 put chains on their tires, just before the rise onto Crystal Mountain Blvd. on Thursday.   (Steve Ringman / The Seattle Times)

The good news: Snow base levels at all ski areas are solid from this winter’s accumulation, which should bring excellent spring skiing and riding when and if the wacky weather ever comes to an end.

Expected new snowfall totals through Saturday are: 7 to 14 inches at Mount Baker; 7 to 12 at Stevens Pass; 4 to 6 at Crystal Mountain; and 5 to 7 at White Pass. Any precipitation will come in the form of rain at lower ski areas such as The Summit at Snoqualmie.

An avalanche warning was still in effect Friday in the Cascades backcountry due to a complex weather system that has thrown out everything but the kitchen sink. The heavy rain of late has created stress on the deep snowfall from this past week. The Northwest Avalanche Center’s website listed the avalanche hazard as “high” near and above the tree line, and “considerable to moderate” below the tree line.

A skier at Mount Baker finds deep powder on the steep hillsides. Photo courtesy of Mount Baker Ski Area.

When traveling in the backcountry it is important to ski or ride with a partner(s), and stay in visual contact with each other; let others know of your travel plans; avoid tree wells and keep a safe distance from trees; stay on groomed runs; and avoid unmarked areas in off boundary areas of ski resorts. For more information, go to or

This warning doesn’t apply to ski areas where avalanche prevention operations are maintained, but getting there could be a problem due to temporary road closures.

Before heading to the slopes be sure to check the Washington Department of Transportation website at for possible road closures. The road to Stevens Pass was closed again on Friday due to heavy snowfall and avalanche danger (eastbound was stopped at Milepost 58 at Scenic, and westbound at Milepost 64 at Stevens Pass summit). Interstate 90 was open, but could have temporary closures this weekend.

The Loup Loup Ski Bowl – located between Twisp and Okanogan on Highway 20 – is open Wednesday, and Friday to Sunday from 9 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. with a 46-inch base (3 inches new snow). The Hurricane Ridge Ski and Snowboard Area in Olympic National Park is open Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., weather conditions permitting.

Inner-tubing or sledding and snowshoeing options are Paradise at Mount Rainier National Park; the Summit at Snoqualmie tubing center; Lake Wenatchee State Park; Leavenworth Winter Sports Club; Hurricane Ridge; Stevens Pass; Lower Gold Creek Basin; Lake Wenatchee State Park; Suncadia Tubing Hill near Cle Elum; Echo Valley; and Sno-Parks at Hyak, Oldham Pass and Lake Wenatchee. Be sure to check with each area before going to make sure they are open.

Ranger-guided guided snowshoe walks are also offered at the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest and Hurricane Ridge. Snowshoe rentals are available at the Summit at Snoqualmie and Stevens Pass Resort with accessible trails nearby.

Fresh snow covers the hills at Stevens Pass Resort. Photo courtesy of Stevens Pass Resort.

Cross-country skiers have plenty of good options to choose from including Lake Wenatchee State Park; Scottish Lakes High Camp; Paradise in Mount Rainier National Park; Mazama; Echo Ridge; Methow Trails; Leavenworth Winter Sports Club; White Pass; Stevens Pass; and Cabin Creek, east of Snoqualmie off I-90.

In Montana, Whitefish Resort is open daily with a 129-inch base (10 inches new snow), and has 101 trails and 10 lifts open with night skiing offered Friday and Saturday. Big Sky Resort is open daily with a 55- to 82-inch base (3 to 5 inches new snow).

Open daily in British Columbia are Cypress (168-inch base); Whistler-Blackcomb (119); Mount Seymour (148-184); Grouse (98-126); Whitewater (120-122); Mount Washington (78-91); Revelstoke (101); Hudson Bay (42-63); Big White (94); Sun Peaks (76-88); Silver Star (57-87); Kicking Horse (39-82); Fernie (61-122); Panorama (36-58); and Red (28-98).

Open daily in Idaho are Lookout Pass (124-141); Schweitzer (80-120); Tamarack (53-122); Sun Valley (61-123); Brundage Mountain (80-115); Bogus Basin (92-96); Silver (82-94); and Pomerelle (155-166).

Open daily in Oregon are Mount Hood Meadows (137-209); Mount Bachelor (129-166); Mount Ashland (120-180, closed on Friday); Willamette Pass (75-112); Hoodoo (114); Timberline (180); and Mount Hood Ski Bowl (83-92).

Upcoming slope-side events

The Spring Splash Pond Skim is noon to 6 p.m. on Saturday at Summit West. The Wilder Side Sunday Event, 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday, is promoted as a “rad freeride event” for young skiers and snowboarders. Details:

The IFSA Junior National Freeride competition is this weekend as competitors hit the steeps on Gabl’s Run under Chair 5 at Mount Baker Ski Area. Come watch skiers and snowboarders 18 and under take on the steeps. Details:

The summit shack at Mission Ridge offers spectacular views of Wenatchee and the Columbia River valley.

Come watch the Slayride Banked Slalom Race on Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Stevens Pass Resort. Money raised from the event will go to Seattle’s Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Details:

The Top of the Hill Adult Workshop is 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday at White Pass Ski Area. This seminar offers skiers and snowboarders of all abilities age 18-and-older the opportunity to build their skills with instructional staff. Details:

The Dummy Downhill Event is 4 p.m. Saturday at the Mission Ridge Ski & Board Resort. Come watch as creatively-made “dummies” are launched downhill and over a giant ski jump. The resort has also announced an extended spring season with lifts operating on April 6-7, 13-14, 22-23 and 29-30. The area will offer a “spring pass” for $139 for adults age 25-and-older, $119 for age 18-24; $99 for age 10-17; and $15 for under age nine. Details:

A partnership on a new season pass by Crystal Mountain, Stevens Pass and The Summit at Snoqualmie will be offered for the 2017-18 ski season. Skiers and snowboarders will have the option to add a “Cascadia Pass” to a qualifying season pass from one of these resorts. This provides season-pass holders three unrestricted days at each of other partner resorts for just $199 if purchased by May 31. Season passes will go on sale later this month at all three resorts. Details:, and

The free Whistler-Blackcomb Resort’s Ice Show is 7 p.m. every Sunday through March 26 at the Whistler Resort Village. Come see performers celebrate the winter with music, dance, a fireworks show and where world-class athletes flip and twist through a ring of fire. Details:

Latest snow and lift reports:

Which ski areas are open and closed:




Summit West, Snoqualmie Open: Closed Friday, and Monday to March 17; 9am-5pm Saturday and Sunday, and March 18-19 (3 to 5 inches new snow) 106 inches

Summit Central, Snoqualmie Open: 9am-10pm Friday and Saturday, and Monday to March 18; 9am-5pm Sunday, and March 19 (3 to 5 inches new snow) 106 inches

Summit East, Snoqualmie Open: Closed Friday, and Monday to March 17; 9am-4pm Saturday and Sunday, and March 18-19 (3 to 5 inches new snow) 106 inches

Nordic Center, Snoqualmie Open: Closed Friday, and Monday to March 17; 9am-4pm Saturday and Sunday, and March 18-19 (3 to 5 inches new snow) 106 inches

Alpental, Snoqualmie Open: Closed Friday and Monday; 9am-4pm Saturday and Sunday, and Tuesday to March 19 (3 to 5 inches new snow) 124-187 inches

Mount Baker Ski Area Open daily: 9am-3:30pm (2 to 8 inches new snow) 178-226 inches

Crystal Mountain Open daily: 9am-4pm (2 to 3 inches new snow) 79-105 inches

Stevens Pass Open daily: Plans to reopen at 4 p.m. on Friday for night skiing; otherwise open 9am-4pm daily; night skiing until 10 pm Saturday, and March 17-18; cross-country trails are open Saturday and Sunday (2 to 8 inches new snow) 114-133 inches

White Pass Open daily: 8:45am-4pm; night skiing until 9pm this Saturday only (1 to 2 inches new snow) 109-125 inches

Mission Ridge Ski & Board Open: 9am-4pm Friday to Sunday, and Thursday to March 19; closed Monday to Wednesday (3 to 8 inches new snow) 54-67 inches

49° North Mountain Open: 9am-4pm Friday to Tuesday, and March 17-19; closed Wednesday and Thursday (2 to 14 inches new snow) 113-183 inches

Mt. Spokane Ski & Snowboard Open: 9am-9:30pm Friday and Saturday; 9am-4pm Sunday, and Wednesday to March 19; closed Monday and Tuesday (3.5 inches new snow) 77-100 inches

Ski Bluewood Open: 9am-4pm Thursday to Sunday; closed Monday to Wednesday (5 inches new snow) 92-108 inches

Whistler-Blackcomb Open daily: 9am-5pm (8 inches new snow) 119 inches

Mt. Bachelor Open daily: 9am-4pm (1-inch new snow) 129-166 inches

Leavenworth Winter Sports Club Open: Nordic trails are open daily are 8K at Icicle River and 7K at ski hill; ski hill open Friday, Saturday and Sunday (2 inches new snow)
 26 inches

Methow Trails Open daily: All nordic trails open at Sun Mountain, Rendezvous, Winthrop and Mazama (4 to 6 inches new snow) 35 inches