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The extended bitter cold temperatures are finally coming to an end, and more mountain snow – possibly a lot of it – is expected to cover the icy slopes heading into next week.

Light snow showers are forecast for the mountains to begin late Friday and into Saturday with a slight bump of the freezing level up to 500 feet, and a better punch of snowfall in the 3- to 6-inch range will arrive by Sunday. The snow level is going to bounce around from 1,500 to 3,000 feet, and then dip to 1,500 feet by Monday.

The morning glows along the hillsides at Whistler-Blackcomb Resort. Photo courtesy of Micth Winton at Coast Mountain Photography and Whistler-Blackcomb Resort.

Expected snowfall through Monday is 9 to 21 inches at Mount Baker Ski Area; 9 to 19 inches at Stevens Pass; 8 to 18 inches at the Summit at Snoqualmie; 10 to 19 inches at Crystal Mountain; and 12 to 22 inches at White Pass.

The extended forecast has a series of fronts pushing through the Pacific Northwest that are expected to bring another good dose of snow to the hillsides through Wednesday.

John Gifford, president of the Pacific Northwest Ski Areas Association, said snowfall through Dec. 31 in Oregon and Washington was up 105 to 148 percent of the annual average.

Skiers and snowboarders take on moguls at Crystal Mountain Resort. (Bettina Hansen/The Seattle Times)

The brunt of the upcoming storms is tracking into southern Oregon and northern California, where up to five feet of snow is predicted in the Sierra range. Some weather gurus are forecasting an epic major “atmospheric river” event that has the potential to drop 10 to 15 feet of snow. Stay tuned…

With these major snowfalls, many will venture to the backcountry in search of untouched powder that brings the potential of avalanches and other hazards.

A 64-year-old woman was found buried Thursday in an avalanche outside of the Crystal Mountain Resort ski area boundary. The ski patrol said it appeared the woman, who was well-known in the Crystal Mountain community, died from asphyxiation, and had been ski-touring alone in the backcountry when she triggered the avalanche sometime on Wednesday.

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

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

Upcoming slope-side events:

The “Smash Life! Banked Slalom” event is 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday at the Alpental Ski Area. Cost is $25 with online registration only. Details:

The Legendary Banked Slalom Race at the Mount Baker Ski Area is Feb. 10-12. Details:

There are plenty of events happening at Crystal Mountain Resort, and first up is an adult Freeride Camp with Drew Tabke on Saturday and Sunday. A Military Appreciation Day is 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Wednesday with half-price lift tickets. Details:

The White Pass Ski Area is hosting a free Adult Top of the Hill Workshop from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. Details:

A guided Twilight Snowshoe Trek is 5 p.m. on Saturday at the Mission Ridge Ski & Board Resort. Cost is $10 plus $15 for snowshoe rentals. Details:

The Whistler-Blackcomb Resort heli-skiing season offer skiers and riders a chance to hit untracked powder and soak in the wonderful scenery of the Pacific Ranges of the Coast Mountains on the northwestern edge of Garibaldi Provincial Park. Choose level-of-ability trips from intermediate to expert. Details:

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

Loup Loup Ski Bowl – located between Twisp and Okanogan on Highway 20 – is open daily from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The North Summit and Bear Mountain Nordic trails are open and groomed, and the base area is open for snowshoeing.

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 permitting.

Inner-tubing or sledding is open at the Paradise snow-play area at Mount Rainier National Park; Summit at Snoqualmie tubing center; Leavenworth Winter Sports Club; Hurricane Ridge; Stevens Pass; Lake Wenatchee State Park; Mount Spokane; Suncadia Tubing Hill near Cle Elum; Hyak Sno-Park; and Echo Valley.

In Montana, Whitefish Resort is open for the winter season with a 67-inch base with 101 trails open and 10 lifts operating (night skiing offered Friday and Saturday).

Open daily in British Columbia are Cypress Mountain (118-inch base); Whistler Blackcomb Resort (72); Mount Seymour (101-127); Grouse Mountain (112-133); Whitewater Ski Resort (69); Mount Washington Alpine Resort (53-54); Revelstoke Mountain Resort (39-71); Hudson Bay Mountain (37-49); Big White (63); Sun Peaks (43-56); Silver Star (33-55); Kicking Horse (20-42); Fernie Alpine (33-70); Panorama Mountain (18-36); and Red Mountain Resort (55).

Open daily in Idaho are Lookout Pass (101-118); Schweitzer Mountain Resort (32-57); Tamarack Resort (31-46); Sun Valley (52-68); Brundage Mountain Resort (34-50); Bogus Basin (51); Silver Mountain (42-48); and Pomerelle Mountain Resort (70-81).

Open daily in Oregon are Mount Hood Meadows (76-146); Mount Bachelor (89-103); Mount Ashland (54-64); Willamette Pass (68-96); Hoodoo Ski Area (67); Anthony Lakes Mountain Resort (46); Timberline Lodge (104); Mount Hood Ski Bowl (56-71); Cooper Spur (23).

Latest snow and lift reports:

Which ski areas are open and closed:




Summit West, Snoqualmie Open: 4pm-10pm Friday, and Jan. 11-13; 9am-10pm Saturday and Jan. 14; 9am-5pm Sunday and Jan. 15; closed Monday and Tuesday 56 inches

Summit Central, Snoqualmie Open: 9am-10pm Friday to Saturday, and Jan. 8-15; 9am-5pm Sunday 56 inches

Summit East, Snoqualmie Open: 9am-3:30pm Saturday and Sunday, and Jan. 14-15; closed Friday, and Jan. 8-13 56 inches

Nordic Center, Snoqualmie Open: 9am-3:30pm Friday to Sunday and Jan. 13-15; closed Jan. 8-12 56 inches

Alpental, Snoqualmie Open: 9am-10pm Friday to Saturday, and Jan. 10-14; 9am-4pm Sunday and Jan. 15; closed Monday 63-107 inches

Mount Baker Ski Area Open daily: 9am-3:30pm 102-151 inches

Crystal Mountain Open daily: 9am-4pm 44-59 inches

Stevens Pass Open daily: 9am-4pm; night skiing until 10 pm Friday to Sunday, and Jan. 11-15 62-73 inches

White Pass Open daily: 8:45am-4pm; night skiing until 9 pm on Saturdays only 61-76 inches

Mission Ridge Ski & Board Open: 9am-4pm; closed Tuesday and Wednesday; and night skiing until 8 p.m. on Saturdays only 48-60 inches

49° North Mountain Open: 9am-3:30pm Friday to Tuesday; closed Wednesday and Thursday 50-69 inches

Mt. Spokane Ski & Snowboard Open: 9am-4pm Sunday; 9am-9:30pm Wednesday to Saturday; closed Monday and Tuesday 40-47 inches

Ski Bluewood Open: 9am-4pm Wednesday to Sunday 50-63 inches

Whistler-Blackcomb Open daily: 9am-5pm 72 inches

Mt. Bachelor Open daily: 9am-4pm 89-103 inches

Leavenworth Winter Sports Club Open: All nordic trails open daily; tubing open 9:30am-5pm Friday to Sunday; ski hill open 9:30am-6pm Friday to Sunday
 16 inches

Methow Trails Open daily: All nordic trails open at Sun Mountain, Rendezvous, Winthrop (Bob Trail is closed) and Mazama 14 inches