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Adding an extra layer of clothing under the parka and packing along a pair of shades for the slopes will be necessities in the next couple of days with chilly temperatures and sunshine.

Then look for change as a series of vigorous weather systems are expected to bring more powdery snow along the Cascade hillsides starting Sunday and heading into early next week.

Forecasters say the northern Cascades will benefit the most as Mount Baker Ski Area will see 16 to 26 inches by Monday; Stevens Pass 6 to 14 inches; and Alpental at the Summit at Snoqualmie 6 to 13 inches. Ski areas to the south will also get their share of accumulation with 3 to 5 inches at Crystal Mountain and White Pass.

It looks like weather forecasters hit the bullseye on the predicted impacts of La Niña bringing wave after wave of robust and active storm tracks. While winter doesn’t officially begin until Dec. 21 look for continued above-average amounts of snowfall. Cooler weather is expected to carry on into the months ahead.

Many Pacific Northwest resorts are shifting into daily holiday operations along with a myriad of activities in the weeks ahead.

Staying safe on the mountains is key for skiers and snowboarders, and the Mount Baker Ski Area is offering a free backcountry seminar titled the “Baker Beacon Rally” at 11 a.m. Saturday at Heather Meadows near Chair 1. The event will feature local avalanche professionals covering topics such as avalanche rescue skills and mountain safety.

Crystal Mountain Resort’s “Ski With Santa” is 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at Discovery Meadow base area and Sundeck. Ski with Santa, take pictures, enjoy a candy cane and more.

The Masters Kickoff Classic Giant Slalom Race is 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday at the Summit at Snoqualmie. The event is for USSA Masters members, but others may obtain a temporary license. Details:

The International Women’s Ski Day is Saturday at Stevens Pass Resort. The goal of the event is to promote and encourage more women to hit the slopes, and includes discounted tickets, lessons and rental gear, plus a wide range of other fun activities throughout the day. Pre-register at

Get the kids involved on the hillside with the White Pass Ski Area’s Kids’ Clinic Series from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. this Saturday and Sunday. It is open for ages 5 to 12, and includes instruction, lunch, snacks and a lift ticket. Kids who sign up for the season receive a free season pass. Other dates are: Jan. 14-15; Feb. 11-12 and March 11-12. Details:

The Mission Ridge Ski & Board Resort free Christmas on the Mountain Event is 2 to 5 p.m. this Saturday. Activities include face painting, gingerbread decorating, a special reading of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” s’mores around the campfire and a visit from Santa. Hang around until nightfall to see the torchlight parade.

The Whistler Blackcomb Resort heli-skiing season began earlier this month, offering 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:

For the non-skiers, the tubing center at the Summit at Snoqualmie has begun daily operations through Dec. 25, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Nordic grooming has started at the Echo Ridge Nordic Ski Area – 10 miles north of Chelan – on the Chelan Ranger District, with a good snow base and corduroy conditions on many trails. Be aware there are thin spots on some trail sections with about 24 miles for skate and classic skiing, and nine miles of snowshoe trails. Details:

Other early-season cross-country skiing options are the Methow Valley, Lake Wenatchee State Park, Leavenworth Winter Sports Club, White Pass, Stevens Pass, and Cabin Creek, located east of Snoqualmie Pass.

At Mount Rainier National Park the gate to Paradise at Longmire was open on Friday. All vehicles must carry tire chains, and two-wheel vehicles were required the chain up at the Nisqually gate.

The Paradise snow-play area – the only area in the park where sledding is allowed – hasn’t yet opened for the season, but is expected to open no later than Dec. 23. The snowpack is currently deep enough to allow snowshoeing, snowboarding and cross-country skiing.

In Montana, Whitefish Resort is open for the winter season with a 50-inch base with 1 to 2 inches of new snow. There are 79 trails open with four lifts operating.

Open daily in British Columbia are Cypress Mountain (96-inch base); Whistler Blackcomb Resort (63); Mount Seymour (69-89); Grouse Mountain (69-83); Whitewater Ski Resort (56-58); Mount Washington Alpine Resort (47-64); Revelstoke Mountain Resort (30-48); Hudson Bay Mountain (25-45); Big White (50); Sun Peaks (34-44); Silver Star (22-43); Kicking Horse (11-37); Fernie Alpine (22-46); Panorama Mountain (10-26); and Red Mountain Resort (42).

Open daily in Idaho are Lookout Pass (57-73); Schweitzer Mountain Resort (24-44); Tamarack Resort (28-41); Sun Valley (30-40); Brundage Mountain Resort (34-40); Bogus Basin (29); and Silver Mountain (35-40). Pomerelle Mountain Resort (25-33) is open this weekend.

Open daily in Oregon are Mount Hood Meadows (71-105); Mount Bachelor (75-93); Mount Hood Skibowl (46-60); Timberline Lodge (97); Mount Ashland (42-58); Cooper Spur (6-12); and Willamette Pass (52-60). Hoodoo Ski Area (65) and Anthony Lakes Mountain Resort (34) are open this weekend.

Latest snow and lift reports:

Which ski areas are open and closed:




Summit West, Snoqualmie Open: 9am-4pm Sat-Sun, and Dec. 24-25 (no new snow) 45 inches

Summit Central, Snoqualmie Open daily: 9am-4pm; night skiing 4pm-10pm Fri-Sat and Dec. 19-23 (no new snow) 45 inches

Summit East, Snoqualmie Closed: Stay tuned for official opening date (no new snow) 45 inches

Nordic Center, Snoqualmie Closed: Open 9am-3pm Sat-Sun and Dec. 24-25 (no new snow) 45 inches

Alpental, Snoqualmie Open: 9am-4pm Fri-Sun, and Tue-Dec. 25 (no new snow) 50-92 inches

Mount Baker Ski Area Open daily: 9am-3:30pm (no new snow) 82-120 inches

Crystal Mountain Open daily: 9am-4pm (no new snow) 37-104 inches

Stevens Pass Open daily: 9am-4pm (no new snow) 44-120 inches

White Pass Open daily: 8:45am-4pm (no new snow) 42-61 inches

Mission Ridge Ski & Board Open daily: 9am-4pm (no new snow) 21 inches

49° North Mountain Open: 9am-3:30pm Fri-Tue (trace to 1 inch new snow) 28-39 inches

Mt. Spokane Ski & Snowboard Open: 9am-9:30pm Wed-Sat, 9am-4pm Sun-Tue  (no new snow) 25-31 inches

Ski Bluewood Open daily: 9am-4pm (2 inches new snow) 39-52 inches

Whistler-Blackcomb Open daily: 9am-5pm (no new snow) 63 inches

Mt. Bachelor Open daily: 9am-4pm (no new snow) 75-93 inches

Leavenworth Winter Sports Club Open: Icicle River trails open, tubing hill open daily starting Sat (no new snow)
 8 inches

Methow Trails Open: Sun Mountain, Rendezvous, Winthrop and Mazama has some trails open (trace new snow) 6 inches