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The only struggle you’ll find on the Cascade hillsides in the days ahead is the extremely cold temperatures, but skiing and snowboarding conditions remain excellent at all ski areas from the recent snowfall.

Light snow showers added to the already solid bases on Thursday, and will give way to mostly sunny skies through Saturday, which means you should pack along a pair of sunglasses.

Another weather system arrives Sunday bringing anywhere from 1 to 3 inches of snow, and a series of fronts will continue to drop more snow through Wednesday.

So far this season, Mount Baker Ski Area received 229 inches of snow with a whopping 74 inches of fresh powder in the past 11 days. Crystal Mountain Resort has 100 inches, and the Summit at Snoqualmie topped out for the moment at 102 inches. White Pass has received 113 inches at their base and 145 inches on top.

Skiers and riders should use extreme caution and stay within the roped boundaries of resorts.

A missing skier was safely found Monday at Crystal Mountain Resort after getting lost on Sunday, but another skier at Alpental wasn’t so lucky after falling into a tree well – a hollow area in the snow around the base of a tree – and suffocated to death.

For safety always ski or ride with one or more partners and stay within visual contact of each other; 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

For the non-skiers, the tubing center at the Summit at Snoqualmie will begin operations this Friday through Dec. 25 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Cross-country skiers can head east to the Methow Valley, Lake Wenatchee State Park, Leavenworth Winter Sports Club, White Pass, Stevens Pass and Cabin Creek, located east of Snoqualmie Pass. For details on cross-country skiing, read my recent outdoors column at

At Mount Rainier National Park the gate to Paradise at Longmire was open on Thursday. All vehicles must carry tire chains, and two-wheel vehicles were required to 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. A minimum of five feet of snow is necessary for sledding, to protect fragile alpine meadows. The park hopes to open the area no later than Dec. 23.

The snow-pack at Paradise is currently deep enough to allow snowshoeing, snowboarding and cross-country skiing. Ranger-guided snowshoe walks at Paradise are scheduled Dec. 23 through March 26 on weekends and holidays when the visitor center is open.

Elsewhere in Washington, the Loup Loup Ski Area – located between Twisp and Okanogan on Highway 20 – has a base of 9 inches and 15 inches on top, and was expected to open this Friday depending on snow conditions. On the Olympic Peninsula, the Hurricane Ridge Ski & Snowboard Area will be open on weekends.

In Montana, Whitefish Resort is open for the winter season with a 49-inch base and 79 trails open.

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 (59-61); Mount Washington Alpine Resort (48-65); Revelstoke Mountain Resort (30-48); Hudson Bay Mountain (25-45); Big White (50); Sun Peaks (33-44); Silver Star (22-47); Kicking Horse (11-39); Fernie Alpine (22-47); and Panorama Mountain (9-27). Red Mountain Resort (41) opens Saturday.

Open daily in Idaho are Lookout Pass (75-83); Schweitzer Mountain Resort (24-44); Tamarack Resort (28-41); Sun Valley (30-40); Brundage Mountain Resort (38-47); and Bogus Basin (25). Silver Mountain (24-30) is open Friday to Sunday; and Pomerelle Mountain Resort (25-33) is open this weekend.

Open daily in Oregon are Mount Hood Meadows (75-108); Mount Bachelor (78-98); Mount Hood Skibowl (48-58); Timberline Lodge (99); Mount Ashland (42); and Willamette Pass (42-52). Hoodoo Ski Area (48) 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 (1 inch new snow) 47 inches

Summit Central, Snoqualmie Open daily: 9am-4pm; night skiing 4pm-10pm Thu-Sat and Dec. 19-23 (1 inch new snow) 47 inches

Summit East, Snoqualmie Closed: Stay tuned for official opening date (1 inch new snow) 47 inches

Nordic Center, Snoqualmie Closed: Open 9am-3pm Sat-Sun and Dec. 24-25 (1 inch new snow) 47 inches

Alpental, Snoqualmie Open: 9am-4pm Thu-Sun, and Tue-Dec. 25 (1 inch new snow) 52-94 inches

Mount Baker Ski Area Open daily: 9am-3:30pm (no new snow) 84-122 inches

Crystal Mountain Open daily: 9am-4pm (2 inches new snow) 37-104 inches

Stevens Pass Open daily: 9am-4pm (2 inches new snow) 47-120 inches

White Pass Open daily: 8:45am-4pm (3 inches new snow) 42-62 inches

Mission Ridge Ski & Board Open: Daily starting Fri 9am-4pm (2 inches new snow) 21 inches

49° North Mountain Open: 9am-3:30pm Fri-Tue (trace new snow) 27-36 inches

Mt. Spokane Ski & Snowboard Open: 9am-4pm Fri-Sun, and night skiing begins Fri (trace new snow) 25-32 inches

Ski Bluewood Open daily: 9am-4pm (7 inches new snow) 40-53 inches

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

Mt. Bachelor Open daily: 9am-4pm (10-19 inches new snow) 75-93 inches

Leavenworth Winter Sports Club Closed: Icicle River trails open, tubing hill open daily starting Sat (1/2 inch new snow)
 9 inches

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