Wednesday's snow was bad for lowland commuters but great for skiers and snowboarders at Western Washington resorts.
Jason Froula has been skiing Northwest slopes since age 2. Now 37, he knows well the usual “Cascade concrete” snow conditions — but Wednesday, the snow was nothing like that.
“This has got to be what Colorado is like: Skis or boards are buried, and you ride right through,” said Froula, who snowboarded The Summit at Snoqualmie on Wednesday. “It’s probably a couple feet deep of fresh powder. It’s so light, you couldn’t make a snowball if you wanted to.”
Ski resorts all over the Cascades are so buried in fresh powder that they’re reporting it in feet, not inches. Lift lines were mostly short. For those who braved the drive, the word “epic” came up often.
The snowfall also provided a shot in the arm, in the words of one enthusiast, to a ski industry suffering through an usually dry winter thus far. Mount Baker, usually endowed with the deepest snowpack, reports about half the snowpack from the La Niña year of 2008.
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On Wednesday, Stevens Pass reported getting 16 inches in 24 hours, including 5 during the day. Ninety minutes before lifts opened at 9 a.m., the parking lot was already filling up.
“For Northwest skiers, these are the days we wait for,” said Nate Escalona, marketing manager for Stevens Pass. “Surfers wait for the big surf days, and these conditions are what we wait for.”
At Crystal Mountain, gusts up to 85 mph on Wednesday morning closed all but four, lower-mountain lifts. Winds also cut short skiing Tuesday.
That has left much of a huge dump — nearly 4 feet in the past four days — largely untouched, said Kalela Robison, a spokeswoman for Crystal.
“[Thursday] we think is going to be the day. All that untracked snow we got today, on top of what we’ll get overnight, will be accessible tomorrow.”
White Pass wasn’t hit with the high winds but got 38 inches of snow in 36 hours. “It’s hard to imagine it being any better than it is right now,” said resort spokeswoman Kathleen Goyette.
Froula, snowboarding with his wife, Mandy, and sons Ethan, 8, and Isaac, 6, planned to spend the night at the Summit after learning school was canceled Thursday.
Fearing that news of the great conditions would lengthen lift lines, Froula said, “Tell them it’s terrible, awful.”
Jonathan Martin: 206-464-2605 or email@example.com. On Twitter @jmartin206.