Cascades' prodigious snow levels equal fine early ski season
Chilly, sunny days after series of storms mean great holiday skiing at Cascade resorts.
Seattle Times staff reporter
The Cascades were pounded by a series of snowstorms the past two weeks, creating a blissful early ski and snowboard season.
Snow accumulations have been measured over 100 inches at Mission Ridge, Mount Baker, Crystal Mountain, Stevens Pass, Alpental and White Pass.
"We've received 124 inches of snow in November and December," Jordan Lindstrom, the Mission Ridge Ski Area marketing director said. "We're on track for one of the best snow totals ever for those two months, which was 133 inches in 1996-97. This is already the second best total since record keeping began 42 years ago.
Lindstrom said that skier and snowboarder visits are up 32 percent over the previous five years, and made a prediction: "This will go down as one of the best early ski seasons we've seen in a long time."
More than nine feet of snow has fallen at Crystal Mountain Resort since last week. That puts the area 150 percent above normal for this time of year.
The wintry weather will fade away by Friday, bringing on chilly and mostly sunny days this weekend and heading into the New Year.
Mission Ridge is operating 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. through Jan. 7 with four lifts and 44 trails open, including 33 groomed. Mission received a trace Wednesday night, and has a base of 42 inches and a summit total of 62 inches.
Stevens Pass Resort is open 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. through Jan. 5, and 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Jan. 6 with 37 trails open (29 are groomed) and 10 lifts in operation. Stevens received 1.5 inches Wednesday night, and has an 80-inch base and 84 inches on the summit. The nordic center is open daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The Summit at Snoqualmie, Summit West and Alpental are open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Summit Central 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.; and Summit East 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The Summit Tubing Center is open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., and the nordic center 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
All four areas received 6 inches Wednesday night, and the base at Summit West is 70 inches, and Alpental has a base of 83 inches and 128 inches on the summit.
The Mount Baker Ski Area is open 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. It received 2 inches Wednesday night, and has 164 inches at Pan Dome base and 138 inches at Heather Meadows.
Crystal Mountain Resort has 10 lifts open daily 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and was layered with 2 inches Wednesday night. Their base is 74 inches and a summit total of 100 inches. The main trails are groomed, and many hillsides are covered with deep, soft powder.
White Pass is open daily 8:45 a.m. to 4 p.m., with seven lifts leading to 47 trails open and 45 groomed. White Pass received 3 inches Wednesday night, and has a 66-inch base and a summit depth of 102 inches.
On the Olympic Peninsula, Hurricane Ridge will reopen Saturday through Monday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with two lifts running on base of 102 inches and 107 inches on the summit. They received 12 inches Wednesday night.
In Eastern Washington, 49 Degrees North is open daily 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and got a trace Wednesday night with a 42-inch base and 94 inches on the summit. All chairs are operating with 82 trails open and 24 groomed. Night skiing is open Saturday.
Ski Bluewood is open daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. with a half-an-inch Wednesday night, and a base of 57 inches and the summit has 61 inches. Three lifts are operating with 24 trails and seven are groomed.
Mount Spokane Ski and Snowboard Park is open Wednesdays to Saturdays 9 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., and Sundays and Mondays 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. with all chairs operating and 30 trails groomed. It received 1 inch Wednesday night with a base of 57 inches and 77 inches on the summit. Also make plans to ski on New Year's Day from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Slope side events
• Mount Baker offers a "Best for Beginners Package," which includes a full day equipment rental, beginner lift ticket and lesson for $49. The Legendary Banked Slalom Race is Feb. 8-10. Details: http://mtbaker.us/
• Whistler-Blackcomb Resort Fire and Ice Show is 7:30 p.m. on New Year's Eve at the Skiers Plaza in Whistler Village. View the fireworks show, fire spinners along with skiers and snowboarders hitting jumps and flying through rings of fire. The show is also held every Sunday at 6:30 p.m. Details: www.whistlerblackcomb.com
• Brundage Mountain Resort's Light Up the Night is 4:30 to 10 p.m. Dec. 29, and features a hillside fireworks show, torchlight parade and the pray for snow bonfire. Details: www.brundage.com.
• The Sun Valley Resort USSA Freestyle Spectacular in Idaho is Jan. 10-13 on Bald and Dollar Mountains. The event consists of a mogul competition, and slope style and half-pipe competitions. Details: www.sunvalley.com
• White Pass Ski Area New York New Year's Eve Celebration is 5 to 9 p.m. with live music and dancing. No reservations necessary for dinner from 6 to 7:30 p.m., and choose a prime rib dinner for $21.95 or spaghetti dinner for $10.95. Details: www.skiwhitepass.com
• Mount Hood Meadows Resort is throwing a New Year's Eve Bash featuring a fireworks show at 10 p.m., a dinner buffet from 5 to 9 p.m., live music and dancing until 2:15 a.m., and night skiing until midnight. Also be safe by taking a bus that leaves Clackamas at 3 p.m. and returns at 12:30 a.m. Special hotel rates are also being offered. Details: www.skihood.com.
• The Baker Beacon Rally is 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Jan. 6 at the Mount Baker's Heather Meadows Base Area, and is a free educational event where avalanche professionals share rescue skills and promote mountain safety. Register online at www.rei.com/bellingham.
• The U.S. Airbag Jump Tour is coming to the White Pass Ski Area on Jan. 4-6. Details: www.USAirbag.com.
• The Crystal Mountain Resort First Tracks Breakfast and Summit Dinners are held on Saturdays. Details: http://crystalmountainresort.com/.
• The Summit at Snoqualmie has partnered with Mission Ridge to offer free midweek lift tickets by showing the 2012-13 Big S Pass at the ticket window through April 7. Special is not valid Dec. 26 to Jan. 2. Summit pass holders are also eligible for one complimentary ticket at Mission Ridge on Sunday when they purchase a full-price ticket Saturday.
• Mission Ridge has a special Learn to Ski in 3 for $99, which includes three lessons, three lift tickets and three rentals. Details: www.missionridge.com
• Whitefish Mountain, ranked 11th by a SKI Magazine reader survey, has a 20 percent discount for Amtrak overnight rides for Washington skiers and snowboarders. Details: www.amtrak.com
• Special offer at Mount Spokane Ski and Snowboard Park is adults can purchase three tickets or a youth can get five tickets for $99.
Mark Yuasa: 206-464-8780 or email@example.com