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Originally published Friday, December 5, 2008 at 9:04 AM

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Mt. Baker ski area hopes to open next week

Washington ski areas still closed; Mt. Baker may open next week.

Skiers and snowboarders itching for Mt. Baker to open will have to pin their hopes on next week.

A high-pressure system that has been blocking storms from rolling in could break down this weekend, according to Gwyn Howat, one of the ski area's operations managers.

If that happens — and the fronts that roll in are cold enough to bring snow to build the base from its existing 6 inches to 24 inches — then the season could start at the end of next week.

The best chance for snow is Monday night into Tuesday, Howat said.

Mt. Baker is usually the first in the state to open, and other Washington resorts aren't yet open. Crystal Mountain, the state's largest ski area, has bare slopes. (However, in British Columbia Whistler-Blackcomb is open.) Mt. Baker usually opens in mid-November or at the end of the month. Last year, Baker opened on Nov. 29.

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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