Photo by Staff Member Connor Smyth-Hammond / Crystal Mountain 12/2/16
By Greg Whittaker
It has been a great early season for snow lovers and enthusiastic skiers and snowboarders in Washington.
Several areas are now open, and the final areas are anticipating opening by the end of next week if all things remain consistently cool and wet.
Quite a few of the Mountain to Sound shop team have skied and snowboarded at Crystal so far, and reports are good for early season. “12 more inches and it is filled in and everything will be open” says Nate Bales shop GM. Yours truly was able to sneak out after the Thanksgiving holiday rush to ride up at Crystal Mountain on Monday. With 7-inches of fresh snow and the sun peeking out between the intermittent clouds, it was as good of an opening day that I have had in a decade. Laps up top were the best with Rainier Express, and Green Valley chairlifts being the primary runs for the early season open. Reports are that Forest Queen Express is open today and Chair 6 will be opening on Saturday for those who like the steeps.
Mt. Baker has the deepest base in the US as of this week, with continuous snow hitting all week and a base snow depth of 62” at the bottom of the hill. The Canyon opened yesterday and powder runs were “cold smoke”, which for the newbie’s means really light and fluffy blower snow, which we get once and a while but they don’t call our region the home of “Cascade concrete” for nothing.
Stevens Pass is open for business and is spinning the Skyline, Hogsback, Daisy, Brooks, and Tye Mill chairs from 9am to 4pm, and the Top Phlight Terrain Park will be open with at least 18 features. Lift tickets will cost $45 for ages 16-69, $33 for ages 7-15, and $15 for ages 70+. Discounted for a little bit longer until more terrain opens up, which will be soon.
Summit at Snoqualmie is hopeful and reports, “The forecast is calling for the potential for another couple inches of snow today, but what’s really got us perked up is the weather that’s predicted to come in later this weekend! While we still need a bit more snow on our lower slopes and around our lift load areas, it feels like we’re not too far off getting things started. Yesterday our grooming manager spent some more time out on the hill track packing a bunch of main areas in preparation… Pray for snow and keep those dances up, it all seems to be helping us get closer to opening day!”
White Pass has announced, “Opening Day is Saturday, December 3! Running Great White, platter & carpet.” So it’s time to head up there and visit our resort to the south.
Here are links to local ski areas so you can visit their sites for the most up to date info. If you want to contribute, come by Mountain to Sound Outfitters and let us know how your trip was or feel free to post in the comment section.
Make sure you check the WSDOT Pass Reports for driving conditions.
Greg Whittaker is the owner of Mountain to Sound Outfitters your West Seattle ski, snowboard, kayak, and paddle board experts that can also rack out your car so you can carry all that gear that wont fit in your trunk.