There is a silver lining to all the rainy, gloomy weather that's been blanketing the Puget Sound region over the past several days—if you're a skier or snowboarder, that is.
Winter sport enthusiasts can once again expect a great early-season weekend at most Washington ski resorts. The one obvious exception to the positive outlook is Mt. Baker Ski Area, where nearly 100 downed trees have blocked the only access road to the resort. WSDOT says the highway—and the ski area—will remain closed through the weekend.
Wherever you're heading this weekend, be sure to check road conditions and carry all the appropriate equipment and emergency gear before hitting the mountain passes. Here is how things are shaping up for the final pre-Christmas weekend at our local ski resorts.
Summit at Snoqualmie: The Summit at Snoqualmie website really sums it up best with "Epic snow for the holidays! Conditions are all time right now!" Base totals are 60 inches at the base of Summit West, 70 inches at Alpental, and 110-plus inches at the top of Alpental, with about 30 inches coming just in the past three days. The National Weather Service forecast calls for continuing snow throughout the weekend, with accumulations of 1 to 2 inches both Friday and Saturday. High temperatures will be in the upper 20s and low 30s. (Complete forecast here.)
Crystal Mountain: Crystal is reporting even more impressive totals: 90 inches, or more than seven feet, of fresh snow since last Sunday. All 10 lifts are expected to be in operation this weekend. Snow depth is 74 inches at the base and 102 inches at the summit. Forecast calls for more snow throughout the weekend, with 6 to 10 inches expected Thursday afternoon and another few inches on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Breezy conditions expected Friday and Saturday. High temperatures will be right around 20 degrees. Five-day "GO Card" on sale for $280 through Jan. 31. (Complete forecast here.)
Stevens Pass: Stevens is reporting 8 inches of fresh powder overnight and says things are looking very good for the weekend. Snow pack totals 92 inches at the base and 94 inches at the summit. More snow expected throughout the weekend, with 3 to 5 inches falling Thursday afternoon and another inch or two each day through Sunday. High temperatures will be in the mid- to upper-20s. Four-day "Powder Pack" lift tickets (valid any days this season) are available for $159 through Dec. 24. (Complete forecast here.)
White Pass Ski Area: White Pass says it's received 9 inches of fresh powder in the last 24 hours, with more on the way. Depths are 64 inches at the base and 96 inches at the summit. Snow is expected to continue falling through Sunday. (Complete forecast here.)
Mission Ridge: All lifts are in operation, and 22 inches of fresh snow has fallen in the past five days. Depths are 37 inches midway up the mountain and 56 inches at the summit. Snow expected Friday night and Saturday, with accumulations of 2 to 4 inches. (Complete forecast here.)
Are you hitting the slopes this weekend? Tell us in the comments section.