The snowpack in the Cascades is well above expectations, good news for skiers and snowboarders heading to the hillsides.
Up to 13 inches of snow fell Wednesday night, which will add a fresh layer of powder on the mountainsides.
This will be followed by scattered snow showers through the weekend. A ridge of high pressure is expected to develop, bringing cold and sunny weather early next week.
Crystal Mountain Resort received 7 inches of snow Wednesday night, and has eight lifts open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. The base is 67 inches, the summit total is 103 inches. The main trails are machine-groomed, and off-the-trail hillsides are layered with soft-packed powder. Those driving up Highway 410 should be aware of elk along the roadsides.
Stevens Pass Resort is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Tuesday; 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday; and 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday. Stevens received 9 inches of snow Wednesday night. There are 37 trails open (20 groomed) and nine lifts in operation with an 89-inch base and 97 inches on the summit.
The Summit at Snoqualmie received 4 inches of snow Wednesday night, and has a base at Summit West of 70 inches. Alpental is covered with 82 inches on lower slopes and 125 inches on the summit.
Alpental and Summit Central are open 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday; Summit West is open 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday; Summit East reopens this weekend from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Summit Tubing Center is open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday-Saturday, and 9 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. on Sunday, and the Nordic center 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday-Sunday.
Mount Baker Ski Area open 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. daily, and received 24 inches of snow in recent days with 2 more inches Wednesday night. They have a solid 169 inches on the Pan Dome base and 150 inches at Heather Meadows.
The White Pass Ski Area is open 8:45 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, with six lifts giving way to machine groomed condition on 47 trails. They received 8 inches Wednesday night, and have a 67-inch base with a summit depth of 101 inches.
Those heading to eastern hillsides like Mission Ridge will find four lifts and 44 trails open, including 32 groomed. Mission open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursdays to Mondays, has a midway base depth of 40 inches and a summit total of 58 inches, and received 1 inch on Wednesday night.
The Ski Leavenworth hillside has a base of 39 inches, and is open 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday and Friday, and 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends. Nordic trails are open daily 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
49 Degrees North Ski Area is covered with 8 inches of snow from Wednesday night, and has 57 inches at the base with a summit total of 114 inches. They’re open 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Friday-Tuesday.
Ski Bluewood is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursdays to Sundays with a base of 46 inches and a summit of 64 inches, and received 7 inches Wednesday night. There are 24 trails open with seven groomed.
A trace of snow fell Wednesday night along with 20 inches earlier in the week at the Mount Spokane Ski and Snowboard Park, which is open 9 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday, and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. There are 45 trails open, 30 of them groomed. There is a base of 59 inches and 74 inches on the summit.
The Methow Valley has nearly 100 miles of Nordic trails open for all levels of gliders at Sun Mountain, Mazama and Rendezvous. The entire valley recently received 12 inches of snow. Groomers recommend skiing more open trails and terrain to avoid an unexpected tree bomb (mounds of snow falling on skiers) or encountering downed trees. The Methow has 36 inches of total accumulation.
—The Leavenworth Ice Festival Rail Jam is 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Jan. 20 at the Leavenworth Festhalle, 1001 Front St. in Leavenworth. Skiers and snowboarders will work their moves on the rail followed by a fireworks show. There will also be a film celebrating Stevens Pass Resort. Each attendee will receive a free copy of the film on DVD, and all proceeds from dinner and beer will benefit the Leavenworth Winter Sports Club. Details: www.stevenspass.com.
—The Scottish Lakes High Camp offers a 35-mile network of Nordic ski trails for all levels of ability. Visitors can make a day trip or spend an overnight by making a reservation for a cabin or the lodge. Details: www.scottishlakes.com.
—The Mission Ridge Women’s Escape is a day of skiing for all levels of ability, socializing and pro coaching for ladies only. Cost is $75, $50 each for groups of four or more. Childcare, lift ticket, rental equipment and lunch are provided. Dates are: Jan. 31, Feb. 21 and March 7, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. The Mountain Music Festival is held every Saturday beginning this week. 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.
—The 49 Degrees Mountain Resort Winterfest with Winter Trails and Demo Day is Saturday and Sunday. New gear and demos for skiers and snowshoers will be available at the Nordic Center. Mini-lessons and rentals will be available. There will be no trail fees. Details: www.ski49n.com.
—North Cascade Heli is beginning winter operations Friday through March 24. Heli-skiing and snowboarding programs are available, as well as an overnight in the Barron Yurt. Details: www.heli-ski.com.
—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/
—The Sun Valley Resort USSA Freestyle Spectacular is Saturday and Sunday on Baldy and Dollar Mountains. The event consists of a mogul competition and slope-style and half-pipe competitions. Details: www.sunvalley.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. Summit pass holders are also eligible for one complimentary ticket at Mission Ridge on Sunday when they purchase a full-price ticket Saturday. Details: www.summitatsnoqualmie.com or www.missionridge.com