Mid-November snowstorms set the stage for the Washington State ski and snowboard season to being. Five ski resorts loaded the first lifts over the Thanksgiving weekend to launch the 2012-13 season.

Crystal Mountain Resort launched its 50th season with six lifts running, including the gondola, Green Valley chair, and Rainier Express. The resort is readying for its big birthday bash on Dec. 15 with the Bullwheel hopping with live music, dancing, and drink specials.

Crystal’s lifts are scheduled to run daily with new extended hours on holidays and peak weekends. Discovery, Gold Hills, and Quicksilver will run until 6 p.m. In January and February, the Chinook Express and Forest Queen will run until 5 p.m.

Check out the opening day of powder at Crystal Mountain in this short video clip:



In the northeastern corner of the state, 49 Degrees North ran three chairlifts, but the best is yet to come when the new Angel Peak chairlift opens. The newest lift in Washington State provides access to the western edge of the resort where a several-year thinning project has produced glades for tree skiing and nine new runs.

The new Angel Peak chairlift was built from a combination of two lifts—one from Brighton and one from Copper Mountain. The new double fixed-grip lift sports a vertical of 1,147 feet and an 8.7-minute ride. The lift will open for the season as soon as conditions permit. The resort operates Fridays through Tuesdays, but daily Dec. 14-Jan. 3.

Mt. Baker Ski Area ran all of its eight chairlifts by the end of the holiday weekend. The ski area, which holds the record for the most snowfall in a single season (1,140" in '98/'99), already tallied up a lower elevation base of 4.5 feet and an upper elevation base of 5.5 feet. Mt. Baker will continue to operate daily for the season, except for a Christmas Day closure.

Stevens Pass kicked off the season with five lifts running by the end of the holiday weekend. The ski area plans to operate daily with night skiing added on weekends starting Dec. 14. Skiing under the lights will continue nightly Dec. 25-Jan. 6 with the regular Wednesday through Sunday night schedule starting in January.

Mission Ridge opened three of its four main lifts for skiing and snowboarding. The resort plans to operate Fridays through Sundays until Dec. 14 when daily operations commence. Six Saturdays in January and February have night skiing from 4-8 p.m. for $15.

For the latest updates on snow reports for the Washington ski areas, go 20http://www.onthesnow.com/washington/skireport.html" target="_blank">here.