Storms this weekend rolled in across the Washington and Oregon Cascade Mountains dumping snow from Whistler Blackcomb in British Columbia to Mt. Bachelor. The storms tromped in close on the tail of a week's worth of storms that catapulted the opening of resorts into powder days.
"It's been amazing," Holly Lippert, communications manager for the Summit at Snoqualmie Pass told OnTheSnow.com. "It's great skiing. Another 6 inches has dumped since 5 a.m., and it's so early in the season for powder."
The Northwest Weather and Avalanche Center predicted the incoming storm for this weekend to be "windy with moderate to heavy snow showers." The blizzard did not disappoint skiers, but in some cases, the winds did as some ski areas struggled with strong gusts. Both White Pass and Mt. Hood Meadows were unable to open lifts on Sunday, with winds blustering on the Mt. Hood weather station to 100 m.p.h. Mt. Bachelor ran two lower elevation lifts, but gusts precluded opening Pine Marten. Above tree line lifts at Whistler and Timberline remained closed.
The weekend storm dropped close to 3 feet of snow in 72 hours at many ski resorts, causing the local patrollers to hit the slopes early for avalanche control before sunrise. Many of the Cascade Mountain roads required chains to access the ski areas. "It's challenging to get here, but worth it," added Lippert. "We're sitting in a picture perfect snow globe."
The storm blustered in hot on the heels of a week of heavy snowfall. Mt. Baker accumulated more than 65 inches of snow in five days, bringing their base on Pan Dome to 99 inches. The resort reports totalling 190 inches of snow in 20 days. Crystal Mountain amassed 75 inches of new snow in one week, allowing the resort to open South Backcountry. The snowfall allowed Stevens Pass to run all of their lifts.
So much snow fell in early November in the Cascades and Coastal Mountains that ski areas cranked up their lifts weeks before their traditional opening days. Many, including the Summit at Snoqualmie, had one of their earliest November openings. Whistler broke records, smashing previous snowfall amounts for the early season, even before Blackcomb Mountain opens on Nov. 26.
Those resorts affected by winds on Sunday plan to resume normal operations as soon as possible. Come Monday morning, those who can play hooky from school or work will find powder playgrounds on the slopes, and Pacific Northwest skiers heading to the slopes can anticipate powder for the Thanksgiving holidays.
Check OnTheSnow.com for up-to-the-minute snow information.