Snow

A snowboarder carries poles as he surfs across the snow at the White Pass Ski Resort during the 2019 Winter Carnival.

Several feet of beautiful, deep powder await skiers and snowboarders at White Pass after two weeks of ongoing storms.

The mountain's snow statistics show 150 inches of new snow since Jan. 1, including more than 80 inches over the past week. It's no wonder marketing director Kathleen Goyette said both controller Mary Haight -- known as Hardcore Mary for her prolific skiing -- and longtime ski patrol director Chris Talbot believe this week's conditions could be the best they've ever seen.

A recent spell of colder temperatures brought lighter, drier snow than what fell over Yakima on Tuesday or at White Pass during the first week of 2020.

Nearly as much snow has fallen at White Pass in 2020 as at Mt. Baker, renowned as one of the snowiest ski areas in the world, and the total easily surpassed that of nearby Crystal Mountain.

"We've been picking up anywhere from 3 to 6 inches more than they have in every storm," Goyette said. "I just think it's where the convergence zone is."

Hard work from crew members kept the Great White Express running on its regular schedule every day, although high winds have occasionally delayed the opening of Chair 4, Basin Quad and the Couloir Express. Goyette said all those lifts eventually opened except on Jan. 6, when they remained closed all day.

Skiers and snowboarders filled the parking lot last Saturday and Goyette expects similar crowds this weekend, especially after Crystal Mountain announced it will no longer sell full day tickets to walk-up customers on the weekends and holidays, starting this Saturday. She recommended arriving early and reminded visitors to bring extra supplies in case U.S. Highway 12 is forced to close, as it did when a semitruck rolled over last Friday.

White Pass' backcountry gates will remain closed for the foreseeable future because of high avalanche danger as snow continues to fall. Much more snow is forecast to accumulate this weekend.

Fortunately, Goyette said thus far ski patrol hasn't been exceptionally busy rescuing skiers or snowboarders stuck in the powder.

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