PIERCE COUNTY, Wash. - Several Washington ski areas were forced to delay opening due to a lack of snowfall.
Crystal Mountain Resort’s initial opening date was scheduled for Nov. 22, but unfavorable conditions pushed the season launch back to Dec. 1.
Chairlifts were supposed to start spinning at Stevens Pass that very day. Management canceled the opening due to a lack of cooperation from the weather. General manager Ellen Galbraith has yet to reschedule.
"Mother Nature really helped us out last year. Providing us enough snow for us to open on our targeted opening date," said Galbraith. "We will keep an eye on what Mother Nature delivers and as soon as we have enough, we’re ready to open."
Both Crystal Mountain and Stevens Pass have snowmaking capabilities. Peter Dale, Director of Mountain Operations at Crystal shared they have generated 7 million gallons of snow. Dale says that’s enough of a base layer to begin riding on this Friday.
"The latest from the [National Weather Service] is for above-average temperature year, but equal chances for precipitation," said Dale.
Mike Trowbridge is General Manager of the Mt. Baker Ski Area. Unlike the other two resorts, Baker is 100% reliant on the forecast. They don’t make any snow. Trowbridge predicts this El Niño winter will bring thicker snow to the Cascades.
"Little bit heavier, going back more to the ‘Cascade concrete’ mythology of the 90s," said Trowbridge.