Snoqualmie Pass

A heavy snow removal vehicle slowly moves along Alpental Road clearing some side roads, Thursday morning, Dec. 12, 2019 at Snoqualmie Pass. As much as 2 feet of snow is expected on some of Washington’s mountain passes over the next 24 hours.

This week’s storms in the Cascades could finally bring some much-needed snow for Washington’s delayed winter sports seasons.

The Naches Ranger District planned to send staff out to the Bumping Lake campground Friday to determine if there’s enough snow to groom Nordic ski trails for the first time this season.

The White Pass Ski Area continues to evaluate the slopes as snow falls this week, and marketing director Kathleen Goyette said an announcement regarding a possible opening should be coming Friday morning.

Heavy snow was falling Thursday afternoon in the Cascades, closing westbound Interstate 90 over Snoqualmie Pass for a time. The forecast has a chance of snow through the weekend at White Pass, according to the weather service.

Yakima Nordic Skiing and Snowshoeing Council chair Miles McPhee said he keeps a close watch on temperatures in the eastern Pacific Ocean, and over the last three months they’re eerily similar to those observed prior to the dry 2014-15 winter. However, he’s careful to note that’s by no means an accurate predictor of what’s to come in a winter initially projected to be warmer than average with equal chances of more or less precipitation than normal, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

A lack of snow can be seen throughout the state, including at Mount Baker Ski Area in northern Washington, which is guaranteed to see its latest opening since at least 2014. Lifts began running on Dec. 20 that winter at Mount Baker. White Pass saw just 162 inches of snow in 2014, compared to 304 inches the following in 2015-16 and 257 inches last winter.

Some of the region’s ski resorts have already opened on at least a limited basis, including all three at Mount Hood, Mission Ridge near Wenatchee, and Crystal Mountain near Mount Rainier. When enough snow finally falls, those seeking to get out on the trails can once again enjoy the benefits of a warming hut at Bumping Lake, where the YNSSC’s annual jamboree will be held Jan. 25.

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