Northwest Areas Reopen, East Areas Close

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SAM Magazine--Stevens Pass, Wash., Apr. 5, 2005--In a fitting end to a winter of wacky weather, several areas in the Pacific Northwest have reopened-some after more than a month of being closed. And in the East, areas that were planning to extend their seasons abruptly called it quits last weekend after warm weather and heavy rains washed the season away.

In Washington, Stevens Pass, Crystal Mountain, and White Pass joined Mt. Baker among the open areas last weekend. During the week prior to Apr. 2, Crystal had more than five feet at the summit; Stevens, more than three feet. Crystal and White Pass are operating this week, and Stevens plans to operate for the upcoming weekend (Friday-Sunday) as well, as more snow has arrived midweek and still more is forecast for the weekend. Alpental (Thursday-Sunday) and the Summit at Snoqualmie (Saturday-Sunday) will also be open. Other areas, including Mt. Spokane, may also operate for the weekend. Most areas report in the neighborhood of 70-inch bases at their summits.

And now that the season is on, Baker and White Pass refuse to turn it off. Baker, which has a 100-inch base after a week of nearly 100-inches of snowfall, is operating daily before shifting to its normal Friday-Monday April schedule after the weekend. White Pass also plans to operate weekends until May.

Similarly, several areas in Idaho, which earlier announced they were closing for the season, are open again.Bogus Basin had closed Mar. 13, but it has reopened and will operate through the weekend. Brundage had announced a Mar. 20 closing date, but it, too, is operating through the weekend. Silver Mountain reopened for last weekend, attracted a record crowd, and is reopening again Friday-Sunday. The areas have up to 80-inch bases.

The story is quite the opposite in the East. After a snowy March, several areas announced they were extending the season. However, the first weekend in April brought warm weather and heavy rains to some areas, forcing them to close. A few, such as Crotched Mountain (N.H.) and Gore (N.Y.) may reopen this weekend, but persistent above-freezing temperatures and a forecast for a rainy, warm weekend could dampen those hopes.