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Ski Area Operators Rejoice With Snowfall, Hope For Season Start Before Thanksgiving

Workers at Stevens Pass Mountain Resort made snow angels and played in the white stuff as Mother Nature added nearly 5 inches to the ski area Tuesday night. With more on the way this week, they’re hoping to be open before Thanksgiving this year.

Last year’s warm winter meant Stevens Pass didn’t open till December 20, about a month later than usual. And they had to close a month earlier too. So when the resort workers arrived to find five new inches of snowfall in the parking area Wednesday morning, people literally jumped for joy.  

“We’ve had people up here all day today, just playing in the snow and jumping around and there’s people hooting and hollering.  So it’s a very exciting time for us," said spokeswoman, Alysa Hetze.  "It’s fun to come to work when we have a big snow like this.”

She says the resort is pretty much ready to open. They just need to get to two feet of snow in the base area.

 “And once we have that, we will definitely get the chairs spinning,” Hetze said.

The resort says they could be open as soon as November 20, but they advise  skiers to watch their website and social media feeds for confirmation.

Hetze says a strong El Nino could mean a warmer winter and another lower than average snow season for them. But she also notes that the last strong El Nino year, in 1997-98, they saw a total snow pack of 466 inches — more than twice what they had last year.


Bellamy Pailthorp covers the environment beat for KNKX, where she has worked since 1999. From 2000-2012, she covered the business and labor beat. Bellamy has a deep interest in Indigenous affairs and the Salish Sea. She has a masters in journalism from Columbia University.