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Mt. Baker Ski Area could open by the end of the week

Duncan Howatt, general manager of the Mt. Baker Ski Area, illustrates the depth of snow at the top of Chair 2 on Sunday afternoon.
Duncan Howatt, general manager of the Mt. Baker Ski Area, illustrates the depth of snow at the top of Chair 2 on Sunday afternoon. Courtesy to The Bellingham Herald

It’s been snowing in the North Cascades, and that’s good news for skiers, snowboarders and other winter sports enthusiasts as officials at the Mt. Baker Ski Area are optimistic they will be able to open before the end of the week.

Snow has been falling steadily at the upper elevations since last week, and more snowfall is forecast nearly daily through the weekend, according to meteorologists at the National Weather Service and forecasters at the Northwest Avalanche Center, both in Seattle.

Some 8 to 9 inches of snow was on the ground Sunday at Heather Meadows, and 2 feet of snow at Pan Dome, at the top of the chair lift, said Gwyn Howatt, the ski area’s executive vice president.

We’re excited. This is a good early season weather pattern, which is boding real well.

Gwyn Howatt, Mt. Baker Ski Area

“It’s looking very favorable for us to get significant snow,” Howatt said. “We’re optimistic. We’re still uncertain as to the timing. It depends on this next series of fronts. But based on current forecasts, it’s looking good.”

Howatt said the storms are dropping several inches of snow, but pausing in between, which creates a more stable base with better skiing conditions. Howatt said she was on the mountain Sunday, assessing snow conditions.

“With this next series of storms, we could get as much as 8 to 9 inches with each one,” Howatt said. “The way it looks is pretty ideal. But we’ll take snow in any form.”

“We’re excited. This is a good early season weather pattern, which is boding real well.”

She said the mountain averages about 650 inches of snow every winter, and “all signs are pointing to at least that.”

Robert Mittendorf: 360-756-2805, @BhamMitty

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