Rain, wind likely to delay Western Washington ski season opener until after Thanksgiving

Crystal Mountain has enough snow to open, but forecasts of high winds and heavy rains will likely keep the ski area from firing up its lifts until after Thanksgiving.

In a statement from general manager John Kircher posted on the Crystal Mountain website, he says forecasts of rain and wind exceeding 50 mph coupled with warm temperatures through Saturday are keeping the ski area from announcing an opening date. “Opening into this sort of scenario is not a good idea,” he wrote.

But the state’s largest ski area does have a plan. He writes, “So what do we do in the face of this information? We get our snowcat fleet out there tonight and all day tomorrow to smack down all of the snow on the main trails and Green Valley. Doing this sets up the snow to be rained on and results in a hard base of snow which will allow skiing on a few inches of new snow on top.

“When that next few inches comes and how much will be left after the rain remains to be watched from our Thanksgiving dinner tables.”

White Pass and the Summit at Snoqualmie have accumulated more than 10 inches of snow but also have not announced an opening day. Mission Ridge opened some beginner slopes over the weekend and plans to reopen Friday.