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Cascades digging out, adding up epic February snowfall

It’s hard to believe we were talking about a snow shortage just a month ago, after near record snowfall pummeled the Cascades throughout February.

Stevens Pass has received over 160 inches or 13 feet in February, making it the second snowiest February in the last 50 years.

The ski area reports more than 10 feet of snow fell in less than two weeks between Feb. 10-21, more than doubling the base depth from 61 inches to 129 inches, says resort spokesman Chris Danforth.

“We did see a little bit of snow in December and January, but then it just dumped in February and we are expecting even more into next month, so winter has definitely arrived,” he says.

Heavy snows buried the other Cascade ski resorts as well. Crystal Mountain got 135 inches in February, while the Summit at Snoqualmie also received over 100 inches of snow, burying memories of a dry early winter that kept the resort from opening until January.

This month’s heavy snows were only surpassed in the last 50 years by the winter of 1998-99, when 226 inches were recorded at Stevens Pass, Danforth says.

Stevens Pass has now received 342 inches of snow for the entire winter. Around 245 inches have fallen at Crystal Mountain, while Snoqualmie Pass has received 192 inches at the base.

“Especially after having such a dry January, we really needed this,” said Crystal Mountain spokesperson Tiana Enger.

Despite the epic February snowfall, the average snowfall across the Cascades is still far below average. Stevens is over 100 inches below the 450-inch average, while Crystal’s base pales compared to its 486-inch annual average.

The forecast calls for snow every day through next Thursday, and Stevens Pass has averaged nearly 120 inches in March over the past 5 years, Danforth says.

Still, it’s not looking likely at this point any of the ski areas will be staying open late into the spring beyond their scheduled closing dates.

Enger says Crystal is scheduled to close April 20th. The past few years the resort has stayed open for limited operations well beyond that, even skiing into July.

“If we can stay open longer, we will. The difference is the last couple of years we have had over 600 inches,” she says.

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