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The calendar might just be turning to October, but it’s looking like early winter in the Cascades as up to 20 inches of snow is expected by Tuesday.
Crystal Mountain already has about 22 inches of snow in places and opened the gondola for 75 lucky people Tuesday to make the first tracks of the season. Demand for the opportunity was so high, it crashed Crystal’s website when the $15 tickets went on sale Monday afternoon.
“This is a first. We’ve had a Halloween opening once in the early 70s but the second earliest opening was November 4th back in 2005, so this is a new record for us,” said Crystal Mountain spokesperson Tiana Enger.
Enger says management decided it would be fun to take advantage of the early season snow and give a few people a first tease of ski season.
The snow won’t last long. Enger said they expect it to get tracked out within hours. And once they’ve gone down, they’ll have to hike back up and ride the gondola back down or hike out to the bottom because there’s barely any snow down below.
“We said let’s just be spontaneous and pull the trigger and let people have at it,” Enger said.
Several inches of snow fell at Stevens Pass Sunday night and Monday, and traction tires were advised. Up to 5 inches more could fall in the first major snow storm of the season, said KING 5 meteorologist Jim Guy.
The west facing slopes of the Olympics are also expected to receive at least several inches of snow as well.
The road to Artist Point at Mount Baker was closed for the winter, according to the Washington State Department of Transportation. The heaviest snow is expected to fall above 4,500 feet, Guy said.