With just a light dusting of snow in recent days, we’re on pace for a record dry December.
That could all change soon, however, as a moisture is predicted to hit the state from Friday through the middle of next week.
Despite this prolonged dry weather, it has been cold enough that the snow coverage — including a light dusting of new snow — is still near normal levels. Grooming has been outstanding on all the slopes.
Folks need to remember that the first day of winter officially arrived Wednesday, and there is a greater chance for snowfall in the weeks and months ahead.
There are a wide range of activities and special offers throughout the Pacific Northwest for the holidays.
The Stevens Pass Ski Area is offering a discounted $25 special rate now through Jan. 1 at their Top Phlight Terrain Park. Snowboarders and skiers can only ride the Brooks Lift, and the park has lots of different rails, boxes, booters and the new Stunt Ditch. You can upgrade to a full-mountain ticket for $37 (adult lift-ticket price) by visiting guest relations. For details, go to www.stevenspass.com.
The free Mission Ridge Mountain Music Festival and New Year’s Eve Party is Dec. 31. Skiers and snowboarders can also take to the hill under the lights of Chair 4 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. for only $15. Mission is also hosting the Twilight Snowshoe Trek 5 p.m. at the Hampton Lodge, which is guided by the Mission Ridge Patrol. The area is also offering discounted daily lifts tickets 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. through Jan. 2, which are based on the amount of terrain available each day. For details, go to www.missionridge.com.
Crystal Mountain Resort is offering a First Tracks Special for early birds on weekends. Get a mountain-sized breakfast buffet at the Summit House Restaurant and early uploading privileges on the Mount Rainier Gondola.
Come check out the sunrise on the mountain while eating breakfast, then once Ski Patrol gives you the OK, you’ll hit the wide-open slopes of Green Valley and get one or two runs in before the public arrives.
Cost is $29 for breakfast (includes tax and gratuity) and early skiing and snowboarding in Green Valley. That doesn’t include a lift ticket, and foot passengers must purchase a scenic lift ticket. Advance reservations are recommended, and call 360-663-3050 at least 24 hours in advance.
Other events happening at Crystal are: Dec. 24, Christmas Eve Dinner at the Summit House; Dec. 24-25, Ski with Santa; and Dec. 31, New Year’s Eve Fireworks and Party. For more details, visit www.crystalmountainresort.com.
Mount Rainier National Park is offering daily scenic snowshoe walks now through Jan. 1, and on weekends Jan. 7 to March 25. The walks are offered at 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. on a first-come, first-served basis. Sign up at the Henry M. Jackson Visitor Center information desk at Paradise beginning one hour before the start time.
Snowshoe walks cover approximately 1.5 miles and last up to 2 hours. Snowshoes are provided, or visitors may use their own. A donation of $4 per person is requested.
Snowshoeing is a moderately strenuous activity, and participants must be at least 8 years old. Remember to wear sturdy boots and dress in layers. Organized groups of 13 to 25 may reserve a snowshoe walk in advance. Group snowshoe walks begin at 10:30 a.m. For details, call 360-569-6575 or www.visitrainier.com.
The 49 Degrees North Ski Area 2-fer-Tuesdays is valid every Tuesday except on Dec. 27. Stop by a participating Papa Murphy’s in Spokane, Colville, Hayden, and Post Falls, and pick up a voucher good for two tickets for the price of one, which are based on the higher price of the two tickets. The Freeride Holiday Camp is Dec. 26-28, and the F.A.S.T. Holiday Race Camp is Dec. 27-31. For details, go to www.ski49n.com.
The Leavenworth Winter Sports Club “Ski For Health Day” is noon to 3 p.m. Jan. 8 on Icicle River Trail. The club offers free nordic rentals, lessons, refreshments and trail passes; demo skis, boots and poles from local ski shops; a Swix wax demo (get your skis waxed and learn about the latest Toko products); and learn about avalanche beacons from Northwest Mountain School. For details, go to www.skileavenworth.com.
The Summit at Snoqualmie is ringing in 2012 with a New Year’s Eve Party 8 p.m. Dec. 31 at Alpental. Activities include live music, a torchlight parade at 11:45 p.m. and plenty of other merriment at the Denny Mountain Lodge. Cover charge $5 (21 and over only). Live music courtesy of Hopeless Jack The Handsome Devil with The T-Bagging Bandits. For details, go to www.summitatsnoqualmie.com.
At the White Pass Ski Area, the White Pass Village Inn is offering a three-night weekender special by adding a Sunday or Thursday night at 50-percent off to your stay, which is available until April during non-holiday times. Those who stay at the Village Inn two or more midweek non-holiday nights (Sunday to Thursday) can also enjoy great savings. White Pass also has more lift and lodging specials. For details, visit the www.skiwhitepass.com.
Looking further ahead:
• 0he Vertfest, a celebration of backcountry culture, is Feb. 18-19 at Alpental. Join Outdoor Research, The Summit at Snoqualmie, Pro Guiding Service, Mountain Gear and Osprey. The festival kicks off Saturday with the Monika Johnson Memorial Rally, followed by the gear-filled awards ceremony and raffle, and live music with Head Like a Kite. Clinic day is Sunday with some of the best athletes and guides in the business.
• The El Presidente Freestyle Camp, Feb. 18-19 at Summit Central, is open for intermediate or better snowboard abilities ages 8 and older.
• The American Ride Shakedown, an international snowboarding slopestyle competition, is returning to The Summit at Snoqualmie on March 16-17. The prize purse is $50,000, and the winner of the main event (jump-to-rail) will get $20,000. For details, go to www.summitatsnoqualmie.com.
The competition includes the mastery of two distinct disciplines: the jump (Big Air) and an original rail feature unveiled only on the first day of competition. There will be Ride Shakedown qualification events throughout the winter in the United States and Canada. For details, go to www.rideshakedown.com.
• At Ski Bluewood — the Slope Style Competition is Feb. 11, and the Boarder Cross-Skier Cross is Feb. 12.
• At Crystal Mountain Resort — National Safety Week is Jan. 14, the Salomon BBR Demo Tour Stop is Jan. 15, the QA and Movie Premieres featuring Kyle Miller is Jan. 15, the Triple Crown Junior Freeride Championships are Jan. 21 and Feb. 11, the North Face Masters of Snowboarding is Feb. 14, and the Vertical Express for MS is Feb. 24.
• At Mission Ridge — The Salomon BBR Demo Tour Stop is Jan. 1, the Freestyle Clinic is Jan. 5, the Apple Cup Invitational Junior Ski Race is Jan. 21, and the Coca-Cola 1/4 Pipe and Rail Jam is Feb. 11.
• At Mount Baker — The Legendary Banked Slalom Event is Feb. 10.
• At Stevens Pass — The Romp to Stomp is Feb. 4, and the Nevado Demo Day is Feb. 18.
• At Panorama Resort, B.C. — The International Paralympic Committee Alpine Skiing World Cup Finals are March 13-16. For details, go to www.panoramaresort.com.
Mark Yuasa: 206-464-8780 or firstname.lastname@example.org