Winter weather holding a tight grip, so expect powder at higher ski resorts

It might be spring on the calendar, but wintery weather hasn’t surrendered: Another round of snowfall – mainly at higher-elevation ski resorts – is forecast through Monday.

Look for a series of rather weak weather systems with snow or rain showers to move across the Cascades late Thursday through Friday. Then a stronger storm track will bring more snow accumulation Saturday through Monday, mainly to the higher slopes. Expect the freezing level to stay between 3,000 and 4,500 feet through Friday before dropping to 2,000 to 3,500 feet heading into this weekend.

Matt Sommer of Seattle finds a fresh stash of powder in the Southback area at Crystal Mountain Resort. Photo courtesy of Matt Gallagher.

Powder seekers should head to higher ground such as Mount Baker, where they’re expecting a generous 15 to 29 inches; Stevens Pass, 6 to 12 inches; Crystal Mountain, 10 to 16 inches; White Pass, 8 to 15 inches; and 6 to 14 inches at Whistler Blackcomb in British Columbia.

The Northwest Avalanche Center’s website lists avalanche danger as “considerable” near, above and below the tree-line. The warnings do not apply to controlled ski areas. Change can happen quickly especially as the weather warms up, and cornices have recently proven dangerous and unpredictable with the ability to trigger very large avalanches.

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When traveling in the backcountry it is important to ski or ride with a partner(s), and stay in visual contact with each other; let others know of your travel plans; avoid tree wells and keep a safe distance from trees; stay on groomed runs; and avoid unmarked areas in off boundary areas of ski resorts. For more information, go to www.deepsnowsafety.org or http://www.nwac.us/avalanche-forecast/current/.

Fresh snow covered slopes greet this skier at Whistler-Blackcomb…

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