UPDATED: 2:20 P.M.
Crystal Mountain officials are counting on a mid-week storm to bring enough snow to allow a limited opening Friday. The ski area announced its plans this afternoon based on the winter storm forecast for Wednesday and Thursday.
The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm watch for Wednesday and Thursday in the Cascades. The forecast for the Snoqualmie Pass area calls for almost 2 feet of snow those days, with more snow through the weekend.
Currently there is just over a foot of snow in Green Valley.
“It’s a bold move to announce the opening date before we have enough snow, but we are pretty confident that the weather will produce enough snow over the next couple days to put us in really good shape for a limited opening on Friday,” said marketing director Tiana Enger.
The Mount Rainier Gondola and Green Valley chairlift will operate from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. and lift tickets will be $35 on Friday. Scenic gondola rides are available for $20.
Additional terrain will open as the snowpack builds, Enger said. She said they hope to open Discovery, Chinook Express and Forest Queen Express chairlifts Saturday.
Enger said more details will be released Thursday.
At White Pass and The Summit and Snoqualmie, they are in a wait and see mode.
“(Wednesday) is a pivotal day for all of us in the industry,” said Guy Lawrence, the area’s market director.
“We’ve got a nice shot of snow on the ground right now, but we’re just not at the point we’re we can open just yet,” he said.
Whether the Summit can open will depends on the quantity of snow that comes in over the next couple of days, Lawrence added.
“We’re going to wait and see what accumulates over the next couple of days before we make the call,” said White Pass spokeswoman Kathleen Goyette.
“Should people be on stand by and have their skis waxed and ready to go, absolutely, but there’s no guarantees at this time.”
To the north, Mount Baker was going to wait until this afternoon before making a decision to open Friday. Stevens Pass officials said Monday they need another 20 inches of snow before they open.