Snoqualmie Pass closure ruins a perfect snow day

The February snowstorms in Washington caused an extraordinary amount of problems around the state. Perhaps most notable was the closure of I-90 from North Bend all the way to Easton.

As a result, the Summit at Snoqualmie ski area was closed on Tuesday and Wednesday, despite receiving record levels of snowfall. Many Bellevue College students are passholders and were excited to go riding while school was cancelled. These people faced a devastating reality on Tuesday morning. The ski area was closed. Wednesday was a big “maybe,” and while the prospects with a closed ski area were poor, the only remaining option was to drive much further to Stevens or Crystal, where they received significantly less snow, and spend nearly $100 for a single day pass.

As the week wore on at the summit, 21” to 55” of snow remained unridden, and locals began to dream of riding powder so deep and light that they would need a snorkel. As fate would have it though, a warming trend on Wednesday afternoon made the snow heavy and wet, contrary to of the champagne-style light powder that originally fell. Had the ski area opened Wednesday morning, skiers would have been met with conditions that are usually only accessible to those who are willing to shell out $1000+ for a helicopter ride.

Despite the disappointment of Tuesday and Wednesday, the situation was still salvageable. Many people took a sick day on Thursday to enjoy some powder turns, and the ski area was quite busy over the weekend.

The Watchdog staff would like to extend a gracious thanks to our local Department of Transportation employees for working all those long shifts using explosives to trigger avalanches, and doing everything they can to keep our roads safe.