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This winter has bestowed such a wealth of snowfall on Stevens Pass it's surprising the Occupy movement hasn't set up camp in the Washington resort's parking lot. Five feet fell the week of St. Patrick's Day, bringing the season total to an above-average 510 inches.
Where does it all come from? The resort sits at the crest of the Cascades, so it's often where moisture off the Pacific converges with dry, cold air from east of the range. When locals are looking for dry powder in the notoriously damp Pacific Northwest, Stevens Pass is the place to go. This year the base is looking better than ever and the resort plans to operate into May. Two-for-one Tuesdays offer the perfect excuse to call in sick, and after April 16 day tickets are $39.
The close-knit Stevens community was hit hard this February by an out-of-bounds avalanche that claimed the lives of three locals. Pay a visit this spring and you might see locals wearing t-shirts honoring them. The slogan says it all: "Forever in our hearts. Forever in our mountains."
I caught the creamy conditions two weeks ago, when Stevens Pass was as good as I've ever seen it. It snowed almost two feet in three days, and I skied runs I'm only brave enough to try in ideal conditions. Right now, Stevens Pass has the combination skiers in the Pacific Northwest dream about: creamy powder, warm days, and a solid base. More storms forecast this week promise it will only get better. —Charlotte Austin
For more information, visit stevenspass.com.