The outdoor season has officially greeted those heading uphill, with snow deep enough to enjoy.
The ski and snowboard season kicked off locally Nov. 15, when Crystal Mountain opened with three lifts in operation. The Discovery, Chinook Express and Forest Queen Express lifts were running initially from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The resort had received 16 inches of snow during the 48 hours prior to opening and a total of 40 inches during the 10 days leading up to Nov. 15. It snowed on opening day and snowfall was predicted in the immediate forecast.
The accumulations would be great enough, Crystal operators hoped, to allow the Rainier Express and Green Valley lifts to open Friday.
Tentative plans called for the Mount Rainier Gondola to begin operation Saturday.
Last year the resort opened Nov. 25 and the year before was Nov. 21. This year marked the earliest opening since 2010 when the resort opened on Nov. 11.
“Anytime we can get open before Thanksgiving is icing on the cake,” said Crystal’s Tiana Anderson. “This is the start we needed after having to close two weeks early in September due to the Norse Peak fire.”