Lack of snow means no skiing yet at Snoqualmie Pass
SNOQUALMIE, Wash. -- The Summit at Snoqualmie is in a ski resort slump.
This time last year the pass had about four feet of snow, but on Monday it barely has a foot. To the Summit's chagrin -- and the surprise of some skiers -- there's not enough snow to open the ski mountain.
Even from a distance, it's obvious Snoqualmie Pass is barely covered up -- get a little closer and you see the naked truth.
"I see pretty barren snow a lot of grass in a lot of area," said Ravensdale's John Alexander, who was at the resort with his wife Joyce.
It's almost January and the Summit at Snoqualmie is quiet. The ticket windows are shuttered, the lift hasn't moved since last ski season and ski rack after ski rack sit empty.
"It's definitely a bummer," said Summit Marketing Director Guy Lawrence. "Here we are all the way into the holidays and it's always a disappointment if you ever get to this point."
On average, skiing at the Summit opens every year in early December. Lawrence said at peak season, 1,200 employees keep more than 10,000 skiers and snowboarders happy.
"It's not a constant," he said. "A lot is out of our control. People understand they are on standby until something gets going. It's a little thin. If we had another foot and a half we would be looking at an opening scenario. It's going to come, just unfortunately it's one of those years we're going to have to be a little more patient. It's the yin and the yang of winter."
That's a harder pill to swallow when you're 7-years old and you and your sisters planned a day of sled riding.
"There wasn't much snow. I feel disappointed," said 7-year old Iris Eng, who hoped to use her hyper neon blue sled for two equipped with multi-colored flashing lights. The sleds never left the trunk of her mom's car.
The Eng family did the same sledding trip this time last year. The had "tons" of snow to sled in December of 2012, and expected the same on Monday.
"When we came up here, the road was so empty out and we thought what is going on?" said Linda Eng.
It's actually been snowing at the pass, but warming temperatures keep shrinking the snow pack. It's too thin and too dangerous to ski.
The disappointed families who showed up Monday at the Summit would have know what to expect if they had just checked in with Burien's Tony Nguyen, a grade schooler and meterologist in the making.
"I saw on the radar, I saw lots of green around the passes," Nguyen said.
Nguyen said while he knew there's wasn't going to be much snow, he family didn't listen to him.
The morale of the story: Always listen to Tony, or check with Steve Pool.
The summit says a blast of snow expected in 8 days could be just the jump start it needs. In the meantime, special deals for season pass holders at sister resorts are being offered.