STEVENS PASS, Wash. -- Another round of fresh snow is expected to hit the Cascades heading into Thursday, and the snow comes at a good time for the growing number of ski resorts ready to kick off the new season.
The Mt. Baker Ski Area and Stevens Pass Ski Resort both began winter operations Wednesday. Summit West at Snoqualmie is scheduled to kick off the ski and snowboard season on Friday.
"Amazing," said Svitlahna Kasko. as she stood in line at one of the chair lifts at Stevens Pass. "This is the best day ever."
Nearly two feet of fresh snow in the past 24 hours welcomed skiers and snowboarders Wednesday morning at the base of Stevens Pass to kick off the new season.
Roughly 18 inches fell mid-mountain, the resort reported.
"I'm stoked, yeah," Kelsey Crawford said.
"I feel like a kid again having a snow day," said skier Mary Gallagher. "It’s awesome!"
Getting up to Stevens Pass can be a bit tricky at times.
Snow plows were running past the resort on U.S. 2.
For most of the day Wednesday, chains were required for all vehicles, except those with all-wheel drive. Check the latest pass conditions here.
Another dumping of snow is expected Wednesday night into Thursday.
"It’s really great skiing out there," said Tom Pettigrew, General Manager and Vice President of Stevens Pass. "It’s perfect. It’s what the Pacific Northwest does, you know? The snow storm turns on and it just keeps coming."
Vail Resorts, Inc., which owns Stevens Pass recently announced plans to pump $35 into several properties, including Stevens Pass.
Pending governmental approval, the Daisy and Brooks chair lifts at Stevens Pass will be replaced in time for the start of the next ski season, Pettigrew said. The work will hopefully start in May, he added.
"It’ll actually move some of those guests off some of our other chairlifts, which will lessen the load there, specifically on like Skyline and Hogsback. So, it’ll really help that experience for all, not just beginners and the intermediates," Pettigrew said.
For opening day Wednesday, the conditions are exactly what Matt Pattison would expect.
"It was amazing. Just to get up here, be around the snow, have the fresh air, be with my friend, shredding the slopes – it’s awesome," he said.
There are plenty more days on the slopes ahead -- and it’s not even officially winter.
"We got so much snow," Kasko said. "It's open finally! I mean what more do you need?"
Stevens Pass will be open from 9 a.m. to - 4 p.m. on Thursday. Night skiing begins on Friday.