Heavy snow at Stevens Pass making skiers, workers anxious

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by NATALIE SWABY and JAKE WHITTENBERG / KING 5 News

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KING5.com

Posted on November 17, 2010 at 1:21 PM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 17 at 9:20 PM

STEVENS PASS, Wash. – Inside the ski resort at Stevens Pass, employees are ready for customers. From guest check-in to the restaurant to the rental area, everyone is anxious for opening day, which could happen in a few days.

"I am stoked. That's absolutely fantastic, bring it on," said employee Jonathon Popovich in regards to the forecast which calls for a lot of snow overnight. Check latest forecast.

"It takes 36 inches of snow on the ground and a favorable forecast for more before we really put grooming sno cats on the hill," said Chris Rudolph, Marketing Director for Stevens Pass. By Friday, Stevens Pass is expected to be a foot shy of that mark. Check Washington mountain pass reports

"We always shoot for Thanksgiving if we can get it, but you know, you should make the smart move rather than the hungry move," said Popovich.

Both Mount Baker Ski Area and Crystal Mountain say they could open this weekend. Snoqualmie Pass is still several days away.

Related: Snow pounds mountains, could reach Puget Sound Sunday

La Nina winters sometimes delay the start of ski season, but there is an upside.

"The La Nina winters tend to be a little more consistent. They tend to open a little bit later, but then stay more consistent and deliver more snow throughout the season," said Rudolph.

"Every time there is a flake that falls, everyone is super excited, trying to get a hold of us to ask how much snow, how much snow," said Stevens Pass employee Jennifer Bunnell.

Bunnell works in guest services and said phones usually would be ringing at the resort, but another weather event, Monday's windstorm, put a stop to that. It knocked out phone service. When you dialed the resorts number Wednesday, a message said, "We are unable to complete your call at this time. Please try again later."

Driving was also treacherous on Highway 2. A head-on collision near Index Wednesday afternoon closed the highway for a short time.

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