NOAA recently updated their long-range forecast and instead of the neutral forecast called for back in late summer, they are now calling for a good chance of a medium La Niña this season. A La Niña weather pattern usually brings colder and wetter weather for us, which means more snow at colder temperatures!
Last season was a La Niña weather pattern and it brought us an amazing powder season, with 866 inches of snowfall and 68 days with more than 5 inches of fresh snow! (see the chart below for full 2016-17 powder day statistics) . Hopefully this coming season will be another La Niña powder extravaganza at Mt. Baker!
The day after closing last season our crew began construction on replacing Chair #7 from below the ground up. Thanks to the dedicated work of our crew and Skytrac (the manufacturer of the new chairlift) we just completed construction at the end of September - just in time for the snow to hit. The chairlift is now fully operational and certified, and ready to roll when the season starts. The new chair is a fixed grip quad, electrically driven, has wider, more comfortable seats and has the capability to run slightly faster than the original Chair #7 when needed. We can't wait to start it up for you all on opening day!
Mt. Baker's opening day is dependent on snowfall. We prepare our equipment and train our staff so we are ready to open in early November, if the snowfall allows. The amount of snow base needed to open varies, depending on the quality of snowfall and how it builds up. If the snow is very light and fluffy and falls in a big storm on dry ground, a deeper base is needed. If the snow is wetter and heavier, and builds up over several storms it tends to pack in around the rocks and bushes better, allowing us to open with a smaller snow base. Mt. Baker is usually able to open before the Thanksgiving Holiday - our average opening day falls sometime between Nov. 19 - 22. We will continue to post updates here as the storms begin to roll in!