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Wet, warm, windy weather plays havoc on Inland Northwest ski areas

UPDATED: Thu., Nov. 23, 2017, 10:27 p.m.

Ticket checker Ben Riggs, right, checks in opening-day skiers at the chairlift at Mt. Spokane Ski  & Snowboard Park on Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017. The park offered early season pricing discounts as the snow was still thin in spots. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)
Ticket checker Ben Riggs, right, checks in opening-day skiers at the chairlift at Mt. Spokane Ski & Snowboard Park on Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017. The park offered early season pricing discounts as the snow was still thin in spots. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)

The triple threat of warm, rainy and windy weather the Pineapple Express has brought to the Inland Northwest this week may play havoc for those who plan to hit the slopes this weekend.

Mt. Spokane, which currently has 19 inches of soft snow at the base and 23 inches of wet snow up on the summit, is closed Friday, and has put plans to reopen on hold due to the warm weather.

On Thursday, the ski area was reporting 45 degrees at the summit and 48 down at the lodge.

Up the road, 49 Degrees North reported it would be open Friday from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. with 20 inches of snow at the base and 35 at the summit.

The weather forecast for Chewelah this weekend calls for partly cloudy skies on Friday with rain and temperatures in the mid-40s through Sunday.

Across the border in Idaho, Schweitzer Mountain was planning for an early opening to the ski season Friday with the Basin Express and Musical Carpet in operation from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

It rained on the mountain Thursday with the high at 44 degrees, but the forecast is predicting temperatures are heading south Friday, with snow showers in the morning and a high of 33 degrees.

On Saturday, there’s a 50 percent chance of showers and 35 degrees and a rain-snow mix on Sunday with a high of 40 degrees.

Farther east along I-90 at Silver Mountain Resort, the ski area is planning to open Friday with chairs 1, 2 and 3 and the carpet lift, with chair 4 opening Saturday. Silver Mountain has 26 inches on the base and 32 inches at the summit, and is reporting 8 inches of fresh snow over the last two days.

The forecast calls for a 30 percent chance of fresh snow on Friday, followed by a 50 percent chance of a rain-snow mix on Saturday that bumps up to 80 percent on Sunday.

Over on the Idaho-Montana state line, Lookout Pass will be closed Friday. The one-two punch of warm temperatures and rain took its toll on the snowpack, with 10 inches of wet packed snow at the base and 22 on the summit Thursday, with temperatures at 49 degrees at the base and 46 on the summit.

The ski area reports it’s looking to move snow around the mountain in order to open runs on Saturday, but said to check its website for the latest snow report for updates.



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