Skiers and snowboarders thrilled on Stevens Pass opening day

STEVENS PASS — Nick Noren was first in line with his snowboard for the chairlift.

The Mill Creek resident and a couple of his friends arrived Tuesday morning more than an hour before Stevens Pass officially opened.

“I’m pretty stoked about (being first in line),” said Noren, 28. “I’ll probably ski today through Sunday and go back to work Monday. I’m fortunate enough to make my own schedule.”

More than 650 people went skiing and snowboarding Tuesday when Stevens Pass became the first mountain pass in the state to open for the season.

“It is odd for us to be the first to open,” said Chris Danforth, a Stevens Pass spokesman. “People are so excited just to get out on the snow. We have the snow, so let’s get open. Let’s let people go up and have some fun.”

There was about two feet of snow at the mountain base for the noon opening, Danforth said. Stevens Pass stayed open until 4 p.m. and offered $20 lift passes. Those who showed annual passes from Stevens and any other mountain passes hit the slopes for free. The Daisy and Brooks chairlifts were open.

It was important for her family to be on the mountain the first day of the season, said Sarah Hudkins, 34. The Kirkland woman was snowboarding with her husband, Jason, and their children, Shayla, 18, and Gavin, 9.

“We took the kids out of school,” she said. “A lot of teachers think we’re crazy but we think it’s so important to bring our kids to the mountain in the winter. It’s family time and keeps them active.”

Gavin and his friend Kaitlyn Steffy, 9, of Woodinville, both enjoyed the Daisy run but were hopeful more snow will fall soon so more lifts can open.

“I wanted to go on Hogsback,” Kaitlyn said.

More lifts will begin to open as more snow falls, Danforth said. He expects Skyline and Hogsback lifts will be next, as long as the weather cooperates.

“It looks like we may have more lifts open up in the next 24 hours,” he said.

The fact there was enough snow for the pass to open before Thanksgiving was good enough for skier Erik Skvarch, of Baring. He was surprised when he heard on Monday that Stevens Pass was opening.

“I had to call and make sure it was true,” said Skvarch, 33. “As soon as we got here it was perfect snow conditions; barely cold enough to snow and there’s a little bit of blue sky poking through. You just couldn’t ask for a better snow day.”

Amanda Somes, who lives in Granite Falls, was learning how to snowboard for the first time. The 17-year-old admitted she fell “like 20 times” but that she and her boyfriend, Shaun Foldvik, 18, were committed to coming back to Stevens Pass soon.

“We’re here for the rest of the season,” she said.

Other ski resorts in the state are set to open this week. The Mt. Baker Ski Area is scheduled to open with limited operation today while Mission Ridge Ski &Board Resort plans to open on Friday.

The Summit at Snoqualmie and Mount Spokane Ski and Snowboard Park on Tuesday evening didn’t have opening dates scheduled.

Amy Daybert: 425-339-3491; adaybert@heraldnet.com.

If You Go

Stevens Pass is scheduled to be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. today and Thanksgiving — weather permitting. Lift tickets are priced at $39 through the holiday.

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