Weather Blog

Ever wanted to ski in shorts? This might be your chance

Ever wanted to ski in shorts? This might be your chance
Written Monday, May 12 @ 1:55 p.m.

This spring has had a bit of everything -- including snow a month after spring began.  So it makes sense that the ski season would extend quite a bit.

But long enough to where it would butt heads with the front fringe of our summer weather pattern? How's this for an answer: Ever wanted to ski in shorts?

You might have your chance this Saturday, as we get a rare convergence of a super-long ski season mixing with the first heat wave of the year. The Summit at Snoqualmie ski resort announced Monday they are going to extend their ski season on their Alpental run for one more weekend, opening up on May 17th and 18th.

In the meantime, anyone who has peeked at an extended forecast may have noticed a strange sight -- the number '8' in the first position on the temperature forecast. A big ridge of high pressure is expected to build toward the end of this week and combined with a thermal trough, is the perfect set up for our first real bout with warm-to-hot weather this year.

(Thermal troughs, also known as "heat lows" are nearly solely responsible for our hottest temperatures. They draw in air from the east, instead of the cool ocean, and as that air sinks down the Cascades, it compresses and heats up even more. More information in our Weather FAQ)

Holly Lippert, the communications manger with the Summit at Snoqualmie ski resort, says she can't remember any time in recent history of it being forecast to be that warm on the mountain with skiing still an option. She says there was a time in the 1970s when the resort opened Edelweiss Bowl for skiing in July.

Anyway, the peak of the heat is expected to be Friday, but it should still be plenty warm in the mountains on Saturday -- likely into the upper 70s to low 80s even at 4,000 feet as freezing levels soar to 12,000 feet.  Here in the lowlands, temperatures will be well into the 80s Thursday though Saturday, and possibly into the 90s in Southwestern Washington and northern Oregon.

So what snow is left up there will be much less by the end of the weekend, but there's enough up there to still ski. Just ditch the thermos of hot chocolate for a quart of lemonade instead and don't forget the sun block.

On their Web site, Alpental says this will make it the longest ski season in the past 30 years.  Their 303.5" in December and January was the most snow since 1971, and the 67" they received in April was the most since 1984. Overall, their seasonal snow total of 591" is the highest since our big snow season of 1998-99 when they received 603".

The heat wave should end Sunday, so if skiing in shorts isn't your bag, maybe wait a day when temperatures should drop back into the 50s and 60s in the mountains.