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Monday, November 16, 2009
Updated: June 14, 5:30 PM ET
Hello, Winter


Not bad for mid-November. Kumara Kelley with plenty of room to lay it out.

You can stop drinking (as much) now.

With a bluebird sky, 72 inches of Northwest love at the summit, and a 67 inch base at the lower lodge, Mt. Baker opened November 12th to a ravenous crowd. Even with both base areas filled and more people than I can ever remember on an opening day in my last 9 years at Mt. Baker, many turns off the main throughways laid untouched until after the lunch hour, and I heard numerous claims of, "Best opening day ever!" at the lodge when the lifts closed for the day.

It's an El Nino year, which means high amounts of precipitation in the Northwest, and warmer than normal temperatures. According to Gwyn Howat, who runs the mountain along with her sister and father, this season is setting up to be a weak to moderate El Nino winter, and that they expect 580 to 700 inches of snowfall. One thing I have learned from past El Nino's: get it while it's good -- before it rains.

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