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Above-average snowpack persists in Cascade Mountains, rangers say

Snowy trails are always a concern, and increased snow accumulation on trails has resulted in an extended season for a Washington ski resort.

SNOCUALMIE PASS, Wash. – Above-average mountain snow heading into June creates a unique situation in the Cascade Mountains for adventure seekers.

It may take some time for trails to appear and the ground to dry out. For most states, snowfall measurements are still well over 100 percent for this time of year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The Leavenworth Wilderness and Climbing Rangers hit the heart of the enchantments over Memorial Day weekend. The crew said measurements at the bottom were around 3ft and at the top of Aasgard Pass the snow was measured at 8ft deep.

“Do not come here to hike expecting summer conditions well into the summer months,” the rangers wrote on Facebook.

In that same post, they said they found two hikers lost in whiteout conditions.

“Without a map, no method of boiling water, soaked shoes and cotton pants. Individuals had to spend an unexpected night being looked after by two rangers. Please plan ahead and be prepared. is not responsible for putting any rangers or search and rescue members at risk for your poor judgment and poor decision-making,” the Leavenworth Wilderness and Climbing Rangers wrote.

The snowy terrane means a rare and prolonged season at Crystal Mountain.

“This middle and high mountain area is still full of snow,” said Emma Brice of Crystal Mountain.

Brice said Crystal Mountain has its Green Valley Lift and Mount Rainier Gondola running. She believes Crystal is one of eight locations still open in the United States.

“Getting all that snow late in the season is great for fire hazards in the summer, but also gives people more opportunities to ski in the spring,” Brice said.

This is an opportunity that is not too common. It is only the fifth time in two decades that the station has passed May. The station may stay open longer. In 2011, Crystal Mountains was open until July 16.

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