White Pass opens early this year; people very excited - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

White Pass opens early this year; people very excited

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WHITE PASS, Wash.-- Sunday was opening day at White Pass Ski Area and people from around Central Washington finally made their first trip of the season up the mountain.

Skiers and snowboarders we spoke to Sunday say they are excited to be on the mountain. White Pass said they expected 1,500 people to show up.

"It's pretty sick, you know. Lots of pow, good terrain, you know. Just shredding it," said Seth Faulkner of Selah.

"I think phenomenal opening day for us. Snow conditions are fantastic," said Kathleen Goyette, spokesperson for White Pass.

Goyette says conditions were great for opening day Sunday, surprising for this early in the snow season.

"That extra snow we picked up the last couple of days, about 14 inches over the last 3 really made skiing fantastic," said Goyette.

On average, Goyette says White Pass opens the first week of December, making things almost 2 weeks early this year.

But you won't hear anyone on the mountain complaining about that.

"Just like shredding and getting my jib on. Just having a good time really," said Faulkner.

And it's not just skiers and snowboarders that are enjoying the early start.
 
Goyette says that it's great for the entire industry for every $1 someone spends at a mountain, they spend $5 elsewhere, like local ski and snowboard shops that depend on heavy traffic to White Pass.

"For the industry at large it's just really important for us to get started early. People show up, they ski early, than they seem to ski more often. The entire Highway 12 corridor, all the ski shops, everybody benefits when people start to ski," said Goyette.

White Pass will not be open Monday or Tuesday this week, but they say they're hoping to open for daily operation starting Wednesday.

"Super stoked. Getting my shred on, shredding the gnar," said Faulkner.

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