I have updated the winter photography Web page and map with the photo guide. With winter coming to the NP and the NP in winter operation mode, it's time to plan and prepare accordingly. This will last until late spring of next year when the snowpack is mostly gone and the areas below 5-6,000 feet elevation are clear of snow.
Winter in Mt. Rainier NP is a whole different world from the main tourist season of Memorial Day through Labor Day, and in some year, into October. It starts in the late fall of November and last until the late spring of April, even May in some years. It's separated by three overlapping but distinct periods, the pre-winter fall, the winter and the spring snowmelt.
If you're a winter person, and I've found outside of the mountain climbers who themselves are a whole unique group of people because they value Mt. Rainier for a different purpose, there seems to be three distinct types of Mt. Rainier folks. The first are the summer people (hikers) who love it from late spring at the end of the snowmelt to early fall with the first major storms and later snowstorms.
The second are the winter people (skiers, snowboarders, snowshoers, etal) who tolerate the summer period (some don't even go) and can't wait for the first snows and really the start of the permanent snow. And the third are those who enjoy both, namely Mt. Rainier anytime throughout the year. It's simply one giant playground to value and enjoy, the season only determines how they get there and what they do.
There is a smaller last group who can't be labelled because they have their own periods they like Mt. Rainier NP, which doesn't fit any distinct group. I'm one of those, more a summer person but my favorite times are early spring, before Memorial Day and late fall, after Labor Day and into October. I love the cooler but not cold weather, the lack of people, and the occasional snow.
Winter is more a time I hibernate due having Raynaud's Syndrome with hurts more in cold weather every year. And last winter it found my toes, because I go barefoot all the time, with resulted in frostbite-like symptoms and damage to the toes. So winter is mixed blessing. I love it but I can't stay out in it very long. Sucks for photography.
Anyway, the updated winter guide is on-line and will be updated throughout the winter with the other news, access, conditions and prospectives Web pages.