Winter sports are a wildly popular recreational activity in the winter. If you’re looking for a snow capped mountain-top experience, Washington has everything you’ll need. With over a dozen resorts and incredible snowfall every year, use this article to plan your visit to one of Washington’s ski resorts.
The Summit At Snoqualmie
This well-loved Washington ski resort is conveniently located one hour east of Seattle. Whatever level of skiing or snowboarding you’re comfortable with, the Summit At Snoqualmie accommodates all shredders on its nearly 2,000 skiable acres. There are four mountain bases of this ski resort, including Summit West, Summit East, Summit Central and Alpental. Summit West is the ideal area to learn how to ski or board, whereas Alpental offers steep declines and deep snowfall for the more experienced riders.
Not too keen on skiing or snowboarding? No problem! The Summit At Snoqualmie has a snow tubing park and snowshoe rentals to make your snow day delightful. Snow tubing will have the whole family smiling from ear-to-ear as you glide down a 500 foot-long slide of groomed snow. If you decide to slow things down on a more scenic adventure, you can explore the designated trails on snowshoes. Reserve your rentals online and step out in the winter wonderland of the central Cascade Mountains.
Located two hours south of Seattle on the east side of Mount Rainier National Park, Crystal Mountain embodies the ultimate magical winter escape. It’s the largest ski resort in Washington state, sitting on 2,600 acres of mountain top with 57 designated trails that cater to beginner, intermediate and advanced skiers. The Crystal Park crew values fun and creative features on the mountain, so the terrain park is assembled with all ages and abilities in mind. Practice your skills on a jump, box or rail if you’re feeling adventurous! If you’re not a daytime shredder, night skiing is a fantastic alternative to those early mornings, and three chairlifts can accommodate your post sun-down slope experience.
Activities aside from skiing and snowboarding include snowshoeing and scenic gondola rides. The Mount Rainier Gondola provides stunning views of – surprise – Mount Rainier and the magnificent Cascade Mountain Range. At nearly 2,500 feet in elevation, just steps away from the ride sits the Summit House, where you can enjoy locally sourced Pacific Northwest-inspired cuisine at Washington state’s highest elevation restaurant while you bask in the expansive views of alpine forest and breathtaking mountains.
Mount Baker Ski Area
Although this ski area caters more to experienced skiers and snowboarders, we can not discuss Washington ski resorts without an honorable mention of Mount Baker. Located on the border of the North Cascades National Park, approximately one hour east of Bellingham, Mt. Baker Ski area boasts 1,000 acres of skiable terrain. It’s known for the substantial snowfall it receives annually – an average of over 600 inches of snow per season. Did you know that during the winter of 1998-1999, Mt. Baker received 1,140 inches of snowfall? This has been verified by NOAA as the global record of snowfall during a single winter season! Winter athletes travel to this northern Washington ski area from all over to experience the snow that outlasts other mountaintop resorts and the lively community that resides there.
Stevens Pass is another well-loved ski area in the state. Popular due to its proximity to Seattle – under two hours east of the Emerald City – this Washington ski resort boasts a wide variety of runs for all riders. It will be difficult to avoid crowds on the weekends but it’s a mountain worth experiencing if you get the opportunity! Additionally, it’s a forty-minute drive to Leavenworth, where your winter wonderland escapade will only be elevated by the festivities of the Bavarian-themed village.
49° North Mountain Ski & Snowboard Resort
49° North Mountain is lesser-known than the resorts mentioned above, but it’s equally as exciting! A one hour and thirty-minute drive north of Spokane brings you to the 2,300 acres of skiable terrain with 50 different runs. You’ll be met with a vibrant community that puts on weekly events and a Nordic Center close by with trails for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.
In southeastern Washington – close to both the Oregon and Idaho borders – is Bluewood Ski Area. This humble Washington ski resort touts smoke-dry powder snow, epic tree skiing and a family friendly atmosphere and terrain. It also has the second highest base elevation in the state – 4,545 feet! Don’t let the 400 skiable acres deter you from this adventure! You’ll enjoy affordable lift tickets and plenty of snowfall throughout the season. Put this hidden gem on your list of mountains to ski this winter.
Mission Ridge Ski And Board Resort
This ski resort resides on the eastern segment of the Cascade Mountain Range and despite its impressive 2,000 acres of explorable terrain, Mission Ridge Ski Resort boasts a “small mountain vibe.” This means rarely a wait time in line for its chairlifts, a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere and landscape for every age and skill set. Located near Wenatchee, the best part about this resort might just be the 300+ days of sunshine per year. Who doesn’t want to hit the slopes under a clear blue sky? Additionally, Mission Ridge has incredible, easy-to-access backcountry for those who love the thrill of exploring ungroomed slopes – and are well-versed in safety protocols.
Washington ski resorts provide exciting ways to stay active this winter. Beautiful views of alpine forest and different activities in the mountains of the Evergreen state are ethereal to say the least. That’s why a mountain-top excursion – whether it’s skiing, snow tubing or snowshoeing – has got to be on your Washington winter bucket list. Extend your stay at one of our incredible inns in the region! After long days of high elevation workouts, our inns can provide you with ultimate comfort and relaxation to recoup your strength for more adventure!