Come December, Washington turns into an outdoor playground for skiers, snowboarders and all other lovers of the cold white stuff. We have compiled a list of the top areas for enjoying all manners of snow activities:
Reaching 6,872 feet in the Cascade Mountains is Crystal Mountain, a favorite spot for local skiers. Crystal Mountain is the largest ski resort in the state and is easily accessible from the Puget Sound region.
- Advanced skiers can enjoy six basins and a large number of black diamond and double black diamond trails totaling more than 2,600 acres of lifted runs and in-bound back country skiing.
- Take one of the guided Alpine Snowshoe Tours in Crystal Mountain’s South Backcountry. You can rent snowshoes at Crystal Mountain, Greenwater Skis or Alta Crystal Resort.
- Cross country skiing – rent skis at Greenwater Skis
- Ride the Mt. Rainier Gondola – you’ll rise to 2,500 vertical feet in just under 10 minutes to experience majestic views of Mt. Rainier and all the Cascades.
Just 12 miles southeast of Mt. Rainier National Park is White Pass. With eight lifts shuttling skiers and snowboarders up the mountain, White Pass is a favorite for intermediate and beginner levels.
- The White Pass Nordic Center offers 18 kilometers of groomed trail for cross country skiing and snowshoeing – it’s double-tracked with a 10’ skating lane.
- For the advanced snowboarder, White Pass offers a terrain park that regularly holds events for snowboarders to show off their talent.
Stevens Pass is one of the Northwest’s premier winter resorts offering 10 lifts, more than 1,125 acres of skiable terrain and 37 primary runs, just one and a half hours from Seattle. Whether you want easy, intermediate or difficult trails, Stevens Pass has opportunities for every skier and snowboarder.
- Can’t make it to the mountain during the day? Stevens Pass also offers night skiing Thursday through Monday at the following lifts: Hogsback Express, SkyLine Express, Kehr’s Chair, Tye-Mill, Brooks and Daisy.
- For the quieter side, Stevens Pass offers cross-country skiing, skate skiing and snowshoeing. The trails take you along the base of Jim Hill Mountain and into the heart of Mill Valley.
Just an hour east of Seattle Southside is the Summit at Snoqualmie - a ski resort with tons of options for enjoying the cold, snowy weather. With 26 chair lifts servicing the 1,900 acres of skiable terrain, the Summit is a favorite for all levels of adventurers.
- If cross country skiing is your activity of choice, the Summit at Snoqualmie has 50 km of trails offering incredible scenery of alpine meadows, frozen lakes and old growth forests in the Mount Baker National Forest.
- Bringing the family? Head to the Summit Tubing Center this weekend. Located across from Summit Central, the tow takes you and your tube back to the top so you can maximize your time on the mountain. The center is open Saturday and Sunday and sells two-hour sessions beginning at 9 a.m.
- Looking for the thrill of downhill skiing? The Summit is the place for both gentle slopes and benchmark parks and pipe. Four unique base areas offer a terrific variety of options for downhill skiers and snowboarders.
- Alpental – explore the backcountry that is home to some of the most challenging, adrenaline charged and breathtaking terrain on the continent.
- Summit West is known for its convenient family fin and great beginner terrain and is the first place to catch night skiing.
- Summit Central offers terrain for every skill level – from a superpipe and an award-winning top-to-bottom terrain park to black diamond runs, Summit Central has it all.
- Summit East features 150 acres of skiing and riding, including 65 acres of new terrain
- The Summit at Snoqualmie also offers after dark options in the six hundred areas of illuminated terrain six days a week until 10:00 p.m.
- Sledding and Sliding – Head up to Paradise to sled or slide in one of the designated snow play areas. Only “soft” sledding devices are allowed – no toboggans or runner sleds.
- Ranger-guided snowshoe walks – Beginning in mid-December, join a park ranger to experience what Mt. Rainier has to offer on a 1.5 mile, two hour walk in the park. Snowshoes are provided to participants in the tours.
- Mt. Rainier National Park offers multiple locations available for snowmobiling – check with the ranger stations for where snowmobiles are permitted and for the rules of the park.
Olympic National Park is the place to be for outdoor winter recreation. Opportunities abound for snowshoeing, downhill and cross-country skiing, children’s' sledding and more.
- Free ranger-guided snowshoe walks on weekends, weather permitting, from December through March at Hurricane Ridge. They even provide the snowshoes!
Grab your gear and have fun in the snow! It won’t last forever, so this is your opportunity to get out in it! Be sure take photos and videos of your experience and share your winter adventure with us for a chance to win big!