BEST SKI DESTINATIONS IN WASHINGTON STATE

Where to Ski in Washington, Including Information on Travel, Lodging and Dining


Skiers have been drawn to Washington state for many years. With its great snow conditions, wonderful scenery and proximity to top lodging, dining, shopping and other attractions, you'll soon see why skiers have been flocking to Washington from all over the world. Almost every part of Washington has a winter recreation destination where you can find downhill and crosscountry skiing and snowboarding, among other winter-related activities. You'll find plenty of opportunities for backcountry skiing activities, too, including heli skiing and boarding, as well as dog sledding, snowmobiling, snowtubing, and even mountain climbing. We'll give you the rundown on Crystal Mountain, the state's largest ski facility; Hurricane Ridge in the Olympic National Forest; the Summit at Snoqualmie; Stevens Pass and other ski facilities; how to get there, lodging and dining choices, and other activities you can enjoy when you're not on the ski slopes. Whether you live in Washington state or plan to visit for the skiing, we hope you will find this article interesting and informative as you plan your ski trip.



Crystal Mountain Skiing And Activities

Washington's largest ski area is just 90 minutes east of Tacoma, and 105 minutes from Seattle. Their web site, skicrystal.com, will be your guide to snow and ski conditions, weather, and other useful information if you're planning a ski trip here. Enjoy skiing on your choice of 57 ski trails in 2600 acres of ski terrain. 54% of the trails are devoted to intermediate skiers, 11% to beginners, and 35% to advanced skiers. There are 300 in-bound acres of backcountry and unlimited out-of-bounds acres. Looking for a ski school here? Expert instructors will take you in and teach you what you need to know about skiing and snowboarding, from ages 4 to adult in classes geared to specific age groups. If you plan to stay overnight, you've got many choices: Crystal Mountain Lodging Suites have 100 rooms--1 and 2 bedrooms non-smoking suites, some with a fireplace, and use of the heated pool. You can also choose one of three hotels--Alpine Inn, Quicksilver Lodge or Village Inn; or try the Alta Crystal Resort. All offer great midweek lodging/ski lift packages that are very affordable. Need a bite to eat? You've got plenty of choices, including the Summitt House restaurant, Bullwheel Pub & Grill, or the Cascade Grill, just to name a few. If you want to take a break from skiing, try an Alpine Snowshoe Tour, which culminates with a cheese fondue dinner. Dancing is available at Bullwheel or Snorting Elk Center on weekends. If you're staying at Crystal Mountain Lodging Suites, take advantage of their heated pool. The Alta Crystal Resort also has a heated pool and hot tub.

The Summit At Snoqualmie

Located an hour east of Seattle, The Summit is fun for skiers and snowboarders alike, as well as those who just want the fun of snowtubing. Also enjoy snowshoeing, and there's a good ski school if you're a beginner or just need a few tips. Base areas include Alpental, Summit East, West and Central, the Nordic center, and the Tubing area. Alpental is geared mostly to advanced skiers, with 75% of its 302 acres devoted to the advanced. With backcountry skiing added on, you'll have 825 acres to ski in. If you're a beginner, don't even think of skiing here--only 3% of its trails are rated for the beginner. Summit West is the intermediate skier's friend, with 56% of its 200 acres rated for the intermediate skier. There are a variety of ski and snowboard programs offered here through the Summit Learning Center. Summit East is only open on Saturdays & Sundays, but offers Nordic skiing as well as snowshoeing. Intermediate and advanced skiers will enjoy this one. Summit Central has every type of terrain for every type of ski level. The tubing area is only open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, but it's still great fun for the non-skiers or if you just want a fun and easy break from skiing. Other than the Summit Lodge, there are no on-site lodging facilities, but there are many in nearby town. There are plenty of places to dine in all of the ski areas. Check out Summitatsnoqualmie.com for more information on skiing, lodging, dining and other activities.

Stevens Pass

Stevens Pass is one of the Northwest's premier ski resorts, with 10 lifts, more than 1,125 acres of skiable terrain, and 37 primary runs. Stevens Pass averages 450" of snow each year, and you can enjoy night skiing there, as well. Stevens is about 78 miles east of Seattle, 58 miles west of Wenatchee. You'll find ski and snowboard areas for every level of skiier. If you need a place to spend the night, look to nearby Lake Chelan, Leavenworth, the Wenatchee Valley or Westside for lodging possibilities. From inns to lodges, many come with good ski packages. For dining, there are several types of dining facilities available in the three day lodges at Stevens. If you're in a hurry to get back to skiing, try one of the quick serve restaurants, but if you're looking for a more releaxed experience, those are available to you as well.

Hurricane Ridge

Hurricane Ridge is located in the Olympic National Forest, about 17 miles from Pt. Angeles. It's a small, family-oriented ski area, offering quality skiing and boarding experiences, but without the high cost or the congestion of the larger areas. If you'd rather be in a slower paced setting, this one might be for you. Hurricane Ridge receives an average of 400" of snow each year. There's a ski school, and you can enjoy downhill and crosscountry skiing, snowboarding, snowtubing, and snowshoeing. There's a visiter's center where you can get food, but no other dining or lodging facilities are in the nearby vicinity. You're only 17 miles from Pt. Angeles, though; so you won't have to look far for lodging. One other word of advice: the national park charges an entrance fee of $15 per car, but if you plan on making more than one trip, you can get a season's pass for $30.

Other Ski Areas

Since we never have enough room to fully expand on available possibilities, here's a brief rundown on some of the other ski areas in Washington state:

Mount Baker
Northernmost ski area in Washington and located in the Mt. Baker National Forest, Mt. Baker holds the world's record for the most snowfall in 1998-99 at 1,140 inches. Good skiing for all ski levels, lodging and dining facilites available in nearby towns, anywhere from 27 to 36 miles from the mountain.

Bluewood
Located in the southeastern part of the state, Bluewood is nestled in the Blue Mountains, 21 miles from Dayton Washington, 52 miles from Walla Walla, 94 miles from Lewiston, Idaho. Enjoy shorter lines and less-crowded conditions here, and if you're from northern Oregon or south-eastern Washington, your travel time is cut too.

49 Degrees North
Interesting name for an interesting ski area, this one's located 1 hour north of Spokane, in northeastern Washington. Enjoy 2,325 acres of ski terrain for your skiing and snowboarding fun.

White Pass
Family-friendly ski and snowboarding area just 12 miles southeast of Mt. Rainier National Park. Two lodging possiblities right at the ski resort, or even more possibilities in nearby towns.

All ski areas we've reviewed have their own web sites, and more information plus links to these web sites are available at skiwashington.com

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