It might typically be known for its rainy weather, but the mountains in Washington pull through with a great snow season. From family-friendly destination ski resorts to extreme advanced terrain, these Washington resorts cater to all types of skiers. Here are our five favorites!
Due to COVID-19, safety measures were put in place by the State of Washington which impacted the 20/21 ski season. These included mandatory mask-wearing and physical distancing. The Summit at Snoqualmie Resort, located at the border of Kittitas and King County, implemented reduced capacity on chairlifts, increased cleaning and sanitization and permitted cashless transactions only. Such restrictions are not anticipated to continue into the 21/22 winter season.
Located just a 50 minute drive from Downtown Seattle, it's hard to beat this resort’s convenient location. Once you’ve arrived, you can take your pick of the 82 trails catering to all abilities, slide down the thrilling snow tubing course, or try one of the many dining and après options available. A complimentary shuttle bus links each base area (from Tuesday to Sunday), so you can easily explore the whole mountain. The resort’s low elevation means it doesn’t have the area’s best snow. But it’s still a great resort with most of the trails lit for night-skiing, making it a great choice to hit the slopes after work!
Advanced skiers should look no further than Mission Ridge for fantastic off-piste terrain and more powder-like snow than other resorts in the Northwest region. The good snow does come at the cost of being located further out from Seattle than the other resorts on this list. Still, it would make for a great winter weekend getaway to Leavenworth or Wenatchee, both offering a variety of lodging and dining choices. Most of the terrain is suitable for intermediate and advanced skiers, but you can sign up for private or group lessons if you’re wanting to improve your skills. And for a fun family activity, check out the Wenatchee Wild play an ice hockey game close by!
Another Washington resort for experienced skiers to tick off their bucket list, Stevens Pass has some thrilling trails for the intermediate and advanced. The backside of the mountain and the trails off the 7th Heaven Chair are not to be missed! There’s also a dedicated learning area and great ski school if you’re not up to shredding down a black run just yet. The recent Vail acquisition can be thanked for some newly upgraded lifts, but not to worry, the resort still maintains its local mountain vibe. There isn’t much slope-side accommodation, but the Bavarian-themed village of Leavenworth is only 30 minutes away.
A full service resort and the largest ski area in Washington State, Crystal Mountain is the perfect choice for families. Only two hours from Seattle, and even closer to Tacoma and Olympia, you can visit as a day trip or stay in convenient slope-side lodging that ranges from charming suites to fully furnished condos. There’s 2,600 acres of skiable terrain to explore, and when you’re done for the day, the Fireside Cantina hosts great après parties! Boasting stunning views of Mt. Rainier, a wide variety of terrain and more runs above the tree-line than most resorts in the area, Crystal Mountain truly is a destination resort.
A no-frills ski area, Mount Baker makes up for it’s few amenities with its staggering snowfall. It even holds the record for the world’s most snowfall in one season: 1,140 in in 1998-99! Now, the ski area averages 680 in of snowfall each year. There’s no shortage of easily accessible extreme terrain and access points to unpatrolled backcountry. Keen and experienced skiers can take a 45 minute hike from Chair 8 to access a 40-degree chute. There are bunks within walking distance of the slopes, however, other rental condos are a drive away in Glacier or Bellingham. Although it’s a three-hour trek from Seattle, the snow and extreme terrain make it worth it!