The 5 Best Ski Resorts in Washington

The 5 Best Ski Resorts in Washington
Karl Sander
Written by Karl Sander / Photos by Jack Lee
Last updated October 7, 2020
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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!

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Known for

The most convenient ski area for most Seattle-area residents and home to the state’s most extensive night skiing operation

Highlights

  • Easy freeway access and only an hour from Seattle
  • Plenty of parking for day trippers
  • Nearby Alpental accessible with the same ticket and a shuttle bus
  • Low elevation can mean heavy snow or even rain

Closest airports

Seattle-Tacoma Intl. Airport - 61 mi (1 hour drive)
Plenty of trails to ski and things to do! (Photo credit: Summit at Snoqualmie)

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!

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Known for

An under-the-radar resort on the east slope of the Cascades, where the snow is dry and there are plenty of sunny days

Highlights

  • Drier and lighter snow than most ski areas in the Northwest
  • Uncrowded
  • Frequently sunny and a good bet for bluebird skiing!
  • Too far away for day-trippers

Closest airports

Seattle-Tacoma Intl. Airport - 161 mi (3.5 hour drive)
One of the intermediate trails at Mission Ridge (Photo credit: Mission Ridge)

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!

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Known for

Abundant intermediate and advanced terrain, and almost as easy to get to from Seattle as Snoqualmie

Highlights

  • Great terrain and reliable snow
  • Upgraded lifts
  • Convenient for northern suburbs
  • Lack of parking

Closest airports

Seattle-Tacoma Intl. Airport - 91 mi (2 hour drive)
A powder playground for experienced skiers (Photo credit: Stevens Pass)

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.

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Known for

Washington’s only destination resort and plenty of above-the-treeline terrain

Highlights

  • Hands-down the easiest to get to from the southern suburbs
  • Diverse terrain, including in-bounds backcountry
  • Unbeatable views of Mount Rainier
  • Relatively expensive and sometimes crowded

Closest airports

Seattle-Tacoma Intl. Airport - 73 mi (1.5 hour drive)
Ride the Mt. Rainier gondola (Photo credit: Crystal Mountain)

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.

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Known for

Legendary snowfall and famously extreme terrain

Highlights

  • Record-setting snow!
  • Relatively long season
  • Back and side-country opportunities abound
  • Long drive from Seattle

Closest airports

Seattle-Tacoma Intl. Airport - 147 mi (3 hour drive)
No shortage of powder at Mount Baker! (Photo credit: Mount Baker)

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!

The 5 Best Ski Resorts in Washington
Summit at Snoqualmie
Mission Ridge
Stevens Pass
Crystal Mountain Resort WA
Mount Baker
Summit at Snoqualmie