PNW Ski Resorts [EXPOSED]
Okay, here it goes… The ins and outs of riding the best of the PNW one mountain at a time (ordered by distance).
Here's a little lango refresher in case we forgot:
Green Run: Beginner's heaven. Or see how fast you can get to the chairlift.
Blue Run: Intermediate; here you'll find beginners thinking they're pro and pro's killing beginners... Usually the most crowded runs on the mountain
Black Diamond: Advanced; it's mostly quiet with the occasional call for help.
Double Black Diamond: Double the fun am I right? Those with a death wish gather here. And snowboarders.
The Summit at Snoqualmie:
50 min from Seattle
Behold, your closest winter sports destination. Snoqualmie is great for a casual day, afternoon, or even evening on the slopes. Perfect for beginners, Snoqualmie hosts mostly blue and green runs with a few black diamonds here and there. There's even Nordic skiing and tubing for the whole family. The other mountain, Alpental, boasts easy access to wild terrain with five black diamonds and two blues. There's something for everyone here! The only downside is the lack of snow. The lifts are typically open for a shorter amount of time than other ski resorts because of its low elevation.
Acres of Skiable Terrain: 523
Terrain Parks: 2
Average Snowfall: 428"
Longest Run: 1.17 miles
Full Day Lift Ticket Ages 13-61: $75 - $85
(9 a.m. - 10 p.m.; 1001 WA-906; 425.434.7669; www.summitatsnoqualmie.com)
1 hr 50 min from Seattle
Located on the crest of the Cascade Range, Stevens awaits with legendary dry snow and quality terrain parks (dependent on snowfall). There's something for everyone here with 52 major runs, the majority intermediate. Head up to the top of Tye Mill for amazing views of the Cascades and an entirely skiable back side of the mountain.
Acres of Skiable Terrain: 1,125
Terrain Parks: 4
Average Snowfall: 460"
Longest Run: 1 mile
Full Day Lift Tickets: Ages 16-69: $79 - $89
(9 a.m. - 4 p.m.; US-2, Skykomish; 206.812.4510; www.stevenspass.com)
2 hrs from Seattle
The largest ski resort in Washington with the only high-speed gondola operating in all seasons lies only a couple of hours north of Seattle. Crystal is a local's paradise with open boundary back-country trails and 32 percent advanced runs. Sadly, there's no night skiing, but the mountain more than makes up for it.
Acres of Skiable Terrain: 2,600
Terrain Park: 1
Average Snowfall: 486"
Longest Run: 2 Miles
Full Day Lift Tickets: Ages 16-69: $76 - $80
(9 a.m. - 4 p.m.; 33914 Crystal Mountain Boulevard; 360.663.2265; crystalmountainresort.com)
Mt. Baker Ski Area:
2 hrs 40 min from Seattle
Baker is known for its powder with the most annual snowfall in the entire world. It also hosts the Legendary Banked Slalom, the largest snowboard race in the world. Great for both beginners (24 percent green runs) and experts (31 percent double black diamonds). It's worth the drive!
Acres of Skiable Terrain: 1,000
Terrain Parks: 0
Average Snowfall: 641"
Vertical Drop: 1,500'
Longest Run: 1 mile
Full Day Lift Tickets: Ages 16-69: $56 - $61
(9 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.; 1420 Iowa Street; 360.734.6771; www.mtbaker.us)
Mission Ridge Ski & Board Resort:
3 hours 18 minutes from Seattle
Light and dry powder, no people, amazing views and 300 days of sun... what's not to like? I like to think of it as Washington's best kept public secret with over 36 designated runs and backcountry built into a 2,000 acre basin on the eastern side of the Cascades.
Acres of Skiable Terrain: 2,000
Terrain Parks: 3
Average Snowfall: 200"
Vertical Drop: 2,250'
Longest Run: 1 mile
Full Day Lift Tickets: Ages 18-24: $50; Ages 25-69: $69
(Times Vary; 7500 Mission Ridge Rd; 509.663.6543; www.missionridge.com)
4 hours 12 minutes from Seattle
No bias but... WHISTLER/BLACKCOMB IS THE BEST! It's consistently rated North America's #1 resort, so if you disagree, we can't be friends. Jokes! (But really...). There's something to be said for skiing all day and never shredding the same run twice (unless you want to). The Peak 2 Peak Gondola is a must whether or not you're a skier. Epic 360-degree uninterrupted views await on the longest (1.88 miles to be exact) unsupported lift span in the world, allowing you to experience both mountains in one day. It's only 11 minutes long so take a break, warm up, and take it all in. It's worth it. The 2010 Winter Olympics were also held here. You can even try out a bobsleigh at the Whistler Sliding Center (www.whistlerportlegacies.com).
After a long day on the slopes, ski right into the heart of Whistler Village to find poutine, shops, restaurants, bars, live music, rock climbing, etc. all decorated with Christmas lights and typically covered in snow (did i mention poutine?). It's the definition of a Winter Wonderland so pack your gear, layer up, and hit the road. It's an experience you'll never forget.
Acres of Skiable Terrain: 8,171
Terrain Parks: 5
Average Snowfall: 462"
Vertical Drop: 5,278'
Longest Run: 7 miles
Two-Day Lift Tickets: Ages 19-64: ~ beginning at USD $98 (prices vary by day)
**Save money by purchasing online ahead of time or multiple day passes
**Also accepts Edge Card
(Times Vary; 4890 Glacier Drive; 800.766.0449; www.whistlerblackcomb.com)
Mt. Hood Meadows
4 hrs 30 min from Seattle
If you're down south stop by Meadows, just 90 minutes away from Portland, to ski Mt. Hood's sunny, wind-protected, southeast flank with panoramic views for miles. Known for its diversity and playfulness, Meadows won't disappoint. Heather Canyon offers steep powder drops with hiking opportunities for those hard-core double-black shredders looking to drop into the Super Bowl above Heather.
Acres of Skiable Terrain: 2,150
Terrain Parks: 6
Average Snowfall: 430"
Vertical Drop: 2,777'
Longest Run: 3 miles
Full Day Lift Tickets: Ages 15-64: $75 - $82
(Times Vary; 14040 Hwy 35; 503.337.2222; www.skihood.com)
Located near the top of Oregon's tallest mountain, an 11,245' volcano (Mt. Hood), lies Timberline. It's elevation of 3,690 vertical feet means that yes, summer skiing is actually a thing. It's open year round and boasts the Northwest's largest vertical terrain. During the Spring and Summer you can actually take a lift up to the highest operation point of 8,540' but winter you'll need to hop on a Snowcat to experience it.
Acres of Skiable Terrain: 1,415
Terrain Parks: 5
Average Snowfall: 550"
Vertical Drop: 3,690'
Longest Run: 2 miles
Full Day Lift Tickets: Ages 18-64: $71
(Times Vary; 27500 E Timberline Road; 503.272.3311; www.timberlinelodge.com)
All photos from