The Summit at Snoqualmie (©Jeff Caven)
The snow has started to fall in the mountains, and soon it'll be time to hit the slopes. Seattle loves to ski and snowboard, and with the Cascade Mountains less than an hour away, there are multiple options for skiing without traveling far. Here, three of the closest to the city.
Crystal Mountain Resort
The largest ski resort in Washington, Crystal Mountain has 2,600 acres and more than 50 named runs. There's something for everyone here, from groomed beginner trails to challenging backcountry for the adventurous. You'll also find a large variety of spots to refuel, including the Summit House at the top of the Mount Rainier Gondola, sitting at 6,872 feet. For a more casual meal, check out the resorts taco truck or the Cascade Grill, a cafeteria-style establishment. Located about two hours from Seattle, the resort has an average annual snowfall of 486 inches, and just installed two brand-new chair lifts during the off-season. Visit the website for current conditions and ticket information.
The Summit at Snoqualmie
Only 45 minutes from Seattle, there are four downhill skiing areas to conquer plus cross-country skiing trails and a tubing area. The Summit at Snoqualmie offers a shuttle between the different areas Tu-Su, making it easy to explore multiple areas. At Summit West, find good runs for learning to ski and snowboard, including lessons with qualified instructors. Summit East has some of the best tree skiing at the resort, with everything from mellow runs to steep black diamonds. Summit Central has a little bit of everything, from beginner runs to black diamond runs. Alpental has some of the most challenging, breathtaking terrain in the country. The Nordic skiing area has more than 50 kilometers of groomed trails, perfect for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. The tubing area, across from Summit Central, is the easiest way to enjoy the resort if you're not a skiier. Visit the website to learn about the runs, current conditions and pass information.
Located on two national forests, Stevens Pass is about two hours from Seattle. There are 37 major runs and an average 460-inches of snow each year. With cool air drifting in from the eastern slope of the range, the snow here stays relatively dry. Wednesday-Sunday, Stevens Pass has night skiing, with limited lifts in operation. In addition to downhill, there is also a Nordic Center, accessible via shuttle from the alpine area. The resort also has a wide range of lessons available for kids as young as 3 through adults. Hungry? There are five dining options at the resort. Check the website for current conditions and ticket information.