From Seattle to the Slopes

A guide to ski resorts around Washington.

It’s finally ski season, and snowboarders and skiers are getting ready to hit the slopes. While many have their mind made up about their preferred ski resort, others may be wondering which ski resort they should try next, or which one would suit them best. Washington offers a variety of great skiing and snowboarding locations, and here are a few of them: 

Mt. Baker Ski Resort

Snow: ★★★★★

Accessibility: ★★★☆☆

Affordability: ★★★★★ ($75.46 adult ticket)

Up near Bellingham and a three hour drive from Seattle, the trek to Mt. Baker includes a winding drive that makes it less accessible than Snoqualmie or Crystal. But if you’re willing to make the trip, Baker is an incredible ski resort well worth trying out. Baker is known for great snow, proven by the fact that the mountain received a record 1,140 inches of snowfall during the 1989-90 season. The heavy amount of snowfall on the mountain results in pristine powder, which is why this ski resort is so popular for snowboarders. Chairs 5, 6, and 1 contain advanced double black runs, with cliffs, chutes and gates. Chairs 3 and 4 have mostly blue (intermediate) runs, while Chairs 2 and 7 contain great terrain for beginners. Baker’s high amount of intermediate and expert terrain, relatively inexpensive tickets, and amazing snow make it the perfect resort for a ski vacation.

The Summit at Snoqualmie

Snow: ★★★☆☆

Accessibility: ★★★★★

Affordability: ★★★☆☆ ($74-119 adult ticket)

Snoqualmie is the closest mountain to Seattle, with a drive time of just over 50 minutes. However, a direct result of this, and downside to Snowqualmie is that the mountain is always packed. Beginner lifts like Holiday and intermediate lifts such as Central Express on Summit Central are a great place for beginners but are usually very full. Along with Summit Central, there is Summit West, East and Alpental, which is at a much higher altitude than the rest of the mountain and better suited to experts who wish to ride gates and want better snow quality. The tickets for Snoqualmie are a bit pricey, but with the proximity to Seattle, versatility that the mountain offers, and great snow relative to the altitude, Snoqualmie is sure to be a great option for many skiers and snowboarders out there. 

Crystal Mountain Resort 

Snow: ★★★★☆

Accessibility: ★★★★☆

Affordability: ★★☆☆☆($110-184 adult ticket)

The drive to Crystal is around two hours, and while it’s a slightly long ride to get up there, it is possible to drive up and back from Seattle for a full day if you leave early enough. The base of the mountain is great for beginners with green level lifts such as Discovery and Quicksilver. The bottom third of the mountain also includes a magic carpet which is great for beginners. The middle of the mountain has many blue and black runs as well as some greens, and lots of runs with trees. The top third of the mountain features many black and double black runs, with a lot of bowls and runs with control gates, which are designed for expert skiers or snowboarders. The tickets are pretty expensive, but in terms of having great snow and a large variety of runs, Crystal can’t be beat.