Seattle’s proximity to Cascades National Park makes it hard to resist combining your visit to the city with Alpine splendor. In the summer, a road trip around the Cascades Loop is the ultimate way to take it all in; in the winter it is all about the slopes. Many ski resorts are just a few hours from the city and based on some of the park’s most iconic peaks and passes. At these high altitudes, the snow conditions are ideal, and you can ski against a backdrop of mountain vistas. Here are some of the best ski resorts near Seattle, with courses and gentle slopes for beginners and challenging terrain for the experts.
Located within an hour of the city, the Summit at Snoqualmie resort is known as the place people from Seattle learn to ski. With 14 percent of the summit’s runs for beginners and the remaining geared towards, intermediate, advance and expert skiers, Snoqualmie Pass offers terrain for all levels. The resort offers visitors just under 2,000 acres of skiable terrain served by 25 lifts. There are 4 different skiing areas, 3 excellent terrain parks for freestyle skiing and snowboarding, facilities for tubing and an excellent Nordic skiing area. The resort also offers the most night skiing in the whole of the US and extraordinary views over the Cascades.
With stunning views of Mount Rainier, excellent facilities and located just 85 miles from Seattle, Crystal Mountain Resort is a firm favorite with powder hounds. You’ll find massive vertical rise, loads of terrain above the tree line and a huge number of trails for all abilities. While this isn’t the most affordable ski resort near Seattle, you do get a lot for your pass! The runs are extremely long and the skiable terrain stretches across a vast 2,600 acres.
White Pass Ski Area
White Pass also offers a huge variety of terrain and has excellent facilities for families. With its base between two peaks, there is a wide variety of terrain on offer and plenty of black diamond slopes for the pros. One of White Pass’ standout features is its huge Nordic ski area that curls its trails around magnificent scenery, again with excellent views of the iconic Mount Rainier. This place is often overlooked and might be less crowded than some of the more popular resorts. It is a great resort for those looking for long runs that give you time to absorb the scenery.
Stevens Pass Ski Area is great for advanced skiers and experts just an hour and a half from Seattle. Just over one-third of the runs are challenging black and double black, including some notoriously tough trails like Wild Katz and Andromeda Face. There are also plenty of beginner courses, green runs, play areas and Nordic skiing areas to cater to beginners and families. There are some great bowls for open skiers, most notably the Tye and Big Chief Bowls.
Mount Baker Ski Area
Mount Baker is famous for its heavy snowfall and expert runs. With so much snow and some difficult terrain, beginners and intermediates may be disappointed by the lack of groomed, easygoing green and blue trails. More advanced skiers looking for a challenge will be delighted. There is a natural halfpipe, quite a rarity in the Cascades, along with many difficult black diamond slopes and dangerous zones where daring freestylers can ski at their own risk.