Ski Resorts and Crowd Free Trails

When winter arrives, we strap skis or boards to our feet and let gravity do its thing.
| Updated: November 27, 2018

Going Downhill

Here’s a handful of familiar snowsport options, plus one that’s a little out there. Visit for more.

The Summit at Snoqualmie

(elevation: 5,420 feet)
For a quick after-work ski session, head to Seattle’s closest resort. For the price of one lift ticket, you can enjoy four ski areas that accommodate the shy beginner as well as the experienced backcountry skier, day and night.
Adult lift ticket: $58
Snoqualmie Pass, 1001 State Route 906; 425.434.7669;

Crystal Mountain

(elevation: 7,012 feet)
At some of the highest elevations around, advanced skiers adore the steeps, chutes and long runs at Crystal—and the cool new gondola. A digital ticketing system means less time in line.
Adult lift ticket: $65;
Crystal Mountain, 33914 Crystal Mountain Blvd.; 360.663.2265;

Stevens Pass

(highest elevation: 5,845)
A hot spot for locals, Stevens is slightly less prone to the wet snow that may come with warmer winters. Varied slopes and a terrain park make it a great place for families and boarders. Expansion plans include new lifts, access to more vertical and a summer-use mountain bike trail.
Adult lift ticket: $60
Skykomish, U.S. Highway 2; 206.812.4510;

Mount Baker Ski Area
(elevation: 5,050 feet)
Because Mount Baker holds the record for the most snowfall in one season (1,140 inches), you can bet on some of the best conditions on Earth. This place is also loved for its old-school vibe and affordability.
Adult lift ticket: $51
56 miles east of Bellingham on State Route 542; 360.734.6771;

Mission Ridge Ski and Board Resort
(elevation: 6,820)
Bomber Bowl, the location of a World War II bomber crash, may be this resort’s most recognized attraction. Runners-up: dry snow, because of the resort’slocation on the east side of the Cascades, and short lift lines.
Adult lift ticket: $50
Wenatchee, 7500 Mission Ridge Road; 509.663.6543;

North Cascade Heli-Skiing

Tried it all? Ditch the ski lift for a helicopter and test your skills at elevations above 7,000 feet on your own 300,000-acre playground. Novices need not apply.
Full day of heli-skiing: $968.22 per person
Mazama, 31 Early Winters Drive; 509.996.3272;


Mailbox PeakCrowd-Free Trails
Ever arrive at the Mount Si trailhead parking area and wonder if maybe you drove into a Costco lot by mistake? We all have our favorite hiking trails in the Seattle area, and often we all go there on the same day. So, next time you’re tempted to do the same old same old, try these less crowded alternatives instead.


Usual Suspects

Trail Less Traveled

Moderate Hike Mount Pilchuck:
Oft-crowded trail up to a historic fire lookout with standout views
Heybrook Lookout:
Short steep trail off State Route 2 leads to restored lookout with views of Mount Index, the Skykomish River and beyond
Hiking with dogs Cougar Mountain:
Lots of dog-friendly trails, lots of dogs (and their owners)
Squak Mountain:
The lesser known of the three Issaquah Alps delivers just as much wild charm without the pack mentality
Mountain biking Tiger Mountain:
An embarrassment of mountain biking options, an embarrassment of other mountain bikers
Duthie Hill:
Connect from Issaquah’s Grand Ridge Trail to this new 120-acre mountain bike park in Sammamish for single-track heaven
Steep, vigorous work-out Mount Si:
A great year-round, thigh-burning training hike that 30,000 to 50,000 of us take on every year
Mailbox Peak:
4,100 feet of elevation gain in just three miles leads to astounding summit views of the Snoqualmie Valley, Rattlesnake Ledge and the throngs of people on Mount Si’s summit across the way