The Best Places to Ski in and Around the Northwest
By Seattle magazine contributors and staff December 17, 2014
Whether you are a powder hound, laid-back freerider or Polartec poser, you can find your perfect place in the snow with our at-a-glance roundup of essential ski areas.
How big? Largest ski resort in the state
The scene: Families
The slopes: 2,600 acres; nearly 57 runs of various levels of difficulty
Other fun: Sidecountry adventures (see page 126)
What’s new: Que Tu Taco Truck, at the base next to the Mountain Shop
Drive from Seattle: An hour and a half
How big? Fourth-largest ski area in the state
The scene: No nonsense, low flash for serious snow junkies, mostly boarders
The slopes: 1,000 acres, 31 runs
of all levels
Other fun: Snow; last year’s 641 inches was the most in the world for a ski area
What’s new: This season, Mount Baker season-pass holders can ski for five days free at Mt. Hood Meadows.
Drive from Seattle: More than two hours
How big? Third-largest ski area in the state
The scene: Young, sometimes wild shredders
The slopes: 1,125 acres, 37 major runs; mostly intermediate and advanced
What’s new: Opened last year, the Jupiter quad chair cut the ride down from eight to four minutes to access mostly black diamond runs.
Drive from Seattle: About two hours.
How big? Second-largest in the state
The scene: Neighborhood feel, source of local pride
The slopes: 2,000 acres; 36 runs
What’s new: New last year, #100LAPS—the only dedicated rope-tow-serviced terrain park in the Northwest. Gnar!
Drive from Seattle: Three hours
How big? The largest cross-country ski trail system in the country
The scene: Nordic, Nordic, Nordic!
The slopes: Nearly 120 miles of machine-groomed trails
Other fun: Cross-country skiing between rustic huts on U.S. Forest Service land (dogs welcome; rendezvoushuts.com)
What’s new: Some trails open to fat bikes
Drive from Seattle: About five hours
There are dozens of ski resorts in British Columbia, but these days we’re loving Big White and Silver Star in Kelowna, B.C.—both are affordable, family friendly and blanketed in Monashee Mountain fluff, rather than Cascade concrete. JENNY CUNNINGHAM
Big White Ski Resort
How big? The 7,000-plus-acre Big White has more ski-in, ski-out accommodations than any resort in Canada.
The scene: Families bonding over après ski cocoa at the fire pit
The slopes: Primarily
Other fun: Tubing hill covered with giggling grown-ups
What’s new: Take a race lesson with Olympic silver medalist Kelsey Serwa. Her grandfather founded Big White.
Silver Star Mountain Resort
How big? Bigger than it looks
The scene: Idyllic village where everyone smiles and says “Hi!”
The slopes: The legendary “backside” leaves even experts breathless.
Other fun: Nordic is a big deal here!
What’s new: A scenic Nordic loop trail at Alder Point Lookout and a new warming hut
Getting to Kelowna: Kelowna is 240 miles east of Vancouver; that’s a five-and-a-half-hour drive for Vancouverites and more than six hours for folks in Seattle. You can fly directly from Vancouver or Seattle.
FOR MORE ON LEAVENWORTH AND WHISTLER BLACKCOMB, READ OUR FULL ARTICLE ON THE BEST NORTHWEST GETAWAYS. NEED MORE WINTERTIME ACTIVITY IDEAS? WE’VE GOT YOU COVERED.