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Bring on the snow! Best ski areas you can drive to from Seattle



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When we get to the dreariest part of winter, when it’s gloomiest and coldest, a certain subset of Seattle people perks up. They are skiers and snowboarders, and they know that the chilly rain falling on us down here likely means snow up high, which means it’ll soon be time to suit up and go play in our beautiful mountains. Here is a roundup of some of the ski areas where Seattle families frolic through their winter weekends. (For you cross-country skiers, here are 8 places for you to go. Here are places to take the kids sledding or tubing.)

All driving times are estimates based on leaving Seattle at 8 a.m. on a Saturday. Lift tickets prices vary based on the day, and when they were purchased. Advance online tickets tend to be cheaper than those bought on the mountain. For many areas weekends and school breaks are more expensive. Weekdays when school is in session are cheaper.

 

The Summit at Snoqualmie

Driving time from Seattle: 1 hour

The closest ski resort to Seattle is an amalgamation of four distinct areas, each with its own challenges. Most of the beginner areas are at Summit Central. If you don’t want to drive there is a bus service.

Size: 1,994 skiable acres, 25 lifts, 2,280 vertical feet

Standard online price for lift tickets, bought online a in advance: $90 for age 13 and up, $58 for kids aged 7-12, $15 for kids aged 6 and younger.

Also offers: tubing and Nordic skiing.

Rentals available: Skis, snowboards, performance skis, Nordic skis, snowshoes.

 

Stevens Pass

Stevens Pass’s base is higher up than the Summit at Snoqualmie’s, so it tends to be colder, which in this area, usually means better conditions.  If you don’t want to drive, there is a bus shuttle service.

Driving time from Seattle: 2 hours

Size: 1125 skiable acres, 10 lifts, 1800 vertical feet

Price of Saturday lift tickets, bought online in advance: $89 for an adult, $60 for a child age 7 to 15

Also offers: Nordic skiing, free snow-play area

Rentals available: Skis, snowboards, Nordic skis, snowshoes

 

Crystal Mountain

The highest and biggest lift-served ski area in Washington, Crystal Mountain is usually first to open and last to close. In 2020 it is seeing record crowds, so as a result, they are no longer selling tickets at the booths on weekends or holidays. If you plan to go, you need to hit the website in time to snag advance tickets.

Driving time from Seattle: 2 hours

Size: 2,600 skiable acres, 10 lifts, 3,100 vertical feet

Price of online lift tickets for Saturday Dec. 14, 2019: $99 for adults, $88 for youth 13-22, $52 Children 5-12. Price goes up during school breaks.

Also offers: Snowshoe tours.

Rentals available: Skis, snowboards, snowshoes, some clothing.

 

Mission Ridge

Mission Ridge’s location on the east slope of the Cascades means that it can offer two things that are rare on west-slope mountains. One is dry powder snow, of a sort that many skiers covet. The other is sunshine.

Driving time from Seattle: 3 hours

Size: 2,000 skiable acres, 4 lifts, 2,250 vertical feet.

Standard lift ticket prices (discounts available for buying in advance online): $75 for adults aged 25 to 69, $65 for youths aged 18 to 24, $55 for kids aged 10 to 17, $10 for kids aged 9 and under.

Rentals available: skis, snowboards, snowshoes.

 

Mount Baker

This area, east of Bellingham, happens to be positioned in one of the world’s snowiest places. Its average yearly snowfall is 682 inches, which is 50 percent higher than the average at the Summit at Snoqualmie. Mount Baker Ski Area is a family-run business, a rarity in the corporate-dominated ski industry, and the local ownership shows in its down-to-earth, quirky culture.

Driving time from Seattle: 3 hours

Size: 1,000 skiable acres, 8 lifts, 1,500 vertical feet.

Weekend and holiday ticket prices: $63.02 for adults 16-59, $40.08 for youth 11-15, $27.80 for kids aged 7-10, kids 6 and under ride free.

Rentals available: Basic and premium skis and snowboards.

 

White Pass

More accessible from Tacoma than from Seattle, this resort on a breathtakingly lovely road offers many options for those who wish to play.

Driving time from Seattle: 3 hours

Size: 1,500 skiable acres, 8 lifts, 2,000 vertical feet.

Price of lift tickets (any day): $73 for an adult aged 17-72, $52 for a junior, aged 9-16, $5 for a child aged 8 and under or an adult aged 73 and more.

Also offers: Nordic skiing, snowshoe tour, tubing hill.

Rentals available: Skis, snowboards, Nordic skis, snowshoes.

 


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