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Let's go sledding! Places to play in the snow around Seattle.



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Snow is a wonderful thing. It is gorgeous, useful for building sculptures and buildings and its ability to store water is reason rivers in these parts keep running all summer long. It can also be wonderfully slippery, allowing people to hurtle down hills in all kinds of conveyances.

Sledding and tubing are ways that kids can explore the potential of snow, using simple, affordable tools that do not require lessons to master. And while you’re there, take some time to build a snow-creature, pelt each other with snowballs, catch a snowflake on the tongue, make snow angels and listen to the way sounds travel.

There are two kinds of options here: sled hills and tube parks.

With sledding, you use a toboggan or sled or a tube that you buy. Some toboggans and sleds are theoretically possible to steer. Some are not. You don’t need a special track, but you’ll go farther if you are on a hill that has already been sledded on. (A few choice spots are groomed from time to time.) And once you sled down the hill, you have to carry your sled back up the hill.

At a tube park, you go downhill riding a round inflated tube that is provided as part of the ticket price. It is impossible to steer, so places with tubing tend to have specially designed chutes that will send your tube rocketing down without bumping into other people. Once you sled down the hill, you ride some kind of lift, or at least a rope tow back to the top. For this reason, access to tubing always involves tickets and often involves reservations.

Before you go, check the conditions. A number of places take a little while to get enough snow, so they are likely to open later than ski areas tend to. And if they are open, you don’t want to drive two hours to the sledding spot, only to find it is raining, or so cold your face hurts.

Here are some local hotspots for families sliding downhill on snow. Driving time estimates are based on leaving Seattle at 8 o'clock on a Saturday morning.

 

Hyak Sno-Park

Easy to reach sled hill in Lake Easton State park. It is groomed from time to time, and has heated bathrooms. There's a lovely cross-country ski trail nearby.

Driving time from Seattle: 1 hour

Elevation: About 2,500 feet

Conditions: Recorded message line 509-656-2230

Activity: Tubing hill and designated snow play area.

Open 8 a.m. until dusk daily.

Fees: Each vehicle needs a Discover Pass and a daily Sno-Park permit, or a Seasonal Sno-Park Permit with a Special Groomed Trails Permit.

 

Summit at Snoqualmie Tubing Park

Reservations are recommended at this popular park in the bustling ski area closest to Seattle.

Driving time from Seattle: 1 hour

Elevation: About 3,000 feet

Conditions: summitatsnoqualmie.com/conditions

Activity: Tubing only.

Open Fridays, Saturday, Sundays and holidays, for six two-hour slots per day.

Ticket prices depend on the day and the time slot: Adult (13+) $26-$30; kids 6 to 12; $24-$26, children 5 and under $8.

Age restrictions: Children 5 and younger must ride with an adult. The park does not recommend tubing for kids under 3.

Read this, too: Combine sledding at Snoqualmie, pub grub in Issaquah

 

Suncadia Tubing Hill

This resort in Cle Elem runs a rope tow-serviced tubing hill along with a variety of other winter activities, such as Nordic skiing and a skating rink.

Driving time from Seattle: 1.5 hours

Elevation: 2,250 feet

Conditions: here

Activities: Tubing

Fee: $20 for a two-hour session.

Restrictions: minimum height requirement is 36 inches. No children under 3 years old. Kids aged 12 and under must be accompanied by an adult.

 

Stevens Pass Snow Play/Sledding Area

Next to Stevens Pass’s Nordic Center is a brand-new snow play area. According to the folks at Stevens Pass, it is best suited for children 10 and under.

Driving time from Seattle: 2 hours

Elevation: 3,300 feet

Conditions: stevenspass.com/Nordic/

Activities: Sledding

Fee: None

 

Lake Wenatchee Sno-Park

In the summer, Lake Wenatchee is a popular camping getaway. In the snow, there’s still fun to be had. Along with the tubing hill and snow play area, there are also trails for cross country skiing and snowshoeing.

Driving time from Seattle: 2.5 hours

Elevation: About 1,875 feet

Conditions: Lake Wenatchee State Park's phone number is 509-763-3101

Activities: Tubing hill and snow play area.

Fees: Each vehicle needs a Discover Pass and a daily Sno-Park permit, or a Seasonal Sno-Park Permit with a Special Groomed Trails Permit.

 

Leavenworth Ski Hill

This historic facility, in operation since the 1920s, has a tubing park. There’s also a sled hill at a nearby golf course. Leavenworth Ski Hill also boasts two runs for skiing and snowboarding, along with Nordic trails, snowshoeing and the chance to take a spin on a fat bike, a mountain bike with tires for snow.

Driving time from Seattle: 2.5 hours

Elevation: About 1,200 feet

Conditions: skileavenworth.com/conditions

Activities: Tubing and sledding.

Ticket prices: $20 for six tubing runs, use of the sledding hill is $5 per person or $10 for a family of 4.

Restrictions: Tubers under 8 years old must be supervised by an adult. On the sled hill, no sleds with steel runners.

 

Paradise Snow Play Area

Mount Rainier National Park has a sledding hill at its Paradise area. You could also sign up for guided snowshoe tours, should the interest strike you.

Driving time from Seattle: 2.5 hours

Elevation: 5,400 feet

Conditions: here 

Activities: Sledding

Fee: Entry fee for Mount Rainier National Park is $30 per vehicle.

Restrictions: No wooden toboggans or sleds with metal runners.

 

White Pass

White Pass Ski area, south of Mount Rainier, has a groomed tubing area.

Driving time from Seattle: 3 hours

Elevation: 4,500 feet

Conditions: here

Activities: Tubing

Fee: $5 tube rental. Ticket per session is $5 for ages 8 and under, $7 for ages 9 and up.

Restrictions: No sleds.


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