Have you tried night skiing with the kids?
There are a lot of great ski options around Seattle, but ubiquitous with those two things are crowds! More people have been hitting the slopes in recent years and finding a parking space after 9 a.m. is like hitting the lottery. Getting toddlers up to the mountain is hard enough, add in endless lift lines and parking woes, and it’s a recipe for disaster (and major meltdowns).
It’s one of the many reasons our family has picked up night skiing. Are there trade-offs? Yes. Is it worth checking out? Also, yes!
Why night ski?
What you lose in terrain you gain in shorter lift lines and more parking spaces. But later start times also mean moving back bedtime, dinner on the road, and you’re less likely to get sought after fresh tracks. So, save your powder seeking for when you’re solo – there are no kids on a powder day.
We’ve weighed the pros and cons, and for our family, we’ve decided to start our ski days later and arrive at the mountain just as the sun begins to set. The lights turn on and a magical experience of cruising blues (intermediate slopes) under the stars awaits.
Where to go night skiing:
Summit at Snoqualmie
Located just 45-minutes away from Seattle, Summit at Snoqualmie is a great destination for mid-week ski laps or a weekend trip away. The Summit at Snoqualmie offers the most night skiing in the US – that’s nearly 600 acres of snowy bliss.
Three areas on the mountain are open at night: Alpental, Summit Central and Summit West. Each area offers a unique experience. Summit Central is our go-to because it has skiing for everyone – beginner, intermediate and advanced terrain. It also has an area where kids (or adults) can hit some jumps and rails.
“When you’re ready” (that’s the tagline for Alpental), you can also check out Alpental’s lower mountain, also open at night. The terrain is a little more advanced, but it’s a great place to go if you’re searching for steep drops and short lift lines.
Tickets must be purchased online and can be picked up at the self-service pickup boxes or at the ticket windown.
Cost: Prices are variable, starting at $42 per adult; $18 per child ages 0 to 6; $35 per youth
Time: You can visit their hours page for more information of each area on the mountain. Alpental closes at 9 p.m.. Summit West and Summit Central (including Silver Fir) close at 9:30 p.m..
Location: 1001 WA-906, Snoqualmie Pass, WA 98068
Insider tip: Always check their website and social media before heading out for updates about conditions and parking information. WSDOT is also a great place to check road conditions.
A little farther from Seattle, about an hour and a half drive away, is arguably our family’s favorite ski resort, Stevens Pass. When the sun sets, the skiing doesn’t at Stevens Pass. The limited terrain that’s offered under the lights is still great skiing. Pick your adventure by accessing runs off Skyline Express, Kehr’s Chair, or catch a ride on Hogsback Express and make your way to Tye Mill. We love following our excited toddlers as they control where we go on the mountain – down into bowls, maneuvering through moguls (big bumps) or ripping down groomed blues – it’s a winter playground!
Night tickets can be purchased at the ticket window at Stevens Pass or online in advance, but you must visit the window to pick up your ticket.
Cost: $64 per adult; $43 per child ages 7 to 12; Free for children 6 and under with a ‘Tots Pass’
Time: Wednesday – Sunday from 4 p.m. – 10 p.m.
Location: U.S. Highway 2, Skykomish, WA 98288
Insider Tip: Children 6 and under ski for free at Stevens Pass. When you get to the mountain, visit the Stevens Pass ticket office to pick up your ticket. You can also secure a Tot Ticket or a Tot Pass ahead of time by calling the Guest Services Center at 206-812-4510.
Crystal Mountain Ski Resort
Crystal Mountain is the largest ski resort in Washington. Located on the northeast corner of Mt. Rainier National Park, the ski resort is just about 2-hours away from Seattle. With a wide variety of slopes to choose from, Crystal is a great place for families to ski. And kids under 6 years old ski for free.
Night skiing and riding is offered on Fridays and Saturdays, so you can beat the morning rush and still ski runs from Discovery, Gold Hills and Quicksilver chair lifts.
Cost: $75 per adult; $65 per young adult ages 13 to 22; $39 per child 5 to 12
Time: Friday and Saturday 1 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Location: 33914 Crystal Mountain Blvd, Enumclaw, WA 98022
What to bring on your night ski adventure
For skiing, we bring base layers, ski bibs, waterproof jackets, mittens, helmets and ski boots. I also pack chocolates in my pockets for when legs get tired and the cold starts to nip at their noses. It’s miraculous what a little sugar boost can do for a kiddo’s spirit.
Skiing is an expensive sport that requires a lot of gear. To find affordable children’s skis, we like to peruse ski swaps and eBay for good deals. We’re always on the lookout for hand-me-downs and gently used gear as well.
Night skiing past bedtime
When we’re done skiing, it’s late and usually well past bedtime. If you like routines and keep a strict bedtime, night skiing is going to derail those plans a bit. We create cozy nooks in our kiddos’ car seats, so they have a warm place to curl up and snooze safely. We pack blankets, stuffies and jammies for the ride home. We usually take lots of breaks, including at least one trip into the lodge for hot cocoa.
Getting up to the mountain is an experience, so pat yourself on the back for planning to get out and about. It’s hard, but it’s worth it. Spending time with your tiny tots on the mountain is an investment into a wonderful memorable experience. Soon enough, you’ll be hitting powder together and having the best times of your life.
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