If you’ve ever been to Washington State and done a road trip to the eastern part of the state, chances are you’ve driven through Snoqualmie Pass without even knowing it. Located about an hour east of Seattle off I-90, it’s the closest place to go skiing around the area. It may not be as large or as popular as Stevens Pass or Crystal Mountain, but there’s many reasons why I prefer Snoqualmie Pass.
A little about me – I’ve been snowboarding since I was 13, but it’s usually only a few times a year (although I’m actively working on increasing that number!). I’ve taken ski lessons once and intend to do it again, but found it pretty difficult the first time around. I do plan on trying again in Whistler this year. When I’m not traveling, I tend to stick to places close to Seattle like Snoqualmie for an easy day trip.
Snoqulamie is my favorite place to go for a quick ski day because you can easily be on the first run by 9 AM without waking up at the crack of dawn. The runs are always well-groomed, and the maps are easy to read if you want to switch up the trails you go down. There’s a variety of cat tracks (not my favorite as a snowboarder) and wide-open areas so you don’t feel like someone’s constantly on your back.
Taking a break at lunch is one of my favorite parts of boarding. There’s nothing more comforting than coming in to a warm lodge, grabbing a beer and some clam chowder, and relaxing from the morning’s activities. It’s the perfect fuel to give you enough energy for round two after lunch. I always feel more confident and ready to try more tricks after spending all morning warming up.
There’s four places to ski at Snoqualmie: Summit West, Summit Central, Summit East, and Alpental. I personally prefer Alpental, as it tends to be less crowded. The terrain is slightly different at each place, but the highlights of each one are as follows:
- Summit West – Need a beginner’s lesson and/or gear rental? They got you covered.
- Summit Central – Looking to do tricks and jumps on rails and ramps? They have one of the best terrain parks in the Northwest.
- Summit East – Want to do something besides ski/board? The Nordic Center is located here, where you can rent cross-country and snowshoe equipment, get lessons, and get maps.
- Alpental – More advanced and looking for a challenge? Take the lifts all the way up to the backside of the mountain to the Backside Bowls. (As always, use caution and go with a buddy if possible when going in wild terrain.)
There’s a gift shop, at least one restaurant/cafeteria, and bar at each location.
Hours: 9AM to 10PM
Cost: $66 for adult all-day pass (9AM to 5PM) or $42 for adult night skiing (4PM to 10PM).
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