While many may think of the Pacific Northwest as a place to avoid during the wet winters, local outdoor enthusiasts spend the summer counting down the days until they can pull skis and snowboards and the chairlifts start spinning. With vastly underrated access to the mountains, Seattle and the rest of the I-5 corridor prove to be great places for family-friendly ski resorts in Washington.
Top Family-Friendly Ski Resorts in Washington
Don’t get too eager for first-chair and head into the snowy Cascade Mountains only to realize those boots your kids used last year are now two sizes too small… Line up some rental skis for kids, round up your family’s outerwear and accessories, and swing by one of the local ski/snowboard shops to pick up any loose ends!
With a wide range of terrain that’s suited for all skills and ability levels, one of the best traits of the ski resorts in the Cascade Range is that they offer something for everyone in the family.
To help you pick out the best and most family-friendly ski resorts in Washington, we’ve gathered up the experience and expertise from evo Seattle — a leading local snowboard and ski shop in Seattle – employees to share with you all.
The Summit at Snoqualmie
Offering minimal “are we there yets” from the backseat, The Summit at Snoqualmie is less than an hour drive from Seattle. As the closest ski area to the Emerald City, just 45-minutes East on I-90, this convenient Washington ski resort consists of four different areas with a wide variety of terrain to suit the entire family.
Got a crew of beginners? Checkout Summit West for some of the best beginner-friendly terrain. If you have a crew of fearless mountain warriors looking to push themselves on the steeps, then opt for Alpental — home to “International,” one of the steepest runs in the state. Intermediate riders and youngsters looking for terrain parks to hone their tricks tend to gravitate towards Summit West or Summit Central.
Perhaps one of the best parts of skiing/snowboarding at Snoqualmie is the flexibility that comes with its convenience and with night skiing! Open until 10 PM most nights, you can easily head up after work for a few quick and uncrowded laps.
Plus, for those who’re interested in trying their hands at other outdoor winter activities, The Snoqualmie at Snoqualmie offers snow tubing, nordic skiing, and snowshoeing.
Stevens Pass Resort
At one and a half hours from Seattle, Stevens Pass is a dream for skiers and snowboarders alike. In addition to its fabled backside slopes, Stevens offers one of the largest terrain parks in the state — a particular hit amongst kids and teens. Additionally, the beginner chairs (the Brooks and Daisy chairlifts) at the resort were just recently upgraded allowing you to spend less time on the lift, and more time learning and progressing on snow.
On weekends, Stevens tends to be one of the most popular ski and snowboard areas for Seattle area residents, but you can help your family get a head start on the crowds by staying in the charming Bavarian village of Leavenworth, just a short drive east of the resort. For the non-skiers in the family (and/or the grandparents), Leavenworth offers a variety of fun winter activities from shopping to parades!
Crystal Mountain Resort
Did you know you can find gondola-accessed slopes less than two hours from Seattle at Crystal Mountain Resort? For kids and parents alike, riding in a gondola is a unique and fun experience — especially when it’s paired with stunning views and hot cocoa at the top!
Sitting in the shadow of Mount Rainier as the largest ski and snowboard resort in Washington, Crystal Mountain boasts 2,600 acres of terrain and deep snow. All that room adds up to more terrain including steep chutes, wide bowls, nicely groomed pistes and laid-back beginner areas.
Perhaps one of the best family-friendly activities of Crystal is their mountain top (Summit House) and mid-mountain lodges (Campbell Basin), which offer convenient opportunities to quickly duck in for cold kiddos to warm up and catch their breath. As if you needed any more reason to bring the entire family to the resort, kids 10 and under ski free!
No matter what ski resort you and your family end up at, with snowy surroundings and dwarfing terrain, good times are bound to follow. But don’t jump the gun, putting a little time into proper gear preparation makes a big difference.
Maybe you’re looking for a Seattle snowboard shop to get your old board tuned now that your little one is old enough to ride with you. Or you have fast-growing kids and need a ski or snowboard season rental to grow along with them.
This post is sponsored by evo.