Washington ski resorts spread across the state,
from Hurricane Ridge on the Olympic
Peninsula to Mt. Baker near the Canadian border to Badger Mountain in the far
south of the state. Washington skiing is characterized
by mid-sized ski areas with a variety of terrain. The
snow at Washington ski resorts is sometimes criticized
as wet and sticky, but visitors to Mission Ridge and other
Washington ski areas in the eastern Cascade Mountains
would dispute that stereotype: the snow that falls at
these and other Washington ski resorts can be as dry and
powdery as any in the better known Colorado or Utah ski areas.
Several of the best Washington ski areas are within short driving range of Seattle. Snoqualmie resort, just 45 minutes east of Seattle, is a popular place for Washington skiing, with four main base areas, a good supply of natural snow, and hundred of acres of groomed and forested terrain. A large superpipe makes Snoqualmie a good place for Washington snowboarding too.
Crystal Mountain is just a little further from Seattle than Snoqualmie. The largest of all Washington ski areas, Crystal Mountain is a good place for skiers and boarders of every level and special shuttles provide access to large areas for backcountry Washington skiing. Most of the trails are dedicated blue for intermediate skiing, so the average downhiller will find much to satisfy them at Crystal Mountain. Close to Crystal Mountain, the smaller resort of White Pass is a good choice for those who prefer a quieter, more relaxed Washington snowboarding or ski experience.
Other Washington ski areas close to the Puget Sound include Stevens Pass, a large resort with terrain for every level and some good accommodation options, and Hurricane Ridge, a charming smaller area in the Olympic National Park.
Farther afield, Mount Spokane and 49° North offer
good options for Washington snowboarding and skiing close
to Spokane. In the south of the state, Ski Bluewood and
Badger Mountain are quiet, laid-back Washington ski areas
with some great trails and easy-going attitudes.
Mission Ridge Ski area is the closest Washington skiing
comes to the powder Meccas of Vail and Telluride in Colorado or Alta and Snowbird in Utah. Mission Ridge’s location on the eastern
edge of the Cascades ensures the snow here is light and
easy to navigate, forgiving for beginners and challenging
to experts. At 4,570 feet above sea level, the base at
Mission Ridge is the highest of any in Washington State.
Washington ski areas are generally located in national parks or forests, so they offer superb vistas of the surrounding mountains and forests. This is especially true of Mt. Baker, in the north of the state. Mt Baker is situated high on the side of an active volcano. Its high elevation and northerly location mean that Mt Baker gets more snow than other Washington ski areas: more than 600 inches in an average year. Less than three hours from Seattle, Mt Baker is a great place for a getaway ski vacation in Washington state.
Washington skiing is not as well known as in Colorado, Utah, or even neighboring British Columbia, but the variety and number of good Washington ski resorts mean that this is a good option for a destination ski vacation.