White Pass Ski Resort, located approximately 50 miles west of Yakima in the beautiful Cascade Mountains, is a good example of a enjoyable regional ski area in Washington State. Although Washington State is not one of the best-known skiing states in the USA, a number of medium sized local resorts make it a great place for a ski weekend.
White Pass Ski Resort Washington is relatively small: its five lifts service about 30 designated trails over 635 skiable acres. With a peak elevation of 6,000 feet, White Pass Ski Resort has a vertical drop of about 1,500 feet. Its high altitude ensures a steady supply of Washington State's best snow, an average of 350 inches a season.
Despite its small size, the terrain at White Pass Ski Resort Washington is sufficiently varied to appeal to skiers of all abilities. First time skiers can learn on a special bunny run serviced by a gentle rope tow. Beginners who have progressed past this level will find some nice green runs — Near Side, Far Side, and Lower Holiday — off Lift 3, which departs from the small base area. A longer green run, Holiday, winds its way all the way down the mountain from the peak.
Lift 1, the Great White Express, is one of the fastest lifts in Washington State, taking riders all the way to the peak in just five minutes. Once there, skiers have access to a variety of terrain, 60% of it rated blue for intermediates. The longest and most popular blue run at White Pass Ski Resort is Cascade, skiers right from the top of the Great White Express. To skiers left four short enjoyable blue runs drop to the base of Lift 4: Grouse, Paradise, Ptarmigan, and Quail.
Advanced skiers will want to continue along Paradise to the base area, trying their luck on the black-rated Paradise Cliffs along the way. Most of the other expert terrain at White Pass Ski Resort is located below or around the Great White Express; North Pass, Hour Glass, and Execution are the most challenging of these runs.
White Pass Ski Areas appeals to snowboarders, who enjoy its natural chutes, jumps, and quarter pipes and the sculpted half-pipe above the base area. On select weekend and holiday nights, White Pass Ski Resort is open for night skiers.
In the 1980s White Pass Ski Areas was best known as the home of Phil and Steve Mahre. Phil was one of the United State's greatest alpine skiers, one of only two American men to win the combined competition of the alpine world cup (the other is Bode Miller). Phil won two Olympic medals, including gold in the 1984 slalom event at the Sarajevo winter games. His fraternal twin Steve was also a world-class skier, winning a silver medal in slalom at the same Olympics. The Mahre brothers grew up around White Pass Ski Areas, where their father was mountain manager. The resort has been updated and expanded since the Mahres skied here, but it maintains the family friendly atmosphere that fostered the brother's ski careers.
With several other quality ski resorts in the state — Mt. Hood, Crystal Mountain, and Mission Ridge, among others — Washington State is becoming known as a good place for regional skiing and has even begun to attract skiers and snowboarders from the East Coast and further a field. Like its regional counterparts, White Pass Ski Resort Washington is a pleasant, affordable, laid-back ski area well worth a visit for a day or weekend.