SKIING AND SNOWBOARDING
Crystal Mountain. No one is quite sure why Crystal Mountain is still relatively “unknown” outside of Washington state. (Actually it’s probably because the locals are trying to keep it that way!) Just north of Mt. Rainier, Crystal boasts masses of terrain, a great lift and trail system, superb “inbounds backcountry” areas bookending the terrain, and if you are there when the sun shines, views to die for. The biggest resort in the state, it averages 486 inches annually, with 57 designated trails and 2,300 acres (931 hectares) of lift serviced terrain, making it the largest ski resort in Washington. The terrain stretches across half a dozen peaks and basins and provides a myriad of variation including groomers, steeps, trees, cliffs, bowls, chutes and backcountry access.
Mt Baker has its own cult following due to it’s insane snowfall - a jaw-dropping 701 inches average annually. If big snow is on your bucket list, this is a must-experience for any powder hound. However, it is an expert’s mountain and it’s not the best place to go for beginners or intermediates. You don’t come here to ski groomers, it’s all about powder, hits, steeps, trees, chutes and cliffs. The closest large town, Bellingham, about an hour and fifteen minutes away, is absolutely charming. A destination to explore in its own right, Bellingham is located on beautiful Bellingham Bay with tons of parks and waterfalls seemingly around every corner.
Want to make it a treasure hunt and bag all you can? Here’s the rest of the roundup:
- Summit at Snoqualmie short drive from Seattle
- Mission Ridge near Wenatchee
- White Pass near Yakima
- Hurricane Ridge on the Olympic Peninsula (one of only 3 lifts that operate in a National Park Nationwide)
- Loup Loup Ski Bowl in the Methow Valley
- Bluewood in southeast Washington
- 49° North north of Spokane
- Mt Spokane just an hour from Spokane
- Leavenworth Ski Hill minutes from Leavenworth's city center