INTRODUCTION: Seattle Recreation and the North Cascades
MT. BAKER SKI RESORT - Located east of Bellingham on Mount Baker Highway (Hwy 542), Mt. Baker has long been a popular ski resort in Western Washington. Of course, Baker is well known among snowboarders for being a favorite pick for snowboarding, with a designated terrain-park and half pipe. Keep in mind that Mt. Baker is also a volcano -- the best ride down the mountain might be fleeing a wall of lava and rock, so make sure you remember to check over your shoulder for smoke rising from the dome from time to time.
Elevation: Base 3,500'; Summit 5050';
Vertical: 1,500 ft; Acres: 1,000 total
Terrain: 38 named runs, 24% Beginner; 45% Intermediate; 31% Advanced
Longest Run: 9,187 ft
Average Annual Snowfall: 645 inches
Lift Capacity: 9 lifts
CRYSTAL MOUNTAIN SKI RESORT - Calling itself "Washington's Largest Winter Playground", Crystal Mountain offers skiing and snowboarding, as well as tons of group lessons, private lessons, and a "Kid's Club", where your children are given a balanced amount of instruction, play, exercise, and rest. There are multi-week lesson times, and a "Snow Bunny" course that teaches children ages 4-6 how to ski (6 week program). For the adults, there are more great lesson packages. For example, "Team Freeride", which is "designed for the advanced to expert skier or snowboarder". At SkiCrystal.com, check out their High Adventure Programs like the "Guided Mountain Tours", "Alpine Wilderness Snowshoe Tours", "Miles Smart Steep Camp", and the "Adult Freeride Camp". Be sure to also ask about the "Youth Freeskiing Camp", and also "Tracey's Womens Clinic". Crystal Mountain has good rental shop prices (if you need to rent a ski or snowboard, boots and / or poles). Crystal Mountain also has a "Demo Center", where you can test the "hottest performance equipment on the market".
Elevation: Base 4,400'; Summit 6,872'; Silver King 7,012'; Lower Northway 3,912'
Vertical: 3,100 ft; Acres: 2,600 total; 2,300 lift serviced; 300 in-bounds backcountry
Terrain: 57 named runs, 11% Beginner; 54% Intermediate; 35% Advanced
Longest Run: Kelly's Gap 8,130 ft (1.54 miles)
Average Annual Snowfall: 350 inches
Lift Capacity: 20,310 passengers/hr; 11 lifts, 2 high speed 6 passenger; 2 high speed quads; 2 triple chairs; 4 double chairs; 1 kids surface lift
MISSION RIDGE SKI AND BOARD RESORT - Mission Ridge is in the heart of Washington State where jagged peaks of the Cascade Range meet the high rugged desert of Eastern Washington. A volcanic past has created a ridge where on one side snowcapped peaks shimmer and on the other the Columbia River rolls majestically through Eastern Washington. But don't let the view distract you, Mission Ridge has over 2000 acres to explore. Carve tree lined groomers, float through wide open bowls, wiggle through glades, or scream down narrow chutes. Now throw in tons of sunshine, heaps of dry snow and reams of velvety corduroy and you have Washington's most distinctive winter playground.
Elevation: Base 4,570'; Summit 6,820';
Vertical: 2,250 ft; Acres: 2,080 total;
Terrain: 36 named runs, 4 bowls, 1 terrain park, 10% Beginner; 60% Intermediate; 30% Advanced/Expert
Longest Run: 26,400 ft
Average Annual Snowfall: 150 inches
Lift Capacity: 1 High Speed Quad, 3 fixed grip doubles, 2 rope tows
Also: Still offer child care ages 3 months and up; Season Passholders ride local bus transit to the ski area for FREE.
STEVENS PASS SKI RESORT - Located where Highway 2 crosses over the Pacific Crest Trail, Stevens Pass Ski Resort offers a "front-side" and "back-side" open to both skiing and snowboarding. Stevens Pass has over 37 major runs and 1,125 acres of terrain. Of those 37 major runs, two are high speed quads. On the front side of the park, Stevens Pass also offers night time operation, with a number of popular runs and much of the snowboard parks near Brooks chair well-lit for skiing and snowboarding. In recent years, Stevens Pass has also operated a park for inner-tubing (but we suggest you call to check on the status of the tube-park first, before you make the trip). For snowboarders (and a few skiers with an itch for risk) there is also a terrain-park and half-pipe.
Elevation: Base 4,061'; Summit 5,845';
Vertical: 1,800 ft; Acres: 1,125 total
Terrain: 37 named runs, 11% Beginner; 54% Intermediate; 35% Advanced
Longest Run: 5,800 ft
Average Annual Snowfall: 450 inches
Lift Capacity: 10 lifts
THE SUMMIT AT SNOQUALMIE - The Summit at Snoqualmie offers a terrain-park and half-pipe; user-reviews report that what this resort offers snowboarders goes a lot further than this however. In fact, it's reported that the Summit at Snoqualmie has numerous terrain-parks, two banked slaloms, and a superpipe. All together, the Summit at Snoqualmie may offer the best terrain-parks in all of Washington.
Elevation: Base 3,000'; Summit 5,400';
Vertical: 2,400 ft; Acres: 1,916 total;
Terrain: 96 named runs, 15% Beginner; 42% Intermediate; 16% Advanced; 27% Experts Only
Longest Run: 7,920 ft
Average Annual Snowfall: 405 inches
Lift Capacity: 30 lifts
WHITE PASS SKI RESORT - Like most major resorts nowadays, White Pass also has a terrain-park and half-pipe.
Elevation: Base 4,500'; Summit 6,000';
Vertical: 1,500 ft; Acres: 635 total
Terrain: 32 named runs, 20% Beginner; 60% Intermediate; 20% Advanced
Longest Run: 13,200 ft
Average Annual Snowfall: 350 inches
Lift Capacity: 5 lifts
GoNorthCascades.com attempts to list hiking trails as we either trek them ourselves, have them recommended by friends or other readers, or read about them through other resources, such as books, news articles, and websites.
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