The Stevens Pass Ski Area is perched at the top of the byway between western and eastern Washington via Highway 2. This means the slopes are accessible, and that its skiers and snowboarders enjoy both the frequent and abundant snowfall of the Cascades (an average of 460 inches a year) and the cool, dry air that wafts up the eastern mountain flanks to keep the snow in good condition. With beginner through expert terrain and excellent views – all less than two hours from the city – Stevens Pass is a Seattle skiers’ favorite for a solid day trip.
What Makes It Great
Easy to get to, with quality snow and epic views, Stevens Pass is considered one of the best ski resorts in the state. And, if you want to break free of the crowds, it is surrounded by some of the best backcountry touring in the nation (although use caution, for it is avalanche prone). Read more on Stevens Pass’s backcountry here.
The resort is divided into two areas: The “front” (the north and east facing slopes), and the “back” (the south facing ones). From the base area at an elevation of 4,061 feet, there are five chairlifts that gain access to both sides, and then a few chairlifts to take you higher up on either side. The routes are 11 percent beginner, 54 percent intermediate, and 35 percent advanced.
Of the five lower lifts, “Daisy” is the one to take if you are a beginner or just want to warm up on the bunny slopes. “Skyline” goes to the longest intermediate runs on the front side. “Kehr’s” and “Hogsback” service intermediate to advanced routes, and “Brooks” will take you to the terrain park.
Those who are double-black diamond-ready will want to take “Seventh Heaven” to the top of Cowboy Mountain. “Tye Mill” services intermediate and advanced runs. The back side – known as Mill Valley – is not groomed, set in a more natural, forested environment. It is serviced by the “Jupiter Express” and “Southern Cross” lifts.
The temperatures are generally mild, often in the mid-20s Fahrenheit. The one downside: the resort often reaches capacity on weekends during peak season, which will likely become more of an issue as the Seattle area continues to grow. The Stevens Pass Ski Area does have plans in the works to counteract this, however, including expanding its terrain and upgrading its lifts.
Who is Going to Love It
Seattle-area skiers and snowboarders who just can’t get enough of the Cascades. Whether you prefer the groomed trails of the front side or gliding through the powder of the back, the Steven Pass Ski Area provides a fun assortment of runs for all levels.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
Parking can get jammed on weekends in January and February (which is why the resort has plans in the works to add several hundred spots to the lot), so get there early – or late, if you’re up for some night skiing.
Open seasonally from about mid-December to mid-April.
Day operations are from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. On the days it is available (check the calendar first), night skiing stays open till 10 p.m.