Washington has so many glitzy ski resorts to choose from, it could be hard for a smaller one to make its mark. Yet White Pass has still managed to carve out a much cared for niche, as a laid back, family-friendly spot that has ample terrain to keep everyone from newbies to “lifers” entertained.
What Makes It Great
In actuality, the White Pass Ski Area isn’t all that small anymore. With the acquisition of Paradise Basin, White Pass nearly doubled its skiable grounds – bringing it up to nearly 1,500 acres. There are now eight chairlifts, and even a terrain park including rail features and jumps. This expansion was a work in progress for more than 30 years. In addition to several new intermediate runs, the two lifts to the top Paradise Basin (Basin Quad and the Couloir Express) give backcountry skiers easier access to the world-class terrain of the Goat Rocks Mountains – and everyone access to amazing views of Mount Rainier, just 12 miles away.
White Pass now has 45 routes, 20 percent of which are easy, 60 percent intermediate, and 20 percent advanced. With a base elevation at 4,500-feet and lifts up to 6,500-feet, at White Pass you can ski down 2,000 feet of vertical fun. The most challenging runs within the resort are found within the original ski area. To plan your day, check out the lift map here.
The family-oriented enterprise also includes slope side lodging at the Village Inn, on-site childcare, and the High Camp Lodge has a reportedly legendary waffle bar. If you’re looking to mix the downhill skiing up with some cross country, White Pass also has a Nordic center with a similarly relaxed atmosphere.
Who is Going to Love It
White Pass’s low-key atmosphere makes it a perfect fit for anyone who is learning to ski or still gaining confidence in his or her skills. White Pass also has a strong contingent of locals who come back to ski its slopes year after year, lured in by the balance of groomed rolling hills and a wild outback.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
The resort is 40 miles west of the city of Naches, as 48935 US Hwy 12. Open seasonally, usually from mid-December through mid-April. Conditions permitting (check the snow report here before you go), the alpine area is open from 8:45 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily.
Night skiing is more limited from 4 p.m. – 9 p.m. around the Christmas holidays, and on Saturdays through late February. Arrive early on weekends and holidays to park up front, or make use of the shuttles if you have to park further afield.