Night Skiing Near Seattle: Scoring Sweet Turns After Dark

Skiing at night has an eerie atmosphere that is loads of fun.
Skiing at night has an eerie atmosphere that is loads of fun. Samantha Larson
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While the stunning mountain vistas you get on a clear day might be lacking, skiing after the sun has set still has its perks—especially for Seattle-based powderhounds. With two resorts within an easy drive of the city that are open until 10 pm most nights, hitting the slopes for some night skiing near Seattle is a great way to get in a workout post-workday. Shorter lift lines and fewer crowds mean you’ll be able to ski a full day’s worth of runs in just a couple of hours—and you'll save some bucks on the lift ticket, too.

Plus, skiing at night will make you feel like you’re getting away with something, providing an extra adventurous twist to skiing in-bounds—and the dark skies, bright lights illuminating the snow, and shadows of the Cascades off in the distance create a cool eerie atmosphere. Here, our tips for how to get in a good night’s ski.

Where To Go

Snoqualmie is a convenient spot to score some turns after dark.
Snoqualmie is a convenient spot to score some turns after dark. Joe Goldberg

The Summit at Snoqualmie: About an hour’s drive from the city, The Summit at Snoqualmie —a resort comprised of four different mountain areas—is the closest place for Seattleites to ski. Almost every night except for Sundays, Alpental, Summit West, and/or Summit Central offer night sessions from 4-10 pm (but be sure to check conditions and the calendar before you go).

Because Summit West is closed all of Monday, Tuesday, and during the day on Wednesday, Wednesday evening is a perfect opportunity to score some fresh tracks. Plus, with plenty of beginner and intermediate runs, Summit West is also a nice option for newbies. A lift ticket for a night session at any of Snoqualmie’s mountains is $42. If you want to make a habit of it, you can also get a night pass for the season, which is $269 the first year and $108 for previous pass holders. Snoqualmie also offers packages of six two-hour lessons on Friday nights for kids, teens, and adults (registration is closed for this year, but it's something to keep on your radar for next season).

Stevens Pass: Stevens Pass is a bit longer drive away but still close enough to go for an evening trip from Seattle. And because it’s at a higher elevation conditions can be better: Sometimes, dreaded rain at Snoqualmie means snow at Stevens. The resort is open for night sessions from 4-10 pm most Wednesdays through Saturdays (again, be sure to check conditions and the calendar before you go). Stevens typically keeps six lifts open at night, including Skyline, Hogsback, and Tye Mill, servicing a variety of well-lit runs.

Stevens Pass has plenty of lighted runs at night.
Stevens Pass has plenty of lighted runs at night. Jeff Wilcox

Night tickets are $40—but you’ll get a discount if you sign up for PNW Advantage Pass online before you go. Registration for one of these convenient cards is $10, or free if you’ve had one before or are a member at REI. The card will get you at least a $5 discount each time you go, and up to a $20 discount most Wednesdays. Plus, you’ll be able to go straight from the car to the lift: The card will automatically charge you that day and session’s rate when you go through the first lift gate.

Hyak: If you are an experienced backcountry skier and looking for an epic night touring adventure, point your skis toward Hyak at Snoqualmie Pass. The small ski area, serviced by a rope tow during the day, is not open at night, but the surrounding hills are a good place for a night tour (or head to the Hyak Sno-Park for a bit of night Nordic skiing). However, solid backcountry skills are a must. And be sure to bring your headlamp with fresh batteries.

If you start your backcountry tour during the dark, early morning hours, you'll be in a prime position to watch the sunrise.
If you start your backcountry tour during the dark, early morning hours, you'll be in a prime position to watch the sunrise. Matthew Upton

Insider Tips for Night Skiing

As the runs are maintained and well-lit, night skiing at the Summit at Snoqualmie or Stevens Pass doesn’t really require anything other than what you would bring for a normal day on the slopes. But remember to pack some extra warm layers. A pair of un-tinted ski goggles is also recommended—normal tinted goggles can be too dark to see clearly at night. If you’re going mid-week and your work schedule will allow for it, try to leave a bit before rush hour to avoid traffic.

You’ll be able to take a dinner break at either Stevens or Snoqualmie’s lodge, and get a hot chocolate there afterward to warm back up before the drive home.

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