November 19, 1995

Washington If You Don’t Like One Ski Hill, Just Drive A Few Miles And You’ll Probably Find One More To Your Taste

Larry W. Earl Correspondent
 

The Evergreen state is white with snow during winter, with ski terrain ranging from community hills like Bluewood to resort complexes like Snoqualmie Pass.

Some ski mountains tout their steep and deep terrain; others cater to beginner and intermediate skiers, who prefer well-groomed trails for cruising.

Snow conditions in Washington can range from very dry at East Side slopes to wetter snow on the west side of the Cascades. Most hills offer a ski guarantee policy, in which you can return your lift ticket for a rain check if you don’t like the ski conditions after a run or two.

Here is a brief review of seven ski hills in the state. Look for a separate review of Mount Spokane and Forty-Nine Degrees North elsewhere in this guide.

Mission Ridge

The ski mountain is on the eastern slopes of the North Cascades and is noted for its packed-powder conditions. It offers 2,080 acres of skiable terrain for skiers and boarders of all abilities.

The runs seem to unfold before you. As you descend along the natural contours and fall line of the mountain, you get a sense of discovery as you cruise over a bench or sweep around a ravine.

One of the mountain’s biggest attractions is the free SkiLink shuttle service from the Wenatchee area. Stops are identified with special skier markings on the Link bus stop signs. The buses have racks for skis; snowboards may be carried on the bus.

The mountain and lodgings in Wenatchee and neighboring towns have teamed up to offer a large variety of ski and stay packages.

Information: Geographic location: 12 miles south of Wenatchee. Tentative opening date: Thanksgiving weekend.

Lift tickets: Early season (Nov. 24-Dec. 15) and late season (March 17-April 7) full-day rates are $20 for adults, $18 for young adults, and $15 for seniors and youths.

Regular season rates for weekend and holidays: Adults (21 to 64) are $30 ($24 for half days), young adults (16-20) are $23 ($18 for half days), and seniors (65 and older) and youths (7-15) are $15 for full or half days.

Regular season mid-week rates are $20 for adults, $18 for young adults, and $15 for seniors and youths.

Night skiing is available Thursdays through Saturdays and on holiday Sundays. Tickets are $10 for everyone. Night skiing also will be available every night during the Christmas holidays. Night skiing is free to holders of any day lift ticket.

Season pass holders from another ski area may show their pass at the ticket kiosk for a 20 percent reduction off the weekend/holiday all-day lift ticket.

Day care: The Mission Ridge Child Care Center accepts non-skiing children ages 3 months to 6 years. Reservations are recommended. (509) 663-7631.

Ski instruction: The Mission Ridge Kids Club ski school is designed to encourage children to have fun while learning to ski. An all-day alpine ski package includes a morning and afternoon lesson, lift and rental equipment, lunch and supervision for $54 for children ages 4-6. Half-day packages are $35. A similar program for youths (ages 7-12) is offered for $64 for either alpine skiing or snowboarding.

Nordic skiing: none.

Snow line: (800) 374-1693.

Skiing services: (509) 663-7631.

Tourism information: Wenatchee Area Visitor & Convention Bureau, (800) 57-APPLE or (509) 662-4774.

White Pass

White Pass is a community-based ski area that keeps improving each year. The high-speed Great White quad zips skiers to the top of Pigtail Peak, where they can descend on a variety of intermediate and advanced runs or gain access to backcountry skiing terrain.

Snowboarding has grown in popularity at the mountain, and management has responded with a new park for boarders. The End snowpark will encompass an entire run and will be served by Chairlift Four for easier access.

Affordable lift and lodging packages are available on-mountain and in local towns.

Information: Geographic location: on Highway 12, 50 miles west of Yakima. Tentative opening date: Thanksgiving weekend.

Lift tickets: Day lift tickets for adults (ages 13 and over) are $30 ($21 for half days). Seniors (65 and older) and juniors (6-12) are $19 ($14 for half days).

Monday, Tuesday and Friday lift tickets are $19 for adults and $14 for seniors and juniors. Wednesday and Thursday lift tickets are $14 for everyone.

Night skiing on Fridays, Saturdays and holidays is $10 for everyone. It is free for any day ticket holder. Night skiing will be available every night during the Christmas week of Dec. 26-31.

Day care: Day care is available for children ages 2 and above. Current rates were not available at press time, but last year’s rates were $13 for half day (included a snack), $20 for full day (included lunch), or $5 an hour.

Ski instruction: Womens’ Only Workshops emphasize confidence and skill building from a woman’s point of view. The Prime Timer’s Workshop caters to the 50 and older age group. It is taught by senior instructors, who can teach older persons how to get the most out of skiing.

Nordic skiing: White Pass has 15 kilometers of nordic trails, which are double tracked with a skating lane. The fee is $7 for adults.

Snow line: (509) 672-3100.

Mountain office: (509) 453-8731.

Tourism information: Yakima Valley Visitor & Convention Bureau, (509) 575-1300.

Crystal Mountain

Crystal Mountain’s location ensures plenty of deep snow for skiers and boarders. It is Washington’s highest destination resort, operating at 7,000 feet with a backdrop of 14,400-foot Mount Rainier. Over half of the mountain’s 2,300 acres of skiable terrain is rated for intermediate skiers who enjoy cruising runs. Connecting trails can provide runs up to three miles long.

The mountain has a snowboard park, which includes a half-pipe and obstacle course. The natural terrain features of Crystal Mountain makes for great snowboarding. Board rental selection has been expanded for this season.

On-mountain accommodations include the Crystal House and Village Inn Hotels and the Crystal and Silver Skis Chalet condominiums. Additional lodging can be found in the nearest town, Enumclaw on Highway 410.

Information: Geographic location: outside the northeast corner of Mount Rainier National Park. Tentative opening date: Thanksgiving weekend.

Lift tickets: Crystal’s weekend/ holiday day lift rates for adults (ages 18-61) are $33. Teens (12-17) and seniors (62-69) are $28, and youths (7-11) are $22. Seniors 70 and older and children 6 and under can ski any day for $5.

Monday and Tuesday rates are $20 for everyone, and Wednesday through Friday rates are $24. Night skiing is available Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Ticket price for the 4-10 p.m. period is $16 for everyone.

Day care: Day care is available on weekends and holidays for children 6 months to 2 years. Current prices were not established at press time, but last year’s prices were $46 for a full day.

Ski instruction: Crystal’s Ski Improvement Center offers a special weekend ski camp for adults. The instruction focuses on advanced skier techniques on steep terrain and is taught by professional skiers. Dates and prices had not been established by press time.

Nordic skiing: Untracked and nonpatrolled trails are available in the South Back country.

Snow line: (206) 634-3771.

Mountain office: (360) 663-2265.

Tourism information: Tacoma/ Pierce County Visitor & Convention Bureau, (206) 627-2836.

Stevens Pass

This family ski hill is noted for its consistent snow and some of the best night skiing in the region. It receives an average of 415 inches of snow to cover its 1,125 skiable acres. Skiers and boarders get 1,800 vertical feet on three sides of two mountains (Cowboy and Big Chief).

Boarders can enjoy the mountain’s snowboard park and its half-pipe. There also are plenty of natural terrain features on the mountain for snowboarders.

The mountain and Leavenworth lodgings offer attractive ski and stay packages. There is no on-mountain lodging, but a designated parking area is available for self-contained RVs.

Information: Geographic location: on Highway 2, 30 miles west from Leavenworth. Tentative opening date: Thanksgiving weekend.

Lift tickets: The weekend and holiday full-day (9 a.m. to 10 p.m.) lift ticket rate for an adult (ages 13 and older) is $32. Seniors (62-69) are $26, and children (7-12) are $24. Tickets for the noon to 10 p.m. period are $28 for adults, $21 for children and $23 for seniors. The Flex Ticket System offers lift tickets valid from time of purchase until 10 p.m. Tickets for the beginner lift are $26 for adults.

Tickets for Monday and Tuesday are $16 for everyone, and lift rates for Wednesday through Friday are $21 for everyone. The ski hours are still 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day.

Night skiing only (5-10 p.m.) tickets on Friday and Saturday are $20 for adults and seniors, and $18 for children. The special price for Sunday through Thursday evenings is $12 for everyone.

Day care: The day care facility can accept only children who are toilet-trained, and only on weekends and holidays with prior reservations.

Ski instruction: Lessons are available for all ages, interests and skiing abilities. First-time snowboarder and first-time skier programs are offered.

Nordic skiing: Stevens’ 30-kilometer nordic trail system is double tracked with a skating lane and is available on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and holidays. Trail passes are $7.50 for adults and $6.50 for children and seniors. The Nordic Center is five miles east of the ski area on Highway 2.

Snow line: (206) 634-1645.

Mountain office: (360) 973-2441.

Tourism Information: Leavenworth Chamber of Commerce, (509) 548-5807.

Snoqualmie Pass Ski Areas

Snoqualmie Pass areas includes Alpental, Ski Acres, Snoqualmie and Hyak. The pass gets an average snowfall of 350 inches a year, resulting in an average snowpack of 80-100 inches. There are over 900 acres of lighted terrain for night skiing.

Lift tickets are good at all four locations. Special family night and military discounts are available. Swing, night and super skier lift tickets are offered. Children 6 and under ski for $5 anytime. Seniors ages 70 and over ski anytime for free.

The ski area offers a daily ski or baggage check for $1.50, with unlimited in and out privileges.

Guest services also include the Snowflake Tubing and Snowplay area, which offers kids of all ages a place to have fun on the snow. The center has tube rentals, night lights and four rope tows. (360) 557-7906.

On-mountain lodging is available at the village.

Information: Geographic location: Snoqualmie Pass on Interstate 90. Tentative opening date: Thanksgiving weekend.

Lift tickets: Weekend/holiday lift ticket rates for adults (ages 12-61) are $28 ($24 for half days). Youths (7-11) are $22 ($19 for half days), and seniors (62-69) are $22 for full or half days.

Weekday specials include Monday and Tuesday lift tickets for adults for $14 for the day, and Wednesday and Thursday tickets for adults for $16. The mid-week rate for seniors is $14.

Night ski rates are $14 on Monday and Tuesday, $16 on Wednesday and Thursday, $18 on Friday, Saturday and holidays, and $14 on Sunday. Night skiing for Hyak only on Friday and Saturday is $10. The hours of operation are 5 p.m. to the 10:30 p.m. closing every night, except on Sunday when the hills close at 9 p.m.

Day care: Day care is available only at Ski Acres. Children 1 year and older are accepted. Rates are $4 an hour for children ages 2 and over, and 50 cents an hour for children ages 1-2.

Ski instruction: Ski and snowboard lessons are available for all ages and abilities. The nationally recognized Ski For All program is offered at the pass for persons with disabilities.

Nordic skiing: Nordic skiing is available at Ski Acres and Hyak Cross-Country Center (55 kilometers) and at several Sno-Park facilities on Snoqualmie Pass. A valid Sno-Park pass is required. There are no trail fees.

Snow line: (206) 236-1600.

Mountain office: (206) 232-8182.

Tourism Information: Seattle-King County Convention & Visitors Bureau, (206) 461-5800.

Ski Bluewood

Bluewood is noted for its dry snow and offers some of the best tree skiing in the Northwest. The mountain has the second highest base elevation (4,545 feet) in Washington and receives an average of 300 inches of snowfall each season.

The community ski hill offers a wide variety of terrain, from novice through expert. Beginners will like the gentle slope of Country Road. Advanced skiers and boarders can challenge the steep and heavily mogulled Jackhammer and Scorpio runs. A half-pipe for boarders is serviced by the Triple Nickle chairlift.

One of the most popular mountain events is Bluewood’s annual bash, to be held March 31.

The mountain and lodgings in Dayton offer some attractive, familyaffordable lift and lodging packages.

Information: Geographic location: 22 miles southeast of Dayton. Tentative opening date: Nov. 18.

Lift tickets: The mountain is open Tuesday through Sunday and on holiday Mondays. Prices are the same as last year. Lift ticket rates for weekends and holidays for adults are $25 ($19 for half days). Students with ID are $21 ($17 for half days), children (grades 1-8) and seniors (65 and older) are $19 ($16 for half days). No night skiing available.

Tuesday is the traditional Pepsi products two-for-one day. Call for details. Non-holiday Mondays are $10 for everyone. There is no night skiing.

Day care: none.

Ski instruction: Womens’ Wednesday Workshops are offered this season.

Nordic skiing: none.

Snow line: (509) 382-2877.

Mountain office: (509) 382-4725.

Tourism Information: Walla Walla Chamber of Commerce, (509) 525-0850.

Mount Baker

Mount Baker is widely recognized for its long season because it receives an average of 750 inches of snow each winter. The ski area is at the end of the Mount Baker Highway.

Chair 8 is a quad that takes intermediate skiers to the Oh Zone area for some great cruising runs. The terrain on the Panorama Dome make it a favorite spot of intermediate and advanced skiers. It is serviced by two chairs.

Equipment rentals are available at Base Camp in Bellingham.

Overnight RV parking is permitted for self-contained RVs in the southeast corner of the upper ski area parking lot at no charge. The nearest accommodations are 17 miles from Mount Baker in Glacier or Maple Falls. Choices include B&Bs; and roadside motels.

Information: Geographic location: 56 miles east of Bellingham. Tentative opening date: Thanksgiving weekend.

Lift tickets: The hours of operation are 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on weekends and holidays and 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on non-holiday weekdays.

Prices rise 50 cents for this season. Weekend and holiday lift ticket rates are $28 for adults (16 and older), and $20.50 for youths (7-15) and seniors (60-69). Ol’ Timers 70 and older ski free, as do children 6 and under.

An afternoon rate is offered on weekends and holidays. Adult tickets are $21.50 and $15.50 for youths and seniors. Mid-week rates are $18.50 for adults and $13 for youth and seniors. Mount Baker does not have night skiing.

Day care: Day care is available on weekends and holidays for 2-year-olds and older, who must be toilet trained. The rate is $13 for half a day or $25 for a full day. Reservations are recommended.

Ski instruction: Baker has expanded its ski programs this season. A 90-minute lesson is $17.50 for adults and $15 for youths. Private lessons are $45 for all ages.

Nordic skiing: Thirty kilometers of nordic trails are available at nearby Salmon Ridge. The trail fee is a $4 donation on weekends and holidays.

Snow line: The local number is (360) 671-0211 for the Bellingham area and (206) 634-0200 for the Seattle area.

Mountain office: (360) 734-6771.

Tourism information: Bellingham-Whatcom County Convention and Visitors Bureau, (800) 487-2032.

MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: GOOD DEALS White Pass The Wednesday and Thursday special is $14 for everyone.

Stevens Night skiing is $12 Sunday through Thursday; $20 on Friday and Saturday. The Monday and Tuesday ski special is $16 for everyone to ski from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Bluewood Bed, Breakfast & Bluewood packages begin low as $37 an adult per night.

This sidebar appeared with the story: GOOD DEALS White Pass The Wednesday and Thursday special is $14 for everyone.

Stevens Night skiing is $12 Sunday through Thursday; $20 on Friday and Saturday. The Monday and Tuesday ski special is $16 for everyone to ski from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Bluewood Bed, Breakfast & Bluewood packages begin low as $37 an adult per night.


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