One of the many benefits of family living in the Pacific Northwest is easy access to the ocean and the mountains. Pacific Northwest families know that one of the many benefits is that you can be eating sushi in the city and hitting the slopes, or tubing the snowy hills of the mountain pass, in less than a couple hours. There are many great Pacific Northwest resorts for skiing, but if you don’t want to drive too far, here are my picks for quick family road trips to the snow within a couple hours of downtown Seattle.
The Summit at Snoqualmie and Alpental
Perhaps I’m biased because we live less than an hour from Snoqualmie Pass, but it doesn’t get much simpler than a family trip to the mountain to the Summit at Snoqualmie and Alpental for quick and easy access to day and night skiing, snowboarding, tubing, and snowshoeing. One of our favorite day trips to the mountain with the kids is to reserve tickets for the Snoqualmie Summit tubing hill. Be sure to reserve your tickets online before you head to the mountain, as tubing sessions sell out and there is nothing worse than telling your little snow bunnies that they can’t ride (unfortunately, we’ve been there). For young skiers, Snoqualmie offers easy runs and ample ski school options during the weekends.
Viewfinder Tip: Always check road conditions before you head east to the mountain passes because closures on I-90 and Highway 2 can derail even the best made Pacific Northwest ski trip plans.
Snoqualmie Summit also offers four distinct areas to ski: Summit West, Summit Central, Summit East, and Alpental, all offering different level of runs for beginner, intermediate, and advanced skiers. A master development plan includes new improvements at each ski area, including a new ski school quad lift and new Silver Fir Lodge at Summit Central. If you have a family of advanced skiers, or are headed up to the mountain for an adults-only ski day, Alpental could be a great option. Alpental offers advanced skiers a chance to ski some breathtaking terrain and more challenging runs and backcountry trails.
If you are seeking a bigger Pacific Northwest snow adventure, grab your morning coffee and put your little skiers in the car for a two-hour road trip to Stevens Pass on Highway 2 along the beautiful Cascade Loop. Here you can ski the day away with the family on ample ski runs, enjoy a juicy burger and local microbrew, or snowshoe in the beautiful backcountry. Need a little adult-only time? Stevens Pass Kids Club starts at 3-6 years old and Adventure Club offers lessons and fun for tweens (7-12 years of age). Day reservations should be made at least 48 hours in advance by calling 206-812-7387. Full-day packages include four hours of coaching and supervised play, rental equipment, all-day lift ticket, and lunch. Want to stay the night? You’ll find some fun and festive family lodging options just 30 minutes away in the iconic Bavarian town of Leavenworth.
Crystal Mountain Resort
Crystal Mountain Resort is located on the northeast corner of Mt. Rainer National Park and has a pretty loyal following among Pacific Northwest ski and snowboard fanatics. Crystal Mountain Resort is a beautiful destination with everything you need for a great weekend ski getaway, including 2,600 acres of snowy playground, fine dining at the Summit House, and more. Kids Club at Crystal Mountain starts at four years old, with options for full- and half-day ski schools. One thing I love about Crystal is the 5-Day GO Card that offers the convenience and flexibility of a season pass without having to invest in one.
What is your favorite way to spend a Seattle day skiing with the kids?