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Hitting the slopes: where to ski near Tacoma

As temperatures continue to drop and fall slowly morphs into winter, ski and snowboard season is quickly approaching. Here are some places to get out and hit the snow, whether it be on skis, a board or just relaxing in the lodge with some hot cocoa.

1. Crystal Mountain, which is around an hour and 30 minutes away. A popular location for Puget Sound students, this alpine ski resort has 11 chair lifts, a few spots to eat and multiple hotels. Crystal Mountain is also home to the Mount Rainer Gondola, which provides visitors access to the summit year round and is also the only gondola in the state of Washington.
“Crystal Mountain is a little pricier but gets dumped on,” Ski Team Vice President Catherine Goldes said.
“Crystal is worth the slightly more expensive ticket and farther drive for the most expansive and challenging terrain in Washington,” senior Andi Nelson added.

2. The Summit at Snoqualmie, which is about the same distance as Crystal, averaging a 1 hour and 20 minute drive.
“Personally I stick to Alpental [because] it gets better snow and is steeper,” Goldes said. If steep terrain is not your style and you are more of a beginner, Snoqualmie has three other base areas where you can take either group or private lessons.
“Snoqualmie is a small mountain with limited runs, but it has a good park,” senior Madison O’Bagy added.

3. Stevens Pass, approximately two hours away. Stevens Pass offers lessons to first-time skiers/snowboarders. “Stevens Pass is a little further away but has some awesome terrain and the staff is great up there,” Goldes said. Once you are wiped out from skiing, snowboarding or making snow angels, you can retire to the Bavarian-themed lodge.

4. Mt. Baker, around a three-hour drive. “Baker is further up north but has some of the best skiing I have ever had and is just gorgeous,” Goldes said. According to Mt. Baker’s website, the resort has the honor of holding the record for the highest annual snowfall ever, so the three-hour trek could most definitely be worth your while.

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