Snow sports in Washington


Washington is home to some of the country’s most spectacular mountains and fortunately for students of Puget Sound, there are some terrific opportunities to get up to the mountain to ski, snowboard, snowshoe, sled, or whatever you fancy, even if it just to sip some hot chocolate in a cozy lodge. The Summit at Snoqualmie and Crystal Mountain are the most accessible mountains and both offer a variety of opportunities for snow recreation. Snoqualmie is located to the east of Seattle and offers four different regions to ski or board including Alpental which is the most “expert” of the regions. However, one does not need to be willing to descend double black diamonds to visit, as the three other areas at Snoqualmie offer more moderate and beginning runs for those students just wanting to have a relaxing time.

Crystal Mountain is located further south near Mt. Rainier and is the “largest ski area in Washington,” according to its website. Crystal sports 57 trails representing all levels of ability and 12 chair lifts, one of which is an 8-person gondola. The gondola takes visitors to 6,872 feet of elevation for breathtaking views and wonderful cuisine in the restaurant located on the top. Daily lift tickets range in price from $58 to $73 depending on whether you buy a daytime, afternoon, or evening pass.

Both Snoqualmie and Crystal rent skis and snowboards at an additional cost of approximately $45/day. However, the Expy rents cross country skis at a reduced cost, if you plan on traversing the flat ground. Only Snoqualmie has a nordic center and they are not currently offering rentals, so get to the Expy before planning your trip. There are also many opportunities to XC ski or snowshoe on Mt. Rainier at Paradise. Again, the Expy rents snowshoes if you wish to plan a snow adventure on your own or you can join a PSO trip and let them do the work!

ASUPS funds a 10-person shuttle bus to Snoqualmie (and when the roads are closed they go to Crystal) every Saturday and Sunday beginning in January. The roundtrip cost is $5 and there is no cheaper way to get up to the slopes. Sign-ups are in the Expy and according to junior Kristen Delwiche who is an avid skier, “it is a great way to meet people and you always run into more Puget Sound students who drove up there.” So get out and enjoy the snow. Who knows, you might even get a goggle tan on an incredibly sunny Pacific Northwest day at the mountain!