Best time to visit Washington

Skiing and Snowboarding in Washington

The snowiest state is heaven for winter sports fans

Skiing and Snowboarding
Skiing and Snowboarding
Skiing and Snowboarding
Skiing and Snowboarding
Skiing and Snowboarding
Skiing and Snowboarding
Skiing and Snowboarding
Top of Mt. Baker ski area
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Washington receives the most snow in the United States. Mt. Rainier alone gets a record 646 inches (1,640 cm) of winter precipitation, which makes Washington ski resorts so desirable to snowboarders and skiers from all over the US. Start your winter adventure at the pristine slopes of the Cascades range, check out the isolated Olympic Peninsula, and discover the Blue Mountains located on the border with Oregon and Idaho. The ski season at some Washington resorts starts as early as Thanksgiving, however, in the last few years many have delayed openings till December due to warm autumns. Skiing and snowboarding are possible till mid-April. At a few high-altitude resorts you can ski even in early May. The snow conditions are the best in February.

East Cascades: Wenatchee–Mission Ridge

Mission Ridge is one of the largest ski resorts in Washington. It offers over 2,000 skiable acres (800 ha) to conquer. The resort is known for its combination of powder and sun: 200 inches (510 cm) of snow per year and more than 300 sunny days. Night skiing is available on Saturdays. Here you can find the most fantastic backcountry skiing and a laid back atmosphere.

vertical: 2,250 feet (686 m) area: 2,000 acres (800 ha) runs: 36 (easiest: 10%, more difficult: 60%, difficult: 30%) lifts: 4 chairlifts, 2 tows season: late November to early April

Crystal Mountain, Mount Rainier National Park

Crystal Mountain is the biggest ski resort in Washington. Its main attraction is the stunning view of Mt. Rainier, which is so perfect, you'll want to stop skiing and just sit for hours at the Summit House, the highest restaurant in the state. The famous 2,400-foot (731-m) Mount Rainier Gondola ride is also memorable for everyone in your family. Crystal Mountain Resort also gets points for variety due to over 2,600 acres (1,050 ha) of groomed trails. Lodging options include three hotels in close proximity to the resort.

vertical: 3,100 feet (945 m) area: 2,600 acres (1,050 ha) runs: 80 (easiest: 11%, more difficult: 54%, most difficult: 35%) lifts: 11 season: mid-December to mid-April

North Cascades: Mount Baker Ski Area

Mount Baker Ski Area is worth visiting because it is one of the snowiest resorts in Washington. If you are looking for tons of powder, you won't be disappointed here. Backcountry rides and stunning views at Mt. Baker are great. However, you have to pick your timing carefully, because the mountain is not that high, and that results in less than perfect snow conditions. The most reliable time to ski at Mount Baker is mid-February. Another advantage is affordability and thinner crowds than other larger Northwest ski resorts.

vertical: 1,589 feet (484 m) area: 1,000 acres (400 ha) runs: 31 (easiest: 24%, medium: 45%, difficult: 31%) lifts: 8 chairs, 2 handle tows season: mid-December to May

Leavenworth and Stevens Pass

Stevens Pass is famous for its dry powder over the Cascade Crest. The resort also offers night skiing, terrain parks, and beautiful views of over 1,000 skiable acres (400 ha). A ski trip to Stevens Pass can be combined with a visit to the nearby Bavarian village of Leavenworth and snowshoeing or snow tubing for the whole family.

vertical: 1,800 feet (548 m) area: 1,125 acres (455 ha) runs: 52 (beginner: 11%, intermediate: 54%, advanced: 35%) lifts: 10 season: early December to early April

Blue Mountains: Bluewood Ski Area

If you are not from the Northwest, you probably didn't hear of the Blue Mountains, located on the border between Washington, Oregon, and Idaho. That's why Ski Bluewood boasts thinner crowds and affordability. The resort is located in southeastern Washington and is an excellent option for families and beginners. It's known for beautiful trees and dry fluffy snow.

vertical: 1,125 feet (342 m) area: 400 acres (160 ha) runs: 24 (beginner: 25%, intermediate: 45%, advanced: 30%) lifts: 4 season: early December to early April

Practical info

When is the onset of skiing season in Washington?

Some Washington resorts begin their skiing season around Thanksgiving, although recent times have seen them preferring December. The season extends until April, or early May in high-altitude resorts. Skiing and snowboarding enthusiasts are advised to confirm opening and closing dates with their preferred resort. Show more

When should one visit Washington if they plan to ski or snowboard?

From late November to mid-April is the optimal time to ski or snowboard in Washington, with the snow at its best usually in February. Washington experiences heavy snowfall, and some skiing resorts may extend their season until May, weather permitting. Prospective visitors are advised to verify information with their preferred resort. Show more

Which skiing resort in Washington is renowned for its backcountry skiing atmosphere?

Mission Ridge reigns supreme as one of Washington's largest skiing resorts. It is famous for the perfect blend of 200 inches of powder and annual sunshine of over 300 days. The resort provides over 2,000 skiable acres, including a backcountry skiing experience with a laid-back atmosphere. Show more

Which skiing resort in Washington affords the best views of Mount Rainier?

Crystal Mountain is the most extensive skiing resort in Washington, made even more monumental by a breathtaking view of Mount Rainier. So majestic is the mountain that skiers may abandon the slopes to gaze in wonderment. The Summit House is the state's highest restaurant, while the 2,400-foot Mount Rainier Gondola ride is memorable. Show more

What is the ideal skiing resort in southeastern Washington for families and beginners?

Ski Bluewood, located in southeastern Washington, is a perfect skiing resort for novices and families. People rave of thin crowds, affordability, beautiful trees, and dry powdery snow. The resort provides 400 acres of terrain to ski with over 24 runs, offering lifts for skiers of all proficiency levels. Show more

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Last updated: by Olga Valchyshen