STORMS BLOWING off the Pacific Ocean hit the Cascade Mountains and drop their precipitous loads, making for great snow December through April. Whether you’re looking to heli-ski wide open acres, hurtle down needle-thin chutes, or lollygag along breezy cat-tracks, there’s a run for everyone.
The Summit at Snoqualmie
On one side of I-90 is the family-friendly Summit; on the other is the more challenging Alpental. Those not up for downhill have a tubing center, snowshoeing, and cross-country. Don’t Miss: Bring a beacon and waste a day in Alpental’s 523 acres of backcountry.
Two mountains, three faces, lots of terrain: warm up in the morning on Stevens’ groomers before you grab a stash in Mill Valley’s gulches and bowls. Don’t Miss: Skirt beneath the humming power lines on Mill Valley for easy access to pockets of powder.
Come to this resort, perched in Mt Rainier National Park, for steeps, deeps, and the chance to drop between trees and rocky chutes.
Don’t Miss: The Northway lift, formerly in the backcountry, now grants access to terrain that once took a skihike- shuttle trip out.
Combine the state’s highest base elevation with the dry air of the eastern slopes and you get great, consistent snow. The resort is also über-family-friendly.
Don’t Miss: The timbers: White Pass is known for tree skiing.
This mountain holds the world record for snowfall—95 feet in a single season. For a chance to steal a line, skirt through the trees above Gunners Bowl, drop into the double black, then chute out through the Canyon.
Don’t Miss: Stay left to avoid the cliffs on the Pan Face powder bowl.
Set on a ridge in the Olympic National Park, a mile above sea level, this resort offers terrain said to change weekly, uncongested bowls, and the right to brag you’ve skied in the Olympics.
Don’t Miss: Go off-piste and into the national park backcountry.
Being east of the Cascades makes for cool, bright winters, dry powder, and blue skies.
Don’t Miss: A run on Bomber Bowl shows off a B-24 bomber that crashed here in 1944.
North Cascade Heli
Looking for guaranteed untouched backcountry, without the hike? Head to the Methow and grab a seat in an AStar helicopter. A 300,000-acrepermit among the most glaciated peaks in the continental U.S. means your legs will quit before the terrain does.
Don’t Miss: The threeday, catered yurt trip.
One quad, a J-bar, and a towrope serve this uncongested Methow Valley mountain. On Wednesday or Friday $30 gets you the place virtually to yourself.
Don’t Miss: Veer into the trees for virgin powder and 300 acres of alpine terrain.
49 Degrees North
This resort is home to moguls, bone-dry powder, and zero lift lines. Best of all, there are evergreens for everyone.
Don’t Miss: Hike-and-ski the Angel Peak inbounds backcountry: a lift arrives this summer.
Just 28 miles from downtown Spokane, this mountain is home to some of the best night skiing around and the largest certified ski school in the state.
Don’t Miss: Warm up at the summit between runs. Hot toddies by the fire all around!
Dry powder—300 inches per year—short lift lines, and blue skies make this ski area in wine country, four miles north of the Oregon border, special.
Don’t Miss: A cat ride to Vintners Ridge for tree runs. —JULIE H. CASE