The Ski Mountain

The Summit at Snoqualmie consists of four separate mountain areas – Summit West, Summit East, Summit Central, and Alpental, and together add up to a nice 1,944 skiable acres. Even though the summit elevation is only 5,420 feet, the average annual snowfall of 434 inches overrides the stigma of its low elevation. Each of the four mountain area caters to different types of skiers with differing terrain options, so any skier with a sense of adventure can find the opportunity to satisfy their needs.

The Mountain Experience

Summit at SnoqualmieAt a short 45 minutes from downtown Seattle, Snoqualmie draws mainly from three types of skiers – the day trippers who are a mix of once a year and first-time skiers trying out the sport, the more proficient who are warming up their ski legs for trips to further and higher elevation ski resorts, and a consistent group of locals who come out every weekend or on a designated weekday throughout the season and share the bond of having done so for years.


Summit at Snoqualmie’s Ski Terrain

• Beginner: Summit West is considered the best place to learn. Its dedicated first-timer program and solid corduroy make it easy for new skiers to progress within their comfort zone. The trail map shows a few advanced runs but in comparison to the rest of the Snoqualmie, these trails are easier and short as they transition quickly to very tame intermediate runs.


Current Snow Conditions


Intermediate: All four of Snoqualmie’s peaks offer intermediate terrain, but Summit Central and Summit East provide the most options. From tree-lined cruisers to short yet substantial pitches, Central and East are well-balanced for the intermediate skier. Outback at Central, is a long, fast groomer good for carving or ducking in and out of the trees. At Summit East, ski Hidden Valley and take Revelation for long arcing turns across the wide trail and a small grove of trees you can bop through near the bottom.

• Advanced: Nearly all of Alpental is off-piste expert terrain and the entire upper mountain is for experts. Traversing across the ridge from Edelweiss lift, you’ll find the Alpental Back Bowls. With no marked or designated trails in the bowls you can carve your own path but beware of cliffs and rock beds. For a real challenge, try International, one of the steepest runs in the state. It’s a long, tough route that’s also a jump off point to the backcountry. Note: This area is closed on Mondays.

• Pro Tip: For chutes and trees, look to Summit East and Alpental. These areas are a freerider’s paradise. Silver Fir, a zone within Central, is known for long, fast runs. Both Silver Fir and Alpental get hit on powder days, and it’s not unheard of to see 400-500 people lined up at the Alpental lift after a storm has passed.

Leavenworth WaAround the Mountain



• Terrain Park: The park on Summit Central, with more than 70 features, is recognized by many as one of the best parks in Washington and therefore see its fair share of people. For a more natural terrain park, Blowdown on Summit East features tree stumps and other natural features creating boosty jumps and big kickers.

• Night Skiing: The mountain has terrain open from 9 am – 10 pm six days a week thanks to night skiing options at Summit West, Summit East and Alpental.


By Anna Callaghan

Best Advice

Even if the resort only reports a few inches of fresh snow, load up the car and go. There are plenty of areas that receive more snow and ski deeper than others due to the mountain’s many different aspects. Watch the mountain temperatures though, as the low elevation can lead to slushy snow without the right night-time freeze.

Each base area has different hours and grooming schedules so be sure to double check the mountain’s website if you’re planning to hit a certain summit for first tracks on groomers or virgin powder. Want fresh tracks? Ski midweek or after the groomers make their last lap on West Summit at 4 pm. Park at one of the four base areas and ski between the other summit peaks or hop on the shuttles that run between base areas roughly every 15 minutes.


Apres Skiing

Offering a great view of the slopes, Timberwolf at Summit West has a great selection of microbrews. Whiskey Pete’s at Summit Central serves up great pizza. Make sure to pay Helen, the bartender at Alpental’s Backcountry, a visit and order the aptly-named Helenator. Snoqualmie has several bars, but not a lively nightlife scene (unless you’re night skiing).

Leavenworth WaNearest Ski Town

The Seattle metro area, less than an hour’s drive, but towns in the Snoqualmie Pass area include Snoqualmie and North Bend.


Snoqualmie tends to be a day-use resort due to its proximity to the cities of the Puget Sound.  Subsequently, there are no lodging options on the mountain. However, the parking lots at Alpental and Summit Central permit overnight parking for RVs, campers and anyone willing to sleep in their car to catch first chair. Your best option is to bunk on the outskirts of Seattle or somewhere in North Bend. The Best Western SnowCap Lodge, located 29 miles from Snoqualmie in Cle Elum, offers a Stay-and-Ski Free package.


Skiing with Kids

Snoqualmie has plenty of programs for kids and beginners. There’s a range of lesson options for eager newbies and a youth freeride program for kids that want to tackle terrain on Alpental. If your family is new to skiing, it’s best to start at Summit West and then explore the rest of the resort as you gain skills and confidence. At Summit West, you’ll find the EZ 2 Learn program which includes a two-day lift ticket, rentals and lessons.

Lift Tickets and Season Pass Cost


Driving Directions

By Anna Callaghan

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