The Ski Mountain
Stevens Pass offers the essentials for powderhounds – lifts, and small lodge, and tons of snow. It’s a bucket-list mountain for expert skiers for the reasons listed above. Located on the crest of the Cascade Range right off Highway 2, Stevens Pass benefits from consistent snowfall and easy access. Its proximity to Seattle makes it a mecca for day-trips. Having opened in 1937, Stevens prides itself as a destination for multiple generations of families, creating a welcoming community vibe on the slopes. Inexpensive night skiing is another draw for the Seattle crowd and families as many of the lighted trails are beginner terrain.
The Mountain Experience
With two peaks, Cowboy and Big Chief, good terrain and snow conditions are easy to find. Like other resorts in the state, open bowls and faces are not the key offering. However, skiers seeking such terrain can look to Corona and under Gemini in Mill Valley or venture into the backcountry. Most of the mountain consists of well space tree islands providing a great opportunity to weave through natural obstacles.
Stevens Pass Ski Terrain
• Beginner: You won’t find much beginner terrain here. Only 11 percent of the mountain caters to beginners. The beginner trails Stevens does offer is accessed via Daisy, a fixed-grip triple chair. The terrain is wide-open and gently sloping. With plenty of sun when its shining, the Daisy area makes for a pleasant learning experience. Once beginners have their ski legs, transitioning to runs on the looker’s left of Hogsback Express offers mellow cruisers that lead back into green terrain. The Skyline Express is also good for wide thoroughfares where skiers can practice gathering speed. ——————————————————————————————————————
Current Snow Conditions
• Intermediate: At Stevens, intermediates can enjoy more than half of resort’s 1125 skiable acres the terrain comfortably, from popping in and out of the trees around Hogs Back and on great cruisers off of the Brooks chair. The more adventurous can drop into Mill Valley of the backside for steeper runs.
• Advanced: Thrill seeking skiers head up 7th Heaven to the top of Cowboy Mountain. The lift accesses exclusively double-black terrain. Due to its elevation and aspect there’s almost always good snow to be found. From the top of Double Diamond hit Wild Katz. The run starts out steep and skiers can weave through mossy trees. The pitch mellows and trees widen toward the bottom making it ideal for bombing down the last 500 vertical feet. On the backside, Mill Valley, get an early chair on Southern Cross and hit the chair line right away; it’s a great slope on a powder day, but gets skied out fairly quickly.
• Terrain Park: Park culture is popular at Stevens and you’ll find most of the park skiers hanging out in the upper parking lot blasting music. The main park is right under Brooks where those seeking big air can find tables, jumps and rails. A satellite park above the learning area is about one third the size and another inside the learning area offers small features where kids can start practicing tricks early.
Due to Stevens’ location in the Cascades, most ski days are in less than ideal bluebird conditions. But there’s no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong gear. So make sure you’ve got a solid pair of goggles, warm gloves and waterproof outerwear.
Located in Tye Creek Lodge, The Foggy Goggle is a locals bar with good happy hour specials and live music on Saturday nights. The Bull’s Tooth Pub & Eatery has a great patio, a great draft list and serves up grilled entrees, sandwiches and warm soups. Since Stevens is a day-use ski area, most people head to Leavenworth after skiing, about 45 minutes away.
Leavenworth, WA. A very popular Bavarian architecture, old-world designed village with theatre, Bavarian festivals and food.
Other than an RV lot there are no accommodations on the mountain. Some private rental options in the small towns along Highway 2, including Skykomish, also home to an endearing watering hole called the Whistling Post, are available. But if you’re looking for more action head to Leavenworth, home to many hotels among which Sleeping Lady Resort is a perennial favorite.
Skiing with Kids
Some families have been skiing Stevens for generations, as there’s always been an impressive ski school at Stevens. If you’re looking to raise the next Olympian like local Hannah Teter, take them to Stevens to start practicing on the small rollers and ski-on hop-off jumps in the ski school’s terrain park.
Lift Tickets and Season Pass Cost
Stevens Pass is a short 78 miles from Seattle, which takes about 2-2.5 hours.
By Anna Callaghan