Stevens Pass is less than two hours from downtown Seattle, yet it feels a million miles from anything. Sandwiched between two national forests, on the crest of the Cascade Range, the ski area benefits from dry easterlies that turn its 460 inches of annual snow into light, fluffy powder. And with 10 lifts to access its 1,125 acres of terrain, it’s easy to move around the mountain and take advantage of so many styles of skiing and riding. With a good split between easy, intermediate, and expert runs, and 1,800 of vertical, you can get a lot of laps in here on everything from wide-open cruisers in the lower bowl to steep groomers up top. The chutes under the 7th Heaven lift, which accesses 5,845-foot Cowboy Mountain, are so steep you can barely see your next turn. Big Chief Mountain is the place to weave through tall snow-covered evergreens. Stevens Pass also underwent a $1 million upgrade a few years ago, which was spent on upgraded grooming equipment and thinning the trees in hundreds of acres of glades. Lift tickets are $69.
Where to Stay: With zero accommodation options at Stevens Pass itself, the resort website is a good resource for dozens of independent cabins a short drive away. Some — like the Tye Haus Ski Chalet — are just a few minutes from the resort, but most are a good 20-minute drive. Hotels can be found even further away, in the charming Bavarian-style village of Leavenworth.
Insider Tip: The drive from Seattle to Stevens Pass, especially along Highway 2, can get pretty hairy during or right after a storm— make sure that whatever rig you’re taking up the mountain has good clearance and you know how to throw chains on, if you have to.