The Stevens Pass Ski Resort in Washington State is a surprise package. One could be forgiven for thinking that Stevens Pass WA might just be a cheerful little ski resort where you take the kids to go night skiing, but it’s so much more than that. The Stevens Pass Ski Area is a spot where powder hounds can have a howling good time and wag their tails in amongst the pow. It’s got the ideal combination of great terrain and abundant snow, and mid-week it’s practically deserted. But take care because there’s no vaccination for white line fever!
As with most Washington ski resorts, Stevens is not a destination resort and there is no on-mountain lodging so the clientele tends to be day trippers from Seattle and environs. Weekends are busy, whilst midweek can get lonely. Interstate and international visitors are not inclined to frequent Stevens Pass Washington, yet combined with the strange but very fun town of Leavenworth, this area is definitely worth including on a tour or a DIY road trip of the northwest.
Stevens Pass Ski and Snowboard Terrain
It is not a massive ski area by any means but it packs a lot into the 1,800 vertical feet (544 metres) and 1,125 acres (455 hectares) of skiable terrain. There are only 37 major runs and it’s the off-piste where the Stevens Pass Ski Resort really excels. Other major strengths of the Stevens Pass ski area
include the snow, the expert terrain, and the backcountry.
Where is Stevens Pass Washington?
The Stevens Pass Ski Area is 82 miles east of Seattle on Highway 2 (Stevens Pass Highway), a drive that takes just under 2 hours depending on road conditions. The ski resort is on the crest of the Cascade Range on Cowboy Mountain and Big Chief Mountain.
The ski area is 16 miles east of the tiny town of Skykomish (population 200) and 35 miles northwest of Leavenworth (population approx. 2000).
Stevens Pass Lodging & Leavenworth WA Hotels
There is no Stevens Pass lodging on-mountain. Various cabins and vacation rentals adorn the region, but the best place to stay is in the quirky town of Leavenworth (35 miles away). Many years ago the Leavenworth locals decided to convert it into a Bavarian town for the sake of tourism. Most of the buildings are Bavarian, the bars and restaurants serve German beers and fare, and all the businesses seem to weave in the Bavarian theme somehow. When it comes to kitsch, Leavenworth Washington even gives the Japanese a run for their money!
There are lots of Leavenworth hotels to choose from that all provide very good value. Click here for Leavenworth WA hotels
Ski Resort Facilities
For a non-destination resort, the base amenities are very well developed. The three day lodges house a multitude of dining options including coffee shops, a taco shop, a pub, pizza joint, Asian food, outdoor grill, and a brown baggers area. One of the lodges also has a full service pub called the Foggy Goggle. We saw a line up to get in which demonstrates the locals’ keenness for a beer – Washingtonians do love an ale or three. Pity one has to drive home!
Other services and facilities include snowsports school, an extensive retail shop, and ski and snowboard rentals, where queues on the weekends can be horrendous.
More Reasons to Snowboard or Ski Stevens Pass
Mid-week, Stevens Pass ticks all the requirements for a drooling powder hound: lots of snow, not too many punters, and challenging terrain. The ski area is also rather family friendly, but probably more so for the Seattleites than for travellers.
Stevens Pass Ski Resort has become a lot more corporatized in recent years but it’s not losing its mainstay of being a local ski area. The prices have increased somewhat and the locals seem to whinge a lot about the costs, but the ski area is still very affordable, especially compared to many of the other ski resorts out west.