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The Summit At Snoqualmie - Alpental


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Seattle-Tacoma International Airport 


Name Description Maximum Occupancy Price Range

Summit Inn



Offers standard rooms and suites, complimentary Internet, outdoor heated pool, hot tub, sauna and restaurant. 


Extra person charges may apply 


Call for pricing


Roaring River Bed and Breakfast


Cozy B&B offering 5 guest rooms and a warm breakfast served daily. 


Extra person charges may apply 

$119 and up 

Snoqualmie Pass Sunspots 


Cabins, condos, chalets and lodges available. 


Extra person charges may apply  

$104 and up 









See Lodging for additional accommodation information.



Adrenalin Shots


Big Air BBQ 



  • See Dining for additional restaurant options. 




Rental Equipment Rates

Lesson Rates

Snow Tubing Rates


Nordic Skiing and Snowshoeing Rates




The Summit At Snoqualmie - Alpental

Located within an easy hour's drive from Seattle, The Summit at Snoqualmie offers winter recreation in the Emerald City's back yard. The Summit actually consists of four mountains -- Summit Central, Summit East, Summit West and Alpental -- each with its own appeal. The monster among them is Alpental, best suited to advanced and expert skiers with its 50% advanced terrain. Lodging is available at the base of the ski area at the Summit Inn.

Model Name/TypeMPNEAN/UPC


Pros: Steep terrain, old growth trees, large backcountry, very good night skiing, friendly staff, definitely not a resort.

Cons: Small area, large lines on weekends, highly variable snow, definitely not a resort.

The Summit at Snoqualmie was once four separate ski areas that were gradually combined into one "resort" with four separate named base areas.  Three of these areas - now called Summit West, Central and East - sit on the north slope of Roaring Ridge on the south side of interstate 90.  The remaining area - Alpental - is on the steep, cliff studded north slope of Denny Mountain on the north side of I-90.  This review - and the ratings - only apply to the Alpental area.

Alpental is a small ski area with only four lifts - one modern high speed quad and three older two seaters.  However, these lifts access a lot of terrain.  There is over 2200 feet of vertical from the top of Denny Mountain to the base, and a large diversity of terrain.  You can ski alpine bowls, old growth trees, ice waterfalls, chutes, steeps and bumps.  A majority of the trails on the lower mountain are hard blues through moderately difficult blacks, while all of the terrain accessed from the upper Edelweiss chair is for advanced skiers.  Some of the named runs from the upper chair are extremely steep - Adrenalin has a slope over 50 degrees. 

There is a large backcountry which is officially accessible through three gates, and in reality accessible in many other locations.  It is at least three times as large as the skiable area inbounds.  The easiest way out to the backcountry is on the Great Scott Traverse - a long path under a menacing cornice of snow.  The traverse  leads to a series of open bowls that funnel down to tight runs and chutes carved into a series of cliff bands.  It's quite easy to work your way into a sticky situation where you need to re-trace your route back up the mountain, so be careful and find a local guide if you can. 

Alpental is not for everyone.  It has no terrain park, and the base area is limited to a serviceable bar and a cafeteria style restaurant.  The grooming on the hill is sporadic.  It isn't the sort of ski area you visit while on vacation, but for a local ski hill it has a lot to offer.




Pros: Only 50 minutes from Seattle via nice highway, varied terrain. Efficent shuttle bus to other 3 clustered closeby resorts. Good for technical races.

Cons: Occasional great snow, but usually snow is average, sometimes so-so. Weekend ski schools dominate part of the year. It ain't Telluride.

(Updated April, 2014) - Relatively short vertical does not mean bad, (varies 1,000' to 2,280' vertical, with just shy of 2,000 skiable acres), so go with an open mind and explore. Alpental is usually considered the pick of the litter for advanced intermediate and expert skiers, but also try the other 3 resorts there (all 4 managed by Boyne Mnt who have to their credit consistently improved since taking over a few years ago). They each have different personalities. Silver Fir Chair at Central, and runs at Summit East (Hyak) are second thought gems when conditions are good which unfortunately can vary quite a bit by the week if not by the day. Not the Rockies but it's turned out some World Cupper's and medalists. Snow grooming does show signs of improving of late, which is encouraging, but could still be improved when compared to Steven's, White and Crystal Mountain, oddly one of which is under the same management. Off-season brush cutting though is still weak compared to any other resort, it's a jungle in places when the snow coverage starts thinning at Central, and especially Alpental, (which fortunately gets the most snow coverage), hopefully this will improve? (Boyne, please go to other resorts and see how much alpine meadow versus brush they have because they have major cutting/removal programs). Some cynical skier's suggest that when it's this close to Seattle, the resort knows they're going to come anyway... One big strength is it's only 50 minutes from Seattle (don't leave at rush hour) via a nice major multilane highway that occasionally requires chains or is closed for avalanches when it dumps. All the other Seattle/Metro area resorts are almost two hours away and have the standard narrow, easily blocked two lane roads, so an OK ski complex and road system this close to a major metropolitan city is pretty cool. Combining all the 4 resorts at the Snoqualmie Pass complex, there is a fair amount of varied terrain, some surprisingly good pitch in places, but no real long cruising runs, (longest is 1.2 miles at Alpental). After ski entertainment in the area is marginal, generally the nightlife and mostly the lodging is a weakness. Only one almost average hotel, but a few people actually like the laid back ambiance and look on the bright side, not much to spend money on.There's a few OK slope side bar's/restaurant's that suffice, and like all bars get better the more you drink, (remember that 1 hotel). I will grant you though - that brand new Silver Fir Lodge bar is pretty sweet. A central, planned ski village would help a lot, and a developer finally did a recent press release (2013) of a planned village finally going in after 70 years! Sticks are in the air this year (2014), so it's not like the other "pipe" dreams of the past. One caution, when the right front combos come off the Pacific, which is not too uncommon, it can really dump huge piles of snow super fast, which can be 50/50 in quality - either some surprisingly good stuff (by Cascade Mountain standards), or the infamous "Cascade concrete"....., you might want to bring your fat crude ski's for back up, (...and mainly back to the "grooming" thing), but usually it's just pretty average snow. The snow has lasted well into April as recently as 2013 & 2014 seasons and it's common to get big dumps in March. They do close a little more than half the runs by April 1, and unfortunately the others closures seems (other than coverage) dependent on customer usage and available staff, understandable. I went up last weekend and can't figure out what happened to all the Spring Skiers the last few years? The snow was great spring snow, blue bird conditions and you could ski right onto the lift most runs. "The Pass" is basically a fine, close in, convenient ski resort, don't let the sno-snobs make your mind up. Alpental is supposed to be one of Shawn White's 3 favorite places to board at. Watch for frequent avalanches in Alpental area too when conditions are right. And, don't buy in that the snow is "always bad" there, that's BS - there's good snow more than not and even great snow once in a while, but ya, sometimes it's going to get thick and wet. Just bring a lot of different gear to change into to match that days (if not hourly) variable weather and snow conditions, (even 10 degree gear, ya just never know there).


Pros: steep, full of interesting features

Cons: low elevation

Alpental is really good for a small area: most of it is steep and it's 45 minutes from Seattle.  What is outstanding is the backcountry.  Modest hiking accesses steep terrain with bowls, chutes, cliff bands, jumps and trees.  The low elevation means that the snow isn't typically as good as, say, Crystal Mountain's, but the backcountry terrain is even more fun that Crystal's.


Check it out:  http://www.alpental.com/snow-h.htm


Pros: Alpental

Cons: Snoqualamie

Alpental is pretty decent, despite its small size. When the snow hits, it has rocking terrain. It's sister areas, however would make a person think they were in the mid atlantic. Crowded, small, run down and crowded.


Pros: Close to city, easy access, lots of night skiing, good teaching hill

Cons: Flat, low (3000 ft. base at Summit West), little vertical

 This is a general review of Summit East, Central, and West.  I did a lot of my learning at Summit Central (Ski Acres) back in the late 60's and very early '70s.  This is a great place to learn, but not a place to visit if you're coming from out of town.  There is really no expert terrain.  For a few night turns it can be good, but it is super crowded on weekend days.  If you want great terrain go to Alpental, small but mighty and much worth a daytime visit.  Otherwise go to Crystal Mt. or Stevens Pass instead.  A little longer drive will pay off.
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