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.