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Seattle Skiing?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
I'm looking at moving to Seattle in a few years. Specifically, I'll be taking a job at Everett. So I'm sitting here, looking at my needs-to-be-mowed yard, and wondering where I ought to be looking for housing. Where's the best skiing in the area, and is it worth trying to live out towards a particular area to make daytrips easier?
post #2 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by LordHedgie
I'm looking at moving to Seattle in a few years. Specifically, I'll be taking a job at Everett. So I'm sitting here, looking at my needs-to-be-mowed yard, and wondering where I ought to be looking for housing. Where's the best skiing in the area, and is it worth trying to live out towards a particular area to make daytrips easier?
You're going to be working in Everett, which is North of Seattle. Steven's Pass and Mt. Baker are your closest bets. Baker is due East of Bellingham (North of Everett); Stevene is due East of Everett (closest); Crystal is Near Mt. Rainier, which puts it the farthest from you.

Baker has quite a loyal following, it's a great mountain, gets usually phenominal amounts of snow (this is the mountain that breaks the records in terms of annual snowfall in the US), and is *very* laid back -- lots of Riders (75% vs. 25% skiers). Steven's is good, too, although folks right now are pretty pissed off at them for their attitude towards season pass holders (look around for threads on this in the forum).

With where to live, your biggest concern should be traffic and cost. I-5 gets really crappy around Everett. So, hopefully some folks who live North of Seattle can give you some pointers.

Bring your goretex... despite what people say, it does rain a fair bit here.
David
post #3 of 15
A very good friend of mine moved to Lake Stevens which is east of Everett. Where he lives is very nice but the property values are surprisingly low compared much of the rest of the Puget Sound region and it would be nicely situated for a run to Stevens Pass. This would put you about 1 1/4 hours from Stevens and 2 hours from Baker. Crystal is a long haul through the Seattle area traffic, but Alpental is maybe an hour away.

From a strictly skiing standpoint, Stevens is a good area but don't even think about going there on weekends in January and February. It is a complete zoo. Weekdays are great and weekends from March on are good too.

Baker is not too bad on the weekends in Jan. and Feb. crowd-wise. It's empty on the weekdays.
post #4 of 15
I was born in Everett, and lived my first 10 years there. Even though its been a little over 30 years since I've lived there, sometimes it still feels like home when I go back.

Of the resorts discussed, Mt Baker, Steven's Pass, & Crystal Mt., Crystal is my favorite. Depending on what kind of terrain you like, you may find it worth the trip. But all 3 are respectable destinations and have terrain for everyone. If you like night skiing, Steven's Pass has it, but you'll be mostly cruising groomers.
post #5 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave86
I was born in Everett, and lived my first 10 years there. Even though its been a little over 30 years since I've lived there, sometimes it still feels like home when I go back.

Of the resorts discussed, Mt Baker, Steven's Pass, & Crystal Mt., Crystal is my favorite. Depending on what kind of terrain you like, you may find it worth the trip. But all 3 are respectable destinations and have terrain for everyone. If you like night skiing, Steven's Pass has it, but you'll be mostly cruising groomers.
I like natural terrain, e.g., bowls above the treeline, woods, and backcountry. Looking at the trailmaps, Crystal seems the most fun, but it also looks considerably further. Season passes are nearly a grand there... I thought they were pricy out East!
post #6 of 15
You're right. For lift serviced skiing inbounds Crystal is the best for the terrain you descrbe. But you will be working in Everett. The traffic in the Seattle area is insane so moving to a more southerly community within closer striking distance of Crystal would mean a lousy daily commute. If it was me, I would choose to live somewhere close to Highway 2, do my regular skiing at Stevens, and make the occasional trip to Crystal or Whistler. Stevens has some good skiing and some of the terrain you descibe is availabe on the back side and from 7th Heaven. For BC that is not lift served you can go all over the Cascades. The northern areas are best and it is legendary around Baker.
post #7 of 15
The terrain at Crystal has twice as much to offer than Stevens, not to mention a closer-knit ski community. I know several people who live in the Everett area and commute there despite the longer distance, so be sure you give the mountain a try. It's not that Stevens sucks, it's just that it sucks compared to Crystal, Baker, or Alpental. And the Lake Stevens advice is terrific, as it's an easy shot to either Baker or Stevens from there.
post #8 of 15
I don't want to get into a "my area is better than yours" type of argument, but I would like to say that I don't find the mountain at Stevens inferior to Baker or Alpental, though I readily concede to Crystal. I've skied both Stevens and Baker a lot and I can find all kinds of great terrain at Stevens just like at Baker. Baker has more snow, but Stevens has lots and it's usually better due to slightly higher elevation and to the fact that it is on a pass and the cold air from the east is known to flow through there, unlike at Baker.

The thing that makes Stevens seem like a gaper area is the extensive blue runs which are well groomed and are the only thing lit at night. They attract lots of people on the weekends. You can avoid this by skiing on 7th Heaven chair, particularly yo-yoing Nancy, Bobby, and Outback chutes on busy days. Other great terrain includes Tye Bowl, Wild Katz, Double Diamond, Big Chief Bowl, and Andromeda on the back side. None of these is ever crowded, and usually you are alone looking down on the ant-like masses all by yourself. What I'm saying is that you have to know where to go for the terrain.

While these runs are mostly fairly short (exception being Andromeda at 1700' vertical) they are challenging and Baker doesn't have anything longer (Gabl's is about 1200-1300' I think). Alpental has both beat in spades as far as challenging vertical, but it starts low and is fairly limited in size unless you hit the OB.

I'll bet anything that not everyone agrees with me.
post #9 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by LordHedgie
I'm looking at moving to Seattle in a few years.
I just re-read your post. You're moving in "a few years" but you have a job in Everett lined up already? What business are you in, anyway? How do you know you'll be taking a job years ahead of time? I wish I could be so certain about anything!
post #10 of 15
By the time you move here...Crystal may have several upgrades completed as well. The first improvements planned are a top-bottom tram, and a Northway Peak lift which will open up a lot of new terrain to lift service.

I saw a sign at Crystal the other week noting that these were the 'year 1' improvements, but with the season they had this year, who knows if it will all get done this summer.

And don't forget that Whistler is only 4 hours north of Everett, for weekend trips.
post #11 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by pheft
I just re-read your post. You're moving in "a few years" but you have a job in Everett lined up already? What business are you in, anyway? How do you know you'll be taking a job years ahead of time? I wish I could be so certain about anything!
I'm in the Navy, and I just had a friend move out to a ship out there. A quick phone call lined me up to be his replacement when he leaves, whenever that may be. He's just keeping my rack warm for now....
post #12 of 15
Personally my favorite mountains locally are Crystal and Mt Baker because both tend to be prettty consistent. Also, going down a run takes longer than I spend waiting in a lift line. Heed the advice of the folks here that already said avoid Stevens on particular weekends. It's crazy. You can stand in line 20 minutes for a five minute run.

You'll also love having Whistler so close. We take at least 3 trips a year to Whistler (I live in Seattle proper so a 4 1/2 hour drive for us). Also, if you do plan to go to Whistler, check into their discount cards for Washington state and BC residents. That card is also good for discounts at Stevens. Or you can get the Stevens Harbor resorts card and that's good for discounts at Whistler.
post #13 of 15
We try to avoid Stevens on the weekends during their peak season (January through early February). During those weeks, we ski mostly during the week and have never encountered a weekday lift line. In December and after the middle of February, lift lines seem to evaporate for all days of the week. Even during the peak load weeks, however, if you ski Seventh Heaven or the back side, you won't encounter life lines.

On the other hand, the more people who stay away from Stevens because they fear long lines, the more laps I get to ski.
post #14 of 15
I'm a died in the wool Crystal fan but I agree with pheft that it all boils down to knowing the mountain. If I didn't know Crystal the way I do I might feel more strongly about another mountain. On the other hand, I know Crystal and Stevens pretty darn well and I can find fun, seldom skied stuff just about any time. You'll do the same I'm sure. Take a scouting trip and see which you prefer. Write it off as a business expense!
post #15 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by cloudpeak
however, if you ski Seventh Heaven or the back side, you won't encounter life lines.
Definitely not beginner terrain but it's not THAT bad!
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