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Beginner In Washington State needs HELP :-)

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 

I have a few questions.

 

I am 23 and never skied before in my life. I currently live in Florida and for my Spring Break from college my roommate and I will be looking for a place to go Skiing near Seattle for 3 nights 4 days March 9th-12th. It also is my birthday :-)

 

My questions are where is the best place to go for a beginner. Not looking to drive 6 hours from seattle. We would like to have an option for activities. for example, Snowshoeing, Snowmobiling, Hotsprings(if there are any). Ideally a place with a ski school would be nice so we could get a decent 2-3 hr lesson and then head out for the green runs. Maybe even a blue if we get adventures. Also looking for a place with on sight lodging not to terribly expensive. 

 

Please let me know if you have any questions or want to chat. 

 

Also looking for things to do in Seattle area. Will be in Seattle for 3 nights and by Mount St. Helens for a night. Let me know if you can help.

 

Thanks so much.

post #2 of 27

Dont know much about the ski culture up there but there are some cool places to visit in seattle. Space needle is a given, the pikes place market is pretty cool also. If your lookin for a sit down dinner or a quick bite to eat ivar's is a damn good seafood place. Theres also a tour that takes you through the locks and around the puget sound thats pretty cool, you see some wildlife and the fishing industry along with bill gates house and some other noticeable landmarks. Seattle always has something goin on, im sure youll have no problem entertaining yourself for three days there, hope you have a great trip.

post #3 of 27
post #4 of 27
Thread Starter 

Thanks so much for the feedback. I was looking at Crystal but then concerned about driving conditions. I will be in a rental and live in FL= Ice on roads, never seen. 

 

I was also looking at Snoqualmie. Any good trip reports or feedback for beginners?

post #5 of 27



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Ridgewell View Post

I have a few questions.

 

I am 23 and never skied before in my life. I currently live in Florida and for my Spring Break from college my roommate and I will be looking for a place to go Skiing near Seattle for 3 nights 4 days March 9th-12th. It also is my birthday :-)

 

My questions are where is the best place to go for a beginner. Not looking to drive 6 hours from seattle. We would like to have an option for activities. for example, Snowshoeing, Snowmobiling, Hotsprings(if there are any). Ideally a place with a ski school would be nice so we could get a decent 2-3 hr lesson and then head out for the green runs. Maybe even a blue if we get adventures. Also looking for a place with on sight lodging not to terribly expensive. 

 

Please let me know if you have any questions or want to chat. 

 

Also looking for things to do in Seattle area. Will be in Seattle for 3 nights and by Mount St. Helens for a night. Let me know if you can help.

 

Thanks so much.

 

Michael, Welcome to Epic.  If you don't get sufficient answers check back in the lst week of Oct. almost all the Epic bears will be back online by then and there are a lot of them that live in the Seattle area and can answer all your questions.   Meanwhile:

 

Go to the search function on the lst page of epic and type in Washington ski areas and see what you find.  Also go to the Beginner Forum and go back to its beginning and you will find some excellent stuff for what we call  "never evers".  Have fun.   Pete

 

post #6 of 27

I don't think you can avoid driving more than 2hours from Seattle to any of the ski areas...

 

If you go to Mt St. Helens you still gonna drive on icy roads. As a matter of fact the Johnston ridge observatory is going to be closed from November to beginning of May and part of the road might be closed for traffic. Make sure you plan the trip to the St Helens well and check the conditions before you drive up there.

 

Check out Boeing's museum of flight while in Seattle, pretty cool place.
 

Quote:

 

Also looking for things to do in Seattle area. Will be in Seattle for 3 nights and by Mount St. Helens for a night. Let me know if you can help.

 

 

post #7 of 27

If on-hill lodging is a needed, Crystal Mountain is your only real option.  It will meet all of your requirements, though this is not an all-out resort so you might not find that much to do after hours. There is plenty of great rookie terrain.  You will find a ski school at any ski area you choose. 

 

I know that you are concerned about driving in the snow, but you can't get to any ski area without doing it unless you take public transportation.  You might want to try taking a bus from the Seattle area.  The ski area's web site should have links to transportation providers.  The Cascade mountains are relatively low in elevation but they get lots of snow, so you'll have to find a way to deal with it.

 

There are several Crystal locals here on Epic.  Hopefully they will fill in more details.

post #8 of 27
Thread Starter 

I should rephrase. I am not worried about driving in the snow. I just do not want to have to chain up the tires on a rental car lol. On-Site lodging is not required just somewhere that I will not have to drive an hour each way to get to the actual ski area.

post #9 of 27
Thread Starter 

I should rephrase. I am not worried about driving in the snow. I just do not want to have to chain up the tires on a rental car lol. On-Site lodging is not required just somewhere that I will not have to drive an hour each way to get to the actual ski area.

post #10 of 27
Thread Starter 

I should rephrase. I am not worried about driving in the snow. I just do not want to have to chain up the tires on a rental car lol. On-Site lodging is not required just somewhere that I will not have to drive an hour each way to get to the actual ski area.

post #11 of 27

If you're willing to drive a bit, then you have more options.  If you don't want to chain up, rent an AWD vehicle, they are not required to use chains.  

 

Stevens Pass has good green and blue terrain, extensive night skiing, and lodging about 25 minutes away in the town of Skykomish on the west side of the pass.  

 

Snoqualmie Pass is extremely beginner friendly, has extensive night skiing, and is less than an hour's drive from Seattle and within 40 minutes of the eastern suburbs.  The problem with Snoqualmie is that its base is at only 3000 feet and poor snow conditions or rain are frequent concerns.  

 

Mt. Baker is not beginner friendly.

 

Others that are not as easy to get to from the Seattle area are White Pass, and Mission Ridge.  I don't recommend either of these areas over the ones I've already mentioned.  They are smaller and a long drive.

post #12 of 27

My son lives at Summit East and I've spent some time there. I'm a struggling intermediate and love it.

 

1- Close to Seattle= Summit at Snoqualmie. East, Central, West. Great for beginners. Ski lessons. Night skiing. Alpantal for the more experienced

2- Rent an small AWD SUV. No chains needed. Bringing your gear? Make sure you specify a roof rack and bring some bungees

3- There is a motel across the street from Summit Central. Kinda pricey but nice.  Usually empty. The only game in town. Oh, there is no town, more like a mini strip mall.  A few crappy, dirty, and overpriced motels in North Bend ( 20 min.). Further west toward Seattle there are some national chains to commute from ( 30-40 min ). Not a bad drive but not slope side

4- No real nightlife at Summit.

 

 

Have Fun

post #13 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Ridgewell View Post somewhere that I will not have to drive an hour each way to get to the actual ski area.


HaHa!!. Being an East coaster ( like me) you have to adjust to West Coast recreational drive time. Up at 3 a.m. to drive 5 hours to be first chair at 9 is the norm.  They drive 2 hours to get a good cup of coffee. A one hour drive is a short commute. Did a 900 mile, 4 day journey this June from Hyak (Summit East) to ski Rainier, then whitewater rafting in Leavenworth, then back south to Mt Hood for another ski day before heading home.  Plan on sleeping on the plane ride home.

post #14 of 27

Snoqualmie Pass and Alpental are less than an hour from Seattle.  Snoqualmie has excellent beginner terrain, and lots of night skiing under the lights.  More bang for your buck.

 

Stevens pass is a little further up a different highway.  Maybe 1:30 drive.  I prefer this over Crystal and Snoqualmie.  Also has night skiing and mellow slopes near the bottom and fun exciting stuff for pros at the top.

 

I can't think of a reason you would need chains, other than you are from Florida.  These mountain pass roads only go up to about 3,000 feet.  It's not like driving through the Rockies at 10,000.

 

Also, most importantly, whilst in "Washington State", you need only call it "Washington".  Everybody there will know what you mean.

post #15 of 27
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all of the great replies. Let me know if I am wrong but what I have gotten from the replies is Stevens or Snoqualmie. As I said I will be going the second week of march for 3 days. Rental gear will be needed. Also a quick question. When will the winter conditions be seen. I obviously do not want to go somewhere there is not going to be any snow. Thanks for the help.

post #16 of 27
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all of the great replies. Let me know if I am wrong but what I have gotten from the replies is Stevens or Snoqualmie. As I said I will be going the second week of march for 3 days. Rental gear will be needed. Also a quick question. When will the winter conditions be seen. I obviously do not want to go somewhere there is not going to be any snow. Thanks for the help.

post #17 of 27

March will be fine.  Seems like Stevens Pass has been doing a lot of late season video shoots every year for the movies using their terrain park, so the snow must last for quite awhile.  Best time is probably February, but again March is fine.  Supposed to be a cold winter up there too.

post #18 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by FujativeOCR View Post

March will be fine.  Seems like Stevens Pass has been doing a lot of late season video shoots every year for the movies using their terrain park, so the snow must last for quite awhile.  Best time is probably February, but again March is fine.  Supposed to be a cold winter up there too.


And any recommendations for lodging in Stevens. Is there good snowshoeing in the area?

post #19 of 27

Snoqualmie/Alpintal for sure and curtain.  Good ski schools and terrain for you.  Other snowy stuff up that way: tubing, snowshoeing, snowmobile rentals a little farther east on I-90.

 

Once the skiing stops there is not much going on up there though so would recommend staying down the hill, North Bend at the foot of the pass would be a good choice.  That would put you about 1/2 hour drive on one of the best maintained winter roads in the country.  There is a lot more doing after dark in North Bend then up on the hill and you would be less than 1/2 hour from Isaquaw too for more choices.  You are going to show up in the snowiest month so required chains/4WD  are a real possibility. 

 

Suspect that budget is an issue here so here is a thought.  You very well might not ever need chains or 4WD, but you may hit the storm of the century, you will know that when you leave.  Rent the car that fits your needs and wants, 2WD would be cheaper.  Some rental companies will rent you chains too: if they are required there are normally guys set up at the chain up area that will put them on for $20+-, and you guys can take them off.  If the weather looks good while you will be here BUY some chains at a Les Schwabs tire store (they are everywhere around these parts), if you never open them they will happily give you the money back. 

 

Some cool things: Pike Street Market, Rock and Roll museum, Boeing museum, Space Needle, Seattle underground tour is interesting and puts you down where there is normally some pretty good music going on too. 

 

Have fun, and happy early birthday!

post #20 of 27

Okay - Snoqualamie is a mass beginner hill, and gets loads of daytrippers. The Alpental side is cool for gnarly terrain, but all-in-all for anyone else, the only thing it has going for it is that it is closer to Seattle. Sonoqualamie has all the ambiance of a highway rest stop; which it is

 

Stevens is actually a better hill than Bloqualamie. The elevation is just a bit higher, so you are less likely to get rained out. There is a cross country area and snowshoeing is a much better bet than Snoqualamie. . The beginner terrain at Stevens is actually better, despite Snocrummy being 80% beginner. You will find decent instructors at either one. Look here for recommendations when you get closer to the date.

 

Realize that the ski scene is Washington isn't resort based. It's all day areas, and none of them have any kind of nightlife or decent places to stay. Despite your insistence that you don't want to drive 6 hours, you would find what you are asking about up at whistler, instead of Washington.

post #21 of 27

I'm with iWill, you'll have a better overall experience at Stevens.  Early March is a very good time to go.  Lots of folks put their skis away after the end of February for some reason.  You'll have no problem with crowds at that time of year and it is possibly the best time for snow.

post #22 of 27
Thread Starter 

Great so it is starting to sound like I should start looking a little further into Stevens. It seems as though there is pretty decent lodging fairly close that is not to expensive. I also like the fact that we could probably get away with a few hours with an instructor and then go be on our own. I also like the cross country snowshoe idea. We are going for an adventure and as far as nightlife. A bucket of beer and a pizza in a hotel room is fine for us :-)

post #23 of 27

May I reccomend you a White Pass. It doubled its capacity for this year and can be a great, not expensive skiing there in March. You can stay 200ft away from the lift at about 150 per night. If you are there durign the midweek, you got the mountain to yourself. People are very helpful and friendly, almost no liftlines.

post #24 of 27

Lake Wenatchee (Plain) and Leavenworth are near by Steavens.  There are plenty of very good snowshoeing. Leavenworth is a beautifull place to be. You could grab a cabing near Lake Wenatchee, if you are splitting the cost it will run you cheap and you are relatively close to the ski area (20 minutes I beleive)...  www.bluegrouse.com for cabin rentals.

post #25 of 27

Oops!  Never mind.

post #26 of 27

I know nothing about skiing in Washington, but I know something about eating in Seattle.  My brother lives there and we visit him a few times a year.  Ivar's is pretty good if you like buckets of steamed clams, but if you want really good seafood, go to Elliot's Oyster House.  Elliot's is only about a block from Ivar's on the waterfront and the food is fabulous.  And if you want to sample oysters, the first one is on the house there, as long as you say you're never eaten oysters before.  If you like sushi, Umi Sake House on First Ave, maybe a mile north of Pike Place Market, is amazing, first place I ever ate Sea Urchin.  If you want good Italian food, go to Salvatore's at 6100 Roosevelt Way NE, north of U of Washington.  For Greek food go to Costas Opa at 3400 Fremont Ave North.  If you want some specific ethnic food, ask and I'll talk to my brother.  He's a waiter at the Metropolitan Grill, a very pricey steak place, and he really knows his way around Seattle eateries.3400 Fremont Ave N

post #27 of 27

I heard last night that the La Nina we're getting into is the strongest one in 55 years.  This should be a great ski year in WA, so you're picking a perfect time to come.  There are no guarantees, but it's looking awfully good right now.

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