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Stevens Pass, WA

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 

I am a beginner skier headed out to Washington for my Spring Break. I have another thread going and gotten some great replies about where to ski in WA. From what I have gathered Stevens would probably be the best fit for me. I would just like some more details.

Where is there to stay... Something not to expensive possibly include lift tickets?

 

Who would you recomend for private instruction. Probably about 6-8 hours on the mountain.

 

What is equiptment rental like? Would I be better off purchasing my own. Ski gear in FL is fairly cheap.

 

Good slopes for beginers?

 

 

Anything else you can think of?

post #2 of 23

Should be good skiing here that time of year.

 

You could stay in Leavenworth, 35 minutes down the highway, it's an interesting Bavarian town with a lot of bars. Might run into others your age on Spring Break.

 

Looks like Stevens Pass has a whole page for beginners:

http://www.stevenspass.com/Stevens/ski-board/beginner-tips.aspx

 

Rental equipment isn't too bad when you are first learning. If you are hell-bent on buying your own equipment, start with a good (fitting) pair of boots.

post #3 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Ridgewell View Post

I am a beginner skier headed out to Washington for my Spring Break. I have another thread going and gotten some great replies about where to ski in WA. From what I have gathered Stevens would probably be the best fit for me. I would just like some more details.

Where is there to stay... Something not to expensive possibly include lift tickets?

 

Who would you recomend for private instruction. Probably about 6-8 hours on the mountain.

 

What is equiptment rental like? Would I be better off purchasing my own. Ski gear in FL is fairly cheap.

 

Good slopes for beginers?

 

 

Anything else you can think of?


Stay in Leavenworth. There are hotel/pass deals.

 

The beginner package is the best deal; however if you can swing private lessons, you will get more out of it. The beginner package includes entry level ski gear.

 

If you think you're going to get into skiing, buy some good boots. Not cheap boots. If you're going to get cheap boots, just rent. Otherwise, renting gear will be less expensive and less hassle than buying.

 

They have an excellent beginner chair there, the Daisy chair.

 

I'll check and see who is teaching there this year, and get back to you with recommendations.

post #4 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by iWill View Post




Stay in Leavenworth. There are hotel/pass deals.

 

The beginner package is the best deal; however if you can swing private lessons, you will get more out of it. The beginner package includes entry level ski gear.

 

If you think you're going to get into skiing, buy some good boots. Not cheap boots. If you're going to get cheap boots, just rent. Otherwise, renting gear will be less expensive and less hassle than buying.

 

They have an excellent beginner chair there, the Daisy chair.

 

I'll check and see who is teaching there this year, and get back to you with recommendations.


Perfect. Thanks so much for the info. I just noticed there is a shuttle from Leavenworth. It is 12$ round trip per person. The only issue is they get there at 9 and leave at 4. Seeing as I only will get to make a trip once a year I would like to stay as long and late as possible. I also read chains on tires or 4 wheel drive will most likely be required to drive over the pass to Leavenworth. I have never chained up or really drove in snow. The cheapest rate for a 4-wheel or AWD rental from Seattle I found was 850 for the week. This is with the Under 25 surcharge. I can get a compact vehicle for around 500 for the week. Which is really still more than I wanted to spend on a rental but will make do. I will also be driving down Interstate 5 and hoping to do some snowshowing up Mt. St. Helens but unaware of any snowshoe rentals in the area or driving coniditions.

 

Thanks again for all of the help
 

post #5 of 23
Quote:

Originally Posted by Michael Ridgewell View Post

 

I just noticed there is a shuttle from Leavenworth. It is 12$ round trip per person. The only issue is they get there at 9 and leave at 4. Seeing as I only will get to make a trip once a year I would like to stay as long and late as possible.

 

I also read chains on tires or 4 wheel drive will most likely be required to drive over the pass to Leavenworth. I have never chained up or really drove in snow

 

 

I will also be driving down Interstate 5 and hoping to do some snowshowing up Mt. St. Helens but unaware of any snowshoe rentals in the area or driving coniditions.

 

 

The lifts at the ski area are only open from 9 to 4 during your spring break, there is no night skiing at that time of year, so you won't miss a thing.

 

The requirement for chains is not to put them on, but to carry them in your car when driving in the mountains until April 1. After that there is no requirement.  When the roads are bad enough the highway department puts out signs requiring the use of chains or AWD, but the chances of this happening during spring break are very low.

 

If you're an REI member, you could rent snowshoes from them in Seattle.
 

post #6 of 23
Thread Starter 

I see that there is night skiing available on the Fri and Sat night. So I am thinking of taking the shuttle and see how the conditions are while I am there. But Coming from Seattle I will have to drive over the pass to get to Leavenworth anyway. Who knows. I guess I just worry to much and love to plan. I will look up REI and see what that is about.

post #7 of 23

There are really no 'resort' properties at any of the Western Washington ski areas.  So, as others mentioned, if Skiing at Stevens Pass, than Leavenworth is your best bet.  Concerning tire chains, the post by Posaune is correct concerning chains, there is a requirement that you 'carry' chains from Nov 1 to April 1.  I've been driving to Stevens Pass about 35 times per season over the past few years, and I've never had to put chains on.  I've only used snow tires one season, every other time I used my standard all-season tires.  For the most part, the roads are very well taken care of, and plowed or sanded regularly - so I wouldn't be overly concerned about this.  Stevens has decent standard rental gear, and they also have 'performance' demo gear available if you feel you need higher performance skis and are willing to pay the higher price - although for a beginner, the standard rental gear should be more than adequate. Have fun!

post #8 of 23

Regarding snow in the spring - Stevens can get a lot. Here's my TR from a May 5th 2010 post lift served trip ("inbounds"): http://www.epicski.com/forum/thread/94347/cinco-de-mayo-uary-at-stevens-pass Last spring had a significant late season storm cycle. Not saying you should expect this - but know that lots of snow can fall into April and May.

 

The highway is indeed well cared for. The WA DOT crew has two tanks and an assortment of other "toys" they use to keep things clear. Their options for keeping parts of the Leavenworth side clear are a bit more limited than the Skykomish side. But in spring I would not lose too much sleep over that. (search google, youtube, whatever to find videos and pics of the truly HUGE Tunnel Creek slide a few years ago)

 

Regarding instructors - Stevens seems to hire pretty good folks overall. I certainly do not know the total picture or who will be back. But from what I know, for a private, I am a fan of "Skier Dan". He'd be my personal pick. Wenzel is a good guy & solid instructor too. Stan Aunen is a big deal PSIA type & well respected by people I know who know him well - possibly only working weekends if his schedule is like last year (and my memory is correct). 

 

Use of search on the site will deliver more info on Stevens...

post #9 of 23

You know if Mt. St. Helens is the other direction.  Snoqualmie and Crystal would be more accessible to that part of your adventure.  (Stevens still wins for skiing though)

post #10 of 23

You could actually do that trip without driving over, by taking Amtrak. Gets you from Seattle to Leavenworth in about the same time, and a much nicer trip than the interminable traffic through Monroe.

post #11 of 23

I've always wanted to go on a train ride.

post #12 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by FujativeOCR View Post

I've always wanted to go on a train ride.


When you were still in Spokane you should of taken the "midnight express" to Big Mtn/Whitefish Mtn Resort. Same Amtrak route, as mentioned above, that passes through downtown at 1am and arrives at 6am to Whitefish. 

post #13 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by spknmike View Post




When you were still in Spokane you should of taken the "midnight express" to Big Mtn/Whitefish Mtn Resort. Same Amtrak route, as mentioned above, that passes through downtown at 1am and arrives at 6am to Whitefish. 


I may still do that someday...now that I know about it!
 

post #14 of 23
Thread Starter 

Thanks so much for the help. I have much relif now as far as the drive. I think I should have no problem if the roads are well maintained. Also I would like to try the night skiing at least one night so the train probably would not work for me. Also I am ok with driving the 4-5 hours from Mt St Helens for the better skiing. From what I have gathered in march it should be better skiing in Stevens than Crystal or Snoqualmie. I am going to take 3 lessons down here in FL on an indoor Ski slope we have so hopefully only 1 day of 5-6 hrs of private lesson is required.

 

I know it is 6 months away but I can't wait.

post #15 of 23

OK, so I had to join just to reply to this.  Definitely ski Crystal!  If for no other reason than the views.  Of course Rainier can practically be touched from the top and you can see from Mt St Helens to Adams, up to Baker and out to the Olympics, not to mention the craggy Cascades.  You can stay on the Mountain, so no driving in the AM before skiing.  Silver Skiis has an outdoor pool.  The Snorting Elk is a favorite apres-ski pub, while the Bullwheel often has live music.  You can demo new performance skiis from Left-Angle demo shop.  Fine dining for lunch at the top of the mountain with a view of Rainier; try the fondue.  Oh and did I mention the new Gondola that's going in as you read this.  Bottom to top in 9-1/2 minutes.  And as far as slopes go, there are an abundance for every level of skier.  The grooming is top notch and plenty of off piste.  There's a new terrain park going in this season as well.  They also have a great ski school.

 

So, I don't know what people are talking about when they say no "resort" destinations in WA, unless they are trying to keep it a secret ;-)

post #16 of 23

Whistler is a resort. Crystal is a ski area with a little bit of lodging.

 

If you've got a bunch of beginners, you probably won't be seeing Mt. Rainier while you're skiing.  You'll be down in the valley on the beginner hill.

 

I won't argue that Crystal is bigger and fancier than Stevens, but for this group, Stevens seems like a better fit.

post #17 of 23
Thread Starter 

I agree from looking I believe that Stevens will be a better choice as well as have some nice snow in March.

post #18 of 23

PM if you want recommendations for private instructors at stevens. But, the quality of the group lessons is usually pretty good.

post #19 of 23

Crystal may not be a resort as compared to Whistler or Park City, but it is a destination.  What I mean by that is once you are there, all your needs are met.(as in no more need to drive)  

 

I believe that all of the places mentioned (Stevens, Crystal and Snoqualmie)  have excellent beginner terrain with very good grooming.  The instruction is as good as you can get at all of them as well.  I think that the on-snow beginner experience will be pretty much the same (Snoqualmie is a little more beginner friendly)  When you consider snow conditions, I don't think that one is better than the other either. They all get unpredictable PNW weather.  I had rain last March at Stevens, epic deep powder in November at Crystal, and ice in February at Snoqualmie.  You get what you get.  Crystal has higher elevation, but Stevens can get slightly better storm patterns sometimes.  They will all have nice snow on the groomer runs. Views are still unbeatable at Crystal (if it's not cloudy)

 

My main consideration is the apres-ski.  I would rather ski to the door, and be drinking a beer while throwing a steak on the grill, than dealing with getting all my stuff back to the car and driving back to the hotel through a snow storm.  After the BBQ.... a little swim in the 98 degree pool, then throw a log on the fire while watching a movie and a hot buttered rum.  All of the condos at Silver Skis are private and furnished with a kitchen (you can bring your own food to cook).  Some have games or books and a nice stereo and DVD player.  In the morning, I would rather sleep in, make a cup of coffee and then wander up to the lift lines for first tracks, than negotiate the snow storm, ice on the road, traffic, parking lot, schlepping gear, shuttle bus, locker room ....etc. (It's actually not that bad once you get used to it, I do it every weekend)

 

You are on vacation after all.

 

If you still want to do Stevens, consider renting a cabin.  We stayed in a nice one called Mysty Mountain just 15 miles west of the pass.  It had a hot tub. see  http://vacationrentalcabins.com/

 

Actually you could stay in Seattle. If you don't mind driving.  It's only about 10 more minutes or so drive from Seattle to Snoqualmie, than Stevens to Leavenworth.  Then you would have all the night life you could want.  Speaking of Seattle, Here's a partial list to check out:  Music - Benaroya Hall, Triple door, Dimitriou's Jazz Alley, the Moore, The Paramount, the Showbox, the Tractor Tavern, the Nector, The Crocodile.  Food - Ray's boathouse, Sun Ya for dim sum, Village Sushi, Santa Fe cafe, Zeek's Pizza, Metropolitan Grill, Buenos Aires Grill, Theo Chocolate, Zig Zag Cafe, Bakery Nouveau...  There's tons more....

 

Whatever you decide have a Happy Birthday.

post #20 of 23
Thread Starter 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by 4evrSki View Post

Crystal may not be a resort as compared to Whistler or Park City, but it is a destination.  What I mean by that is once you are there, all your needs are met.(as in no more need to drive)  

 

I believe that all of the places mentioned (Stevens, Crystal and Snoqualmie)  have excellent beginner terrain with very good grooming.  The instruction is as good as you can get at all of them as well.  I think that the on-snow beginner experience will be pretty much the same (Snoqualmie is a little more beginner friendly)  When you consider snow conditions, I don't think that one is better than the other either. They all get unpredictable PNW weather.  I had rain last March at Stevens, epic deep powder in November at Crystal, and ice in February at Snoqualmie.  You get what you get.  Crystal has higher elevation, but Stevens can get slightly better storm patterns sometimes.  They will all have nice snow on the groomer runs. Views are still unbeatable at Crystal (if it's not cloudy)

 

My main consideration is the apres-ski.  I would rather ski to the door, and be drinking a beer while throwing a steak on the grill, than dealing with getting all my stuff back to the car and driving back to the hotel through a snow storm.  After the BBQ.... a little swim in the 98 degree pool, then throw a log on the fire while watching a movie and a hot buttered rum.  All of the condos at Silver Skis are private and furnished with a kitchen (you can bring your own food to cook).  Some have games or books and a nice stereo and DVD player.  In the morning, I would rather sleep in, make a cup of coffee and then wander up to the lift lines for first tracks, than negotiate the snow storm, ice on the road, traffic, parking lot, schlepping gear, shuttle bus, locker room ....etc. (It's actually not that bad once you get used to it, I do it every weekend)

 

You are on vacation after all.

 

If you still want to do Stevens, consider renting a cabin.  We stayed in a nice one called Mysty Mountain just 15 miles west of the pass.  It had a hot tub. see  http://vacationrentalcabins.com/

 

Actually you could stay in Seattle. If you don't mind driving.  It's only about 10 more minutes or so drive from Seattle to Snoqualmie, than Stevens to Leavenworth.  Then you would have all the night life you could want.  Speaking of Seattle, Here's a partial list to check out:  Music - Benaroya Hall, Triple door, Dimitriou's Jazz Alley, the Moore, The Paramount, the Showbox, the Tractor Tavern, the Nector, The Crocodile.  Food - Ray's boathouse, Sun Ya for dim sum, Village Sushi, Santa Fe cafe, Zeek's Pizza, Metropolitan Grill, Buenos Aires Grill, Theo Chocolate, Zig Zag Cafe, Bakery Nouveau...  There's tons more....

 

Whatever you decide have a Happy Birthday.



Thanks so much for the excellent help. What I am may do, let me know if you think this is wise, is wait until I get there or about 2 weeks before and see the predictions of forecast for each area. As far as night life is concerned I will be just fine heading back to wherever I am staying and reading a book. I do not really need a club or anything. I just like to have everything planned with lodging booked. I am just a planner I guess. Either way I thank you all for the feedback and recomendations. 

post #21 of 23
Thread Starter 

Thanks so much for the replies. I suppose I will wait until it is a little closer to the time I guess and see what will be the best conditions for my travel will be. This may be the best thing. Or maybe I will just spend 1 night in each of the places. It is all up in the air as of now so who knows.

post #22 of 23

The issue with the PNW is that conditions can change pretty quickly.  And the best accommodations can get booked up if you try and wait to see what's best.  The snow can be different in each of the resorts, but typically the weather is more or less the same up and down the Cascades especially on the groomer runs.  As a beginner skier you can't go wrong with the skiing at any of them.  I only recommend Silver Skis at Crystal for the low stress daily life on the mountain.  I personally prefer to not drive once I'm at my destination.  Crystal may not be resort in the scale of Whistler, but you don't seem to want that.  There's a great pub with a fire and live music(Snorting Elk) nice dining just upstairs at the Alpine Inn.  You could stay there as well; they have smaller rooms and are cheaper.  Silver Skis has a pool, BBQ grill, drive up load/unloading gear, parking near the lifts, fireplaces in some condos, kitchens and ski to the door.

 

I think trying each place would be a lot of driving.  You would pretty much need to almost drive through Seattle to get from one to the other ski area.  I would recommend getting an AWD vehicle.  You never know if a storm will blow in part way through your trip and get you stuck in the parking lot.  Remember that even if the roads are clear there may be slush, ice, mud and/or snow in the parking lot.

post #23 of 23

If night skiing is high on your list then the only place to go is Steven's (assuming night skiing is still operating on the dates you plan to visit). 

 

Steven's has very bright, white lights to brighten many of the runs along the Skyline and Brooks chairs while the Summit Areas only have sparsely placed dingy yellow lights that barely let you see where you're going.   I once forgot to switch my goggles at Steven's as it got dark - and didn't notice until the end of the evening...!  

 

.ma

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