Washington State offers the best of both worlds when it comes to spectacular outdoor scenery with wild and remote beaches as well as towering mountains, which is just one of the reasons I live here. While it’s a little chilly to lay out on the sand this time of the year, the winter months bring the opportunity for great skiing, or snowboarding, if that’s what you’re into.
If you’re looking for a fun travel destination that also offers a chance to hit the slopes, consider one of these top three places to visit.
Olympic National Park’s Hurricane Ridge
Olympic National Park is a wonderful destination year round, but when winter comes it’s transformed into an especially breathtaking wonderland. This park is considered a hidden gem as it’s one of the least crowded of our national parks and Hurricane Ridge Ski Area is no exception. It’s located in the heart of the park, 17 miles south of the city of Port Angeles.
Here visitors enjoy some of the best winter vistas to be found in the Pacific Northwest. As this is a small, family-friendly ski area it doesn’t come with the high costs or crowds that are typical of most ski resorts. Here you won’t have to wait in long lines and lift tickets are very budget-friendly. The bunny slope is only $12 for an entire day, and you’ll pay just $24 for all-day access to the intermediate slopes.
In addition to the opportunity to get out in the snow, visitors can soak in the Sol Duc hot springs or explore charming towns like Port Townsend. This Victorian seaport community offers live music most nights of the week as well as museums, unique shops and numerous art galleries.
Stevens Pass and Leavenworth
Stevens Pass is located in the Central Cascade Mountains, only about a half hour’s drive from the Bavarian village of Leavenworth, making it an ideal travel destination for skiers and snowboarders. Enjoy a day of play in the snow and then return to Leavenworth to take part in the numerous festivals and activities offered throughout the winter season. Embark on an old fashioned sleigh ride or attend events like the Bavarian Ice Festival.
At Stevens Pass, you’ll find outstanding snow conditions as well as 1,800 vertical feet on three sides of two different mountains with the terrain offering something for all levels of snow sport enthusiasts. It also offers two terrain parks, one for advanced boarders and one for beginners. An all-day access pass for adults is currently $67.
Mount Baker offers the chance to ski a volcano. This large, prominent mountain is a stratovolcano located near the Canadian border and receives the highest average snowfall of any resort on earth. It set a new world record during the 1998-1999 snow season with an incredible 1,140 inches recorded at the ski area.
You’ll find 10 lifts and 1,000 acres of skiable terrain with night skiing available here as well. An all-day lift ticket for adults is currently $55. This destination is best for those who want to spend the majority of their vacation out on the slopes. A variety of lodging can be found right around the ski resort.
K.C. Dermody is a freelance writer and a Featured Contributor for Travel. She has traveled to nearly all 50 states and many countries worldwide and has a passion for imparting what she has learned from her experiences to others.
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