Indy Pass Three-Pack In Washington Offer Full Spring Plate
With two days on this season's Indy Pass or a Spring Pass, skiers and riders can cop some final spring skiing days at the big, the small and the in-between of the Evergreen State.
Indy Pass holders can take a late-season run to three Washington state mountains that have a surprising selection of challenging terrain, a history of spring storm dumps and a down-home vibe throughout.
The largest on the Indy menu is Mission Ridge, perched on the eastern front of the Cascades equidistant between Seattle and Spokane. No base housing, but a few vacation rentals rent within a couple of miles, with franchises and more a half-hour away in Wenatchee along the Columbia River.
The 2,100-acre mountain typically keeps most of its 2,200 vertical feet open all April weekends. The bulk of the trail maps is green and blue, and regulars boast of short lift lines. The first high-speed (Lift 2) came on in 2020 to get more advanced skiers and riders up to an open book of short but sweet expert plunges and bowl blues off the 6,700-foot high ridge. Below them is a plethora of wide blues, especially off Kwan fixed-grip double, and the vast pick-your-line in Otto's Outback.
The beginner-teaching area and terrain park get their own double chair out of the equally modest base lodge. For the most part, remote location keeps crowds down.
Next on this Indy road trip is White Pass, three hours south of Seattle near Mount Ranier. Despite its compact size (635 acres), it has six lifts -- two high-speed -- that serve two distinct zones. The lower mountain gets four chairs with terrain from gentle greens to cruiser blues to plenty of steeps. A lower area-only ticket sells at a discount.
Primarily off the Couloir Express quad, the upper mountain opens up onto a gladed intermediate smorgasbord, with the off-piste blacks off the West Ridge. Experts like that a steep headwall delineates the easy from hard on the trail map.
As with last season, White Pass will put a cap on season passes (not Indy Pass) with online-only daily sales to keep crowds in check.
The final stop is Hurricane Ridge, an upside-down throwback within Olympic National Park with surprising steeps and an average of 400 inches of annual snowfall. It's the westernmost ski lifts in the continental U.S. and, as it name suggests, often gets high winds, unpredictable weather access road closures.
Everyone pays a national park entrance fee on the way in. Much of Hurricane's 200 acres and 600 vertical drop is served primarily by a 1970-circa poma, supplemented by two rope tows in the beginner area. Ski school is renowned for teaching beginners with special programs for the youngest ones.
About 60% of the hill is rated black; the experts-only Poma Bowl pitches away from the base. Not much for grooming, frills or comforts: Nearest lodging a half-hour away in Port Angeles.