In the state of Washington, a trio of ski and snowboard mountains flip the toggle from winter to summer to entice city dwellers and vacationers to head into the Cascades.
Stevens Pass is a two-hour drive from Seattle, pending summer construction delays. Regular bus service runs during the summer, an inexpensive way to avoid traffic on busy U.S. 2.
Owned by Vail Resorts, a Stevens Pass' summer focuses on the mountain bike park. Winding around and down the lower front portion of the mountain, the downhill trail map features two categories: freeride and technical.
The man-made jumps and ramps and berms in the freeride network take riders down two green runs, one blue and one black diamond. The more difficult natural-terrain technical runs rate one short green, three top-to-bottom blues and one black diamond and one double-black.
All runs can be reached via the Hogback chairlift, which is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursdays to Sundays. Other things to do include scenic chairlift rides, disc golf and guided tours.
A two-hour drive from Seattle, summer at Crystal Mountain takes its cues from its location across from Mt. Ranier -- deep in the Cascade Range. There's hardly a spot on the mountain where the 14,417-foot stratovolcano cannot be seen.
Thus, summer activities at Crystal emphasize getting up and on the mountain. The state's only gondola tops out at 7,000 feet in elevation, where visitor can go on self-guided interpretive walks or spin a Frisbee on the summit disc golf course up there. Other ways to enjoy the scenery and cool mountain air can be had with horseback riding and hiking tours.
The gondola runs seven days a week through Labor Day, then Fridays through Sundays until Sept. 25.
The northernmost ski and snowboard mountain in the West, 49 Degrees North is tucked up in the Colville National Forest near both the Idaho and Canadian borders.
This back-country, hardy setting lends itself to summer hiking and no-lift mountain biking. Take one of several service roads up into the three high-mountain basins. Or top out at 5,774-foot-high Chewelah Peak. From there, nearly 2,000 vertical feet await, and it's hiker's and biker's choice as to the ways down. And don't forget to pull over for pick-and-eat huckleberries that grow all over the mountain.
How would you like to ski, and ride over 20 of the Midwest's top ski areas this winter, every day of the season for just $525?
With the arrival of April comes soft turns, pond skimming, goggle tans, and sometimes some magical April snow. In this week’s SnoCast, we’ll check out conditions across North America so you know where to bring sunscreen, where you’ll still need layers, and where fresh snow is still expected.
Used to be that the first week of April was the traditional time to hang up the skis, store away the boots, and dust off the summer recreation equipment. Not so much nowadays.
Ikon Pass holders should head to Seattle and cash in two very different ski and snowboard mountains in the Cascades -- each catching tons of snow out of northern Pacific storms.
Winter has returned across the upper Midwest and several resorts have plans to celebrate the season. A welcome return in lieu of last year's subdued celebrations.
A trio of ski and snowboard resorts of the Pacific Northwest take the Ikon Pass, and each offers something different for those venturing into the Cascades.
No less than nine Heartland ski areas are celebrating significant milestones this year. All have been in business at least 60 years and one started 85 years ago, according to the National Ski Areas Association.
After a winter with mask mandates, restrictions of people on lifts, and having to reserve your place on the slopes ahead of time, northern Michigan ski resorts expect this season to be a more normal experience. Last season COVID interrupted the normal patterns and habits of snowsports enthusiasts at all northern Michigan ski resorts.
Following the challenging winter of 2020-2021 when ski areas implemented measures to combat the Covid-19 pandemic - including limited seating capacity on chairlifts - this season's outdoor operations will look much like they did prior to the pandemic. Ski areas plan to return to full chair lift capacity for 2021-2022.
One of the best ways to enjoy breathtaking fall views that abound across the upper Midwest is a slow chairlift ride to the top of the ski hill. Here are some of the best around the upper Midwest.
The vast majority of U.S. ski and snowboard resorts have shuttered operations for the season -- many of them extending past announced closing dates -- but a hearty dozen will spin their lifts deep into the spring.
Several Heartland ski areas allow mountain biking on their summer slopes, but if you’re looking for lift-served, you will only find five.
Golf Pass, part of NBC Sports, recently released its list of the top 25 best U.S. golf and ski resorts, and the Midwest is well represented with four resorts making the list. Two were among the top four.
Now that spring has hit the West, the place to go this season is the Pacific Northwest with its nation-leading snowpack on the slopes of the high-elevation dormant volcanoes.
Many ski areas across the lower Midwest have already closed for the season, but three ski resorts in northwest lower Michigan are planning on staying open through the first weekend of April and celebrating Easter on the slopes. With the longer days and warmer temperatures, spring offers some of the best slope times of the season.
Crystal Mountain Resort debuted the Wolverine State's first snowboard pump track this past month, and it may well be the first in the Heartland. It's a trend that first started out west in Utah and Colorado where a few pump tracks have appeared. In the Midwest it's been a popular concept in mountain biking and skateboarding, but not snowsports.
With spring break coming over the next few weeks SnoCountry, in a couple of different articles, will take a look at some Great Lakes ski resorts honoring the Indy Pass that are grouped together for reasonable driving distances.
Glade skiing, popular out west and in the east, doesn’t take a backseat in the Heartland. Ski areas located across the upper tier of the Midwest offer tree skiing and even a few cliff jumps.
So much to cover in this week’s SnoCast as we dig out from feet of snow in the west, and eye new snow in the Midwest and Northeast—everyone gets something to finish off January.