Written by Alex Silgalis | Article originally published on Localfreshies.com
Ski road trips are the stuff of legends. Just you, the open road, and the flexibility to chase storms. Adventure in its purest form. Instead of hitting the mega-resorts on your next ski road trip, why not save a few bucks and pick up an Indy Pass. For only $219, you can access 46 resorts and experience the true soul of skiing and snowboarding. To help your imagination, we’ve put together a fun Washington ski trip finishing up in Idaho that you could do on an Indy Pass.
Arrival: Sea-Tac Airport to Port Angeles
125 miles – 2.5 hours
Arriving in Seattle around mid-day, grab your gear and pick up your car rental to start your Washington ski trip. Since this is a ski road trip, make sure you get an AWD or 4WD vehicle. Many of the mountain passes can get a little squirly and without the all-wheel drive, you could be forced to put on chains (a no-no on car rentals). If you fly in early, consider checking out the Pike’s Place Fish Market for lunch. While there’s a bunch of restaurants within it, our personal favorite is the Market Grill. Just a bar and couple of stools, it offers great fresh fish for a decent price (within a tourist corridor). We recommend getting the blackened fish sandwich with either salmon or Alaskan halibut. Delicious!
Getting To Hurricane Ridge
Just like any REAL adventure, getting there is half the fun. Hurricane Ridge is located on the other side of the Puget Sound in Olympic National Park. Fortunately, there are a few ways to get there:
Take a ferry from Seattle to Bainbridge
It’s about a 2.5 hr drive and 94 miles. You can look at ferry times here.
A straight drive through Tacoma
The journey is about 2.5 hours and 125 miles.
Take Ferry From Edmonds To Kingston
Another ferry option is to head north and take a ferry to Kingston.
It is a 2.5 drive and about 98 miles. You can look at ferry times here.
Once you’re on the other side, we recommend staying in Port Angeles.
Stop 1: Hurricane Ridge
Port Angeles To Hurricane Ridge – 20 miles – 45 minutes
While the large resorts in the Pacific Northwest can see thousands of visitors within a given day, due to its remoteness (via a ferry), only 4,000 people descend upon the slopes a SEASON! And with them receiving over 400 inches of snow annually, expect to find some fresh lines to ride. Depending on how exhausted you are after your day of riding at Hurricane Ridge, you can either drive on to Tacoma (120 miles – 2.5 hours) or pick a spot on the White Pass Scenic Byway (181 miles – 3.5 hours).
Learn more about Hurricane Ridge.
Stop 2: White Pass
Hurricane Ridge To White Pass – 235 miles – 5 hrs
Depending on where you picked to stay the night before, it can be an early wakeup call or leisurely drive to the slopes. As the name eludes, White Pass is yet another ski area that gets HAMMERED with snow. From the steep slopes of the Great White Express to the open glades in the Paradise Basin, this ski area will have you smiling from ear to ear. After you’ve gotten your fill of powder stashes, it’s off to Wenatchee – the next basecamp (2.5 hours – 163 miles).
Stop 3: Mission Ridge
White Pass To Mission Ridge – 175 miles – 3 hrs
Today’s your day to sleep in and catch up on your zzzz’s since you’re less than thirty minutes from the slopes. Although the Washington ski resorts in the Cascade Mountains are known for their high moisture snow, Mission Ridge is the exception. Located on the eastern side of the mountain range, expect Colorado-like conditions (dry snow & lots of sunshine). After a day of powder slashing, throw your gear into the car and head East across the Columbia basin to the town of Chewelah (3.75 hrs – 191 miles) at the foot of the Selkirk Mountains.
Stop 4: 49 North Mountain Resort
Mission Ridge To 49 North Mountain Resort – 201 miles – 4 hrs
Following the path of the same storms that hit the Cascades, 49 North Mountain Resort is blessed with over 300 inches of snow. At over 2,325 acres and an 1,851 vertical foot drop, it provides the largest lift accessed acreage in the state of Washington for powder hounds and groomer cats to satisfy everyone in your crew. After a celebratory pint at the Boomtown Lounge, it’s time to continue east for the newest ‘boom’ in Kellogg Idaho… snow (2 hours – 114 miles)!
Stop 5: To Silver Mountain
49 North Mountain Resort To Silver Mountain – 114 miles – 2.5 hrs
A Local Freshies® favorite, Silver Mountain provides access to some intense fall-line skiing alongside a variety of terrain within its 73 trails that every skill level can enjoy. Top that with taking North America’s longest gondola and the cool town of Wallace just down the road filled with a vast assortment of world-class cuisine and unique culture, and you got yourself a perfect spot to visit for easily more than just a day.
Departure: Fly Out of Spokane Airport
Silver Mountain To Spokane – 75 miles – 1.5 hrs
The final day of your Washington ski adventure takes you back to Spokane. With nonstop service to 19 destinations, it’s a piece of cake to get home. Since it’s only an hour drive from Kellogg, you’ll have time to explore the cities many breweries and restaurants. And if for some reason you haven’t skied enough, you can take a few turns at Lookout Pass or Mt. Spokane (note: they aren’t on the Indy Pass).
Why The Indy Pass Is The Way To Go
Although the Ikon & Epic resorts provide flexibility, everyone on the planet is going to have the same idea as you. If there’s a ton of snow even mid-week, expect long lift lines and the ski resorts overall to be tracked within an hour. Instead, do something different this winter. Embark on an Indy Pass Ski Road Trip & experience ski areas that are unique and different than the run of the mill mega-resorts.