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Inside Line: Stevens Pass, WA

Seattle can be sloppy, wet, and cold. But drive 78 miles northeast and sloppy transforms into steep, deep, and dry at Stevens Pass, a ripper’s reprieve from fast-paced Emerald City life. There you’ll find a stable maritime snowpack, limitless backcountry access, and a massive park.
posted: 06/09/2011

Inside Line: Stevens Pass

Powder Day: Wing It Trees, in the resort’s south-side Mill Valley, was gladed in 2007 and offers 1,700 vertical feet of high-speed open trees. Or drop into the north-facing Big Chief Bowl off the Double Diamond chair for tight lines at the top and GS turns in the bowl.

Three Days Later: Get back to Cowboy Mountain. It’s a quick hike to access terrain that hoards the soft stuff well after a storm. Some out-of-bounds terrain is unpatrolled, so bring your beacon, shovel, and probe.

Park and Pipe: The Top Phlight Terrain Park is so big, you have to go through the Top Phlight Safety School before you can huck yourself over gaps (last season’s included a 90-footer), slide a farm of rails, or chuck yourself in the pipe. See ridestevenspass.com for more info.

Backcountry access: This may be the reason you come to Stevens Pass. Three wilderness areas collide directly across the highway from the resort. All are at the mercy of your skin track. Start hoofing in the enormous parking lot on Highway 2’s north side. Skin past employee housing up to Skyline Ridge to shred steep, north-facing powder shots and cliff bands. Or continue touring into Henry M. Jackson Wilderness Area. Check avy conditions at nwac.us.

Weather: Pacific Northwest storms come in wet and go out dry. Some of the best skiing happens during the storm—so invest in some clear or yellow goggle lenses.

Après: The Bull’s Tooth in the Granite Peaks Lodge serves up Washington microbrews at a pine bar. The chandelier overhead, made of 75- and 105-millimeter avalanche howitzer shells, keeps it real.

Fuel: The Taco Stop in the Pacific Crest Lodge dishes out cheap and tasty custom wraps and homemade enchiladas.

Up All Night: The Tye Creek Lodge’s Foggy Goggle features bands every Friday evening to go with the night skiing the mountain offers till 10 p.m. Or check out the Bavarian-themed scene in Leavenworth, 30 minutes to the east.

Digs: Room up with buddies at Leavenworth’s Icicle Inn, which has a pool, a hot tub, and free high-speed internet (from $130; icicleinn.com). You can get your swank on next door at JJ Hills Restaurant and Wine Bar. 

Elevation: 5,845 feet

Vertical Drop: 1,800 feet

Snowfall: 450 inches

Acres: 1,125

Info: stevenspass.com

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