2015 NW Resort Report: What's New in the Mountains?

November 4, 2015

Compiled by Kris Parfitt

Photo at right: Taking it all in from the top of Baldy Mountain. Photo by Tal Roberts. Photo courtesy of Sun Valley Resort

There will be snow! We guarantee that, but where? Many Northwest snow resorts have upgraded amenities, lodges and terrain. So grab your snow gear, friends and this guide, and find the best mountains to play on this winter.

Washington

www.skiwashington.com

A young skier learns the ropes. Photo courtesy of Loup Loup Ski Area

49 Degrees North

At 5,770 feet, Chewelah Peak is an eastern Washington tradition. The resort, 49 Degrees North, has widened its teaching area and built better facilities overall. www.ski49n.com

Crystal Mountain

Boasting 11 lifts, 2,600 acres, six peaks, and more than 50 designated trails, Crystal Mountain is Washington state’s largest and highest elevation ski resort. It’s also the only resort in the state that offers an eight-passenger gondola with the highest lift-accessed terrain — 6,872 feet — with more than 3,100 feet of vertical downhill. A great adventure destination for every level of snow enthusiast. www.crystalmountainresort.com

Loup Loup Ski Bowl

Located in Okanogan County, this ski park features 10 Alpine runs and 550 acres of skiable terrain serviced by three lifts. Beyond a new groomer and an added feature to its terrain park, Loup Loup Ski Education Foundation will again provide free lift passes, lessons and snow sports equipment to school-age children of the families who lost their homes to the fires, floods and landslides in Okanogan, Methow and Chelan valleys last summer. www.skitheloup.com

Methow Valley

The Methow Valley has over 120 miles of dog-friendly, cross country tracks and selected trails for fat bikes and snowshoes. Located in northeastern Washington, the Methow is hard to beat for skiing, scenery and uncrowded conditions. www.methowtrails.org

Mission Ridge

Mission Ridge has more than 36 designated runs spread over 2,000 spectacular acres of trails, chutes, screamers and bowls, with a 2,250 foot vertical drop. The resort is also one of the few in the Northwest that makes its own snow. www.missionridge.com

Mt. Baker Ski Area

While only 10 miles from Canada, Mt. Baker Ski Area is in the U.S. and traditionally enjoys record-breaking snowfall, averaging 50 feet or more each year. Internationally known for accessible backcountry skiing from the ski area’s chairlifts, Mt. Baker is a popular snow athlete’s playground. www.mtbaker.us

Mt. Spokane

Thanks to the Washington State legislative delegation and state’s Capitol Budget Committee grant, this non-profit snow park has repaired and updated two lodges, guest services building and the design of future improvements to its Nordic area. www.mtspokane.com

Stevens Pass

With a new high-speed quad to access over 1,120 acres of skiable terrain, Stevens Pass has 37 major runs, and numerous bowls and glades for both day and night skiing. Located on the crest of the Cascade Mountain range, Stevens Pass averages 460 inches of snowfall each year. www.stevenspass.com

Summit at Snoqualmie

Seattle’s closest snow resort (60 miles away) boasts 523 acres of backcountry terrain with 541 acres lit for night skiing and riding with a combination of 1,994 skiable acres over four mountains. The four, Alpental, Summit Central, West and East, offer terrain that accommodates Alpine and Nordic skiing, snowshoeing and tubing activities. www.summitatsnoqualmie.com

White Pass Ski Area

Along with terrain that suits all snow disciplines (alpine and Nordic skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing), White Pass offers slope-side lodging, gear rentals and night skiing — with majestic views of Mount Rainier on bluebird days. www.skiwhitepass.com

More Washington Ski Areas/Resources

Bluewood: www.bluewood.com
Cascade Powder Cats: www.cascadepowdercats.com
Echo Ridge: www.lakechelannordic.org
Hurricane Ridge: www.hurricaneridge.net
Leavenworth Winter Sports Club: www.skileavenworth.com
North Cascade Heli Skiing: www.heli-ski.com
Sitzmark: www.skisitzmark.org

Mt. Bachelor loves big groups. Photo courtesy of Mt. Bachelor Ski Resort

Oregon

www.skioregon.org

Anthony Lakes Mountain Resort

With a base elevation of 7,100 feet in Eastern Oregon’s Blue Mountains, Anthony Lakes is renowned for its powder days, averaging 300 inches a year. With over 30km of groomed trails Anthony Lakes is known for world-class Nordic trails. Après-ski? Tuck into the cozy Starbottle Saloon for locally brewed ale and the Nordic Lodge for locally roasted coffee. www.anthonylakes.com

Mt. Ashland Ski Area

Spring, summer and fall in Ashland may belong to Shakespeare Theatre, but Mt. Ashland owns the winter season! A family favorite since 1964, the mountain offers five lifts over 220 skiable areas. A non-profit ski area owned and operated by the Mt. Ashland Association, it has added a mobile-friendly website this year. www.mtashland.com

Mt. Bachelor

Famous for dry snow and an average annual snowfall of 450 inches, Mt. Bachelor Ski Resort offers 3,683 lift accessible acres, three terrain parks and over 35 miles of groomed cross country tracks — located just across the parking lot from the downhill mountain. Down the road from this Central Oregon resort is Bend, offering plentiful lodging and dining for all budgets. www.mtbachelor.com

Mt. Hood Meadows

Mt. Hood Meadows is guaranteeing unlimited season pass holders at least 100 days this season. With improved snow harvesting capabilities and more brush cleared from the ski runs, the resort is ready for an early opening and quality snow coverage regardless of how much natural snow falls. Also new this year is an aerial drone service which offers video footage for purchase of guests skiing down featured runs. Additional recreation includes snowshoeing, fat bike trails and spring backcountry events. www.skihood.com

Mt. Hood Ski Bowl

Now equipped with a total of nine snowmaking guns, Ski Bowl’s slopes and snow tube-park are guaranteed to have an early opening and long winter. There is a new conveyor lift in the parking lot that replaced the rope tow up to the Olympic Ski School area. There’s a new 70-acre snowmobile rental area and Collins Lake Resort offers a free “porch to powder” shuttle for guests. Cosmic Tubing© will return with steeper runs available based on conditions. www.skibowl.com

More Oregon Snow Areas/Resources

Hoo Doo: www.skihoodoo.com
Timberline: www.timberlinelodge.com
Cat Ski Mt. Bailey: www.catskimtbailey.com
Cooper Spur Mountain Resort: www.cooperspur.com
Spout Springs: www.spoutspringsskiarea.com
Warner Canyon: www.warnercanyon.org
Willamette Pass: www.willamettepass.com

Boarders celebrate from the top of Summit Loop high above Payette Lake. Photo courtesy of Brundage Mountain Resort

Idaho

www.skiidaho.us

Brundage Mountain Resort

New this year, Brundage will offer free lift tickets all season on its beginner chairlift to encourage people new to skiing to try out the sport. A new natural half-pipe experience in the Big Easy Terrain Garden, combined with a regrade on the lower part of the run, doubled the size of the Easy Street terrain. One hundred new parking spaces in the lower parking lot and a 5,000 square foot expansion to the entrance of the lodge, will offer visitors to Brundage more room to enjoy the great snow adventures here. www.brundage.com

Lookout Pass

You can ski in both Montana and Idaho at Lookout Pass. With three north- and northeast-facing slopes located in the Northern Rocky Mountains at the crest of the Bitterroot Range, skiers are always promised light, dry powder. OnTheSnow.com named Lookout Pass the best family-friendly mountain in the Northwest; it offers $42 weekend lift tickets with discounts for juniors, teens and college students with kids under 6 skiing free. www.skilookout.com

Schweitzer Mountain Resort

New this year, snow enthusiasts age 80 and older are eligible for free lift tickets. The resort, located just outside the town of Sandpoint, has also replaced its entire fleet of adult Alpine rental equipment with brand new Rossignol Experience skis. www.schweitzer.com

Silver Mountain Resort

New rental gear and extensive terrain enhancement will provide more and easier access after the first snow fall at this north Idaho resort located along Interstate 90. With snowmaking capabilities and over 300 inches of snow annually, it’s hard to resist the fun on its two mountains which offer 73 trails, and 1,600 acres of terrain. www.silvermt.com

Sun Valley Resort

Celebrating 80 years in 2016, the resort remodeled the iconic Sun Valley Lodge by expanding guest rooms and adding a 20,000 square foot spa and wellness facility. The resort also added over 50 new gladed acres to its existing 2,000 skiable acres. www.sunvalley.com

More Idaho Snow Resorts

Lost Trail Powder Mountain: www.losttrail.com
Galena Lodge: www.galenalodge.com
Bogus Basin: www.bogusbasin.org
Grand Targhee: www.grandtarghee.com
Kelly Canyon: www.skikelly.com
Pebble Creek: www.pebblecreekskiarea.com
Pomerelle Mountain Resort: www.pomerelle-mtn.com

Montana

www.visitmt.com

Big Sky Resort

With five new terrain parks, a new family-friendly adventure area and two new intermediate ski runs on over 5,800 skiable acres, Big Sky just may boost its 3,000 skiers per day average this year. Consistent snowfall of 400 inches a year makes for a variety of terrain between four mountains served by 34 lifts with over 300 runs. www.bigskyresort.com

Whitefish Mountain Resort

Whitefish Mountain Resort is often ranked in the top 10 for service and value. Rising above the town of Whitefish in beautiful northwest Montana, the resort is only 35 miles from Glacier National Park. Whitefish’s Big Mountain is the quintessential skier’s mountain averaging more than 300 inches of snow annually on 3,000 acres of bowls, chutes, and glades. www.skiwhitefish.com

More Montana Ski Areas

Montana Snowbowl: www.montanasnowbowl.com
Moonlight Basin: www.moonlightbasin.com
Blacktail Mountain: www.blacktailmountain.com
Discovery Ski Area: www.skidiscovery.com
Great Divide: www.skigd.com
Lost Trail: www.losttrail.com
Maverick Mountain: www.skimaverick.com
Red Lodge: www.redlodgemountain.com
Showdown Mountain: www.showdownmontana.com
Teton Pass: www.tetonpassresort.com
Turner Mountain: www.skiturner.com

Alaska

www.travelalaska.com

Alyeska Ski Resort

Alyeska Ski Resort, located 40 miles from Anchorage, has added two new specific terrain parks and widened and regraded the Spoon Line Traverse, providing a more direct exit to the North Face area of the mountain. www.alyeskaresort.com

First Tracks at Fernie Alpine Resort. Photo by Henry Georgi. Courtesy of Resorts of the Canadian Rockies

British Columbia

www.skiittobelieveit.com

Big White

With a spacious new lodge, a high-capacity tube lift, horse-drawn sleigh dining tours and updated Nordic sports terrain, Big White is a BIG experience. Join their new mascot, Lucy Moose, on over 7,350 acres of terrain and 118 trails serviced by 15 lifts. www.bigwhite.com

Fernie Alpine Resort

New this season is the Polar Peak Lift, new fat bikes to rent and ride, and free cross country ski trails. Fernie delivers over 2,500 acres of skiable terrain, 142 named runs, five alpine bowls, state of the art snowmaking and an exceptional beginner’s area. www.skifernie.com

Kicking Horse Mountain Resort

The experience at Kicking Horse has only become better this year. With easier access to a variety of runs, additional groomers and new trail signs to clearly mark the way, Kicking Horse is only as tame as you want it to be. www.kickinghorseresort.com

Kimberley Alpine Resort

The new Kids Wings Program provides new top of the line snow equipment every year for only $149 per child! The ever-popular Kids’ Trail was doubled in length providing hours of fun surprises and interesting characters hidden in the trees. Kimberley offers alpine, Nordic, snowboarding, snowshoeing, ice skating, night skiing, races and live music — a perfect winter getaway for everyone. www.skikimberley.com

Red Mountain Resort

The first stop along British Columbia’s famed “Powder Highway,” Red Mountain Resort delivers 4,200 acres with some of the best gladed tree runs in North America. Choose from 110 runs spread across three stellar mountains serviced by seven total lifts. www.redresort.com

A snowboarder carves turns in fresh powder. Photo courtesy of Silver Star Mountain Resort

Silver Star Mountain Resort

Silver Star offers 105 acres of new terrain and newly paved roads between neighboring Silver Star and Vernon. With four distinct mountain faces, 130 runs, and 60 miles of groomed Nordic track, the terrain is perfect for all abilities. Its My1Pass has all-inclusive mountain activities — including fat tire biking! www.skisilverstar.com

Sun Peaks

Sun Peaks, the second largest ski resort in Canada, offers 4,270 acres terrain over three mountains. Diverse activities keep everyone entertained from long ski runs, steep bowls, dog sled tours, snowmobile tours, Nordic activities, ice skating and a tube park. The Village offers a variety of great food and affordable accommodations. www.sunpeaksresort.com

Whistler Blackcomb

Celebrating 50 years, the resort presents a newly renovated lodge, restaurant and rental center. This complements these two side-by-side mountains that combine over 200 runs, 8,170 acres of terrain and 16 alpine bowls. whistlerblackcomb.com

Whitewater Ski Resort

With an average snow fall of 450 inches and 2,044 feet of vertical drop, Whitewater offers some of Canada’s best groomed runs, open bowls, glades, chutes and Nordic skiing. Whitewater has a well-deserved reputation for epic powder and a great customer experience. www.skiwhitewater.com

B.C. Nordic

Cross-Country Skiing: www.skiittobelieveit.com/Winter-Activities/Cross-Country-Skiing

Did you enjoy this article? Subscribe to our Enewsletter