Here's a tip for some really quick access to skiing: Get yourself up to the Pass before 8:30 and head to the Silver Fir lift parking lot (east of the main Summit Central parking/base lodges). I consistently find a parking space in the front row just 20 or 30 feet from the lift. So it's not Crystal Mountain (or Alpental), but you're not slogging 20 minutes up to the base from the lower lots or waiting in the cold for the shuttle.
While I assumed the lifts opened at 8:30 a.m. like they do at Crystal, they actually don't officially open until 9:00. This past Saturday we parked right in front, bought our tickets at the warming hut, and got on our skis in front of the lift by 8:40. Nobody else was there (duh!). The friendly lifties let us scoot onto the lift anyway, and we had the slopes to ourselves for a couple runs. Whoo hoo!
After a few cruiser runs on the groomed corduroy off Silver Fir, we took the "Inter-Summit 90" crossover to Summit East. Personally I always enjoy this trail through beautiful evergreen forest.
Despite its slightly lower elevation, there are some fun little steeps and trees to ski through over at Hyak, especially since they moved the summit chairlift back over to the left side of the front hill and returned the lift to the backside last season. And it's generally less crowded because the ski school buses don't park there and it's the Nordic Center, where more mellow cross-country skiers abound and head off away from the downhill runs.
|A little skating at the beginning of the Inter-Summit 90 Crossover|
|Yes, that's a Christmas ornament in the tree!|
|Looking across I-90 from Hyak toward the Alpine Lakes Wilderness|
Even though the Summit at Snoqualmie is the ultimate local ski area and will never be a destination resort, it still always surprises me with the beauty of its majestic alpine backdrop. Any day in the mountains is a good day.
|Looking northwest towards Alpental|
|Moi having fun!|
And how about you? Have any tips to share about how or where you get in your skiing/riding fix when you're short on time? Thanks for your comments!
When You Go
Head east from the Seattle metropolitan area on Interstate 90 and you'll hit Snoqualmie Pass in about an hour if the roads are snow-free and you're not speeding. This season daytime lift tickets are $59.