2005 | Secrets of Stevens

November 6, 2005 

Thick snow draws skiers and snowboarders from all over the region to Stevens Pass. The ski area averages 450 inches of snow each year and offers three base lodges to visitors. News Tribune staff ranked Stevens' night skiing as the best.

WES POPE/STEVENS PASS FILE

The pros voted Stevens Pass the best base lodge in the state.

What’s so special about it?

Stevens boasts three base lodges: Pacific Crest, Granite Peaks and Tye Creek. Between the three, you can find wireless Internet access, a bar with table service, a small market, several stores, a rental area, Stairtower Espresso, a pizzeria, Scoops Ice Cream, a deli and three other restaurants. “My guess is people like the Cascade architecture, the wood interior and the variety of food,” said general manager John Gifford. “The lodges are very welcoming.”

Stevens’ ample backcountry is often overshadowed by other resorts, but it’s some of the best in the state. What are some of the highlights?

University of Puget Sound graduate Chris Rudolph loves to explore the backcountry when he’s not on the clock as Stevens’ marketing director. “There is some great terrain out there,” Rudolph said. “You can even ski down to the mouth of an old train tunnel.”

Skyline Ridge, across U.S. Highway 2 from the resort, is popular, as is the now-defunct Yodelin ski area a bit farther east. You’ll find plenty of bowls and chutes, but no crowds.

Readers and pros gave the Brooks Lift more votes for the state’s best lift than any other Stevens lift. How surprising is that?

“You’re kidding,” Gifford said with a chuckle. “I would have picked Southern Cross for the view and variety of terrain.”

Brooks is an ancient, slow lift with baby-blue chairs and center poles that will smack you in the shoulder if you aren’t paying attention while loading. So how come it’s so popular? Simple. It accesses one of the state’s most popular terrain parks, so freestylers gladly endure the slow ride.

Stevens is known for its terrain park and some good, steep runs. What would people be surprised to know about the resort?

“A couple things,” Gifford said. “We are a great place to learn to ski … and we have great night skiing. We are not looked at as a learning mountain, but we do that too.” Stevens also has 600 acres of night skiing five nights a week. “And we have wonderful, challenging runs open at night,” Gifford said, “not just the easy runs.”

Stevens Pass also has a popular Nordic Center. What makes the resort better than some of the other terrain in the area?

Grooming is the big thing, Gifford said. You can find 30 kilometers of groomed trails open for cross-country, skating and snowshoeing. “We are dedicated to laying the best track possible,” Gifford said.

WHAT’S NEW

Summer grooming means runs will be able to open with less snow this year. Two new 100-foot beginner conveyor lifts have been added to the Beacon Hill section of Daisy. More jibs have been added to the terrain park.

WHAT’S STILL NEW

Last season, Stevens Pass installed wireless Internet access in the base area. The Daisy Lift unloading ramp was regraded to be less-intimidating for beginners. And the high flyers got an in-ground super-pipe with 15-foot walls.

SURVEY SAYS

 • Best Base Lodge: Pros and TNT

 • Best Night Skiing: TNT

 • Worst parking: TNT

BOARDING TEMPLE

Seattle-based Sound Strait Productions spends the winters filming snowboarding movies around the Northwest. The company’s most recent release, “The Temple 2,” is packed with footage from Stevens Pass. You can watch footage at soundstrait.com.

STEVENS PASS SKI AREA

Lift tickets: $49.86 general, $33.60 seniors (62-69), $33.44 youths (7-12), $8.67 seniors (70 and older), $5.42 children

Season pass: $729 general, $279 college pass

Night skiing: $30.35 general, $28.18 seniors (62-69), $24.93 youths (7-12), $8.67 seniors (70 and older), $5.42 children; six lifts

Hours: 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Terrain: 1,125 acres serviced by lifts, including a 25-acre terrain park with a super pipe

Lifts: 10 (two high-speed quads, one quad, four triples, three doubles)

Trails: 37 (11 percent beginner, 54 percent intermediate, 35 percent advanced)

Summit elevation: 5,845 feet

Base elevation: 4,061 feet

Vertical drop: 1,784 feet

Annual snowfall: 450 inches

Cross-country: 28 kilometers

More info: 206-812-4510; snow line, 206-634-1645; stevenspass.com

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