200 5 | Something for everyone

November 6, 2005 

Skiers and snowboarders love the summit at Snoqualmie for its freestyle terrain and the variety of runs it offers for all skill levels. The summit is also popular because of its lessons and night skiing.


The Summit at Snoqualmie has the reputation of having the best freestyle terrain in the state.

Would that have been the case three years ago?

“No way, not a chance,” says Krush Kulesza, the Summit’s youth marketing director. “We’ve put a lot of work and money into the terrain parks.” This year alone, the park is getting 50 new jibs. Last year, the Summit got a Zaugg Pipe Monster to groom the super pipe. The upgrades allowed the Summit to open the pipe last year while the rest of the resort was closed. “We are continuously trying to improve,” Kulesza said. “I think that’s why we have one of the best terrain parks in the nation.”

Who uses the Summit?

The average age of the skiers and boarders is 31, marketing director Guy Lawrence says. “Most resorts are in the late 30s and maybe even early 40s,” he says. Lawrence and Kulesza say they will continue to target the young demographic by dedicating more and more acreage to freestyle terrain. “But we still have more skiers than snowboarders,” Lawrence said. “I think that’s because we offer something for everybody.”

Readers and pros agreed that the Summit is the best place in the state to get gear stolen. What is the resort doing about this?

The Summit added more security cameras in October. Lawrence says snowboard thefts outnumber ski thefts 3 to 1, and he suspects thieves aren’t fellow boarders and skiers. “It’s easy access to the I-90 so, unfortunately, people come in just to steal gear,” Lawrence says. “We encourage people to spend the $2 to check their equipment, but you can’t force people to look after their gear.”

Readers and pros also agreed the Summit has the best night skiing. How do you make night skiing such a priority?

The Summit has more than 600 acres – including the terrain park – lit for night skiing at three of its four areas. On Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, Summit West is closed in the day and groomed just before opening at 4 p.m. “Most places would be skied off by the time you get off work,” Lawrence says. “But here you can ski freshly groomed snow.”

Why do readers and pros agree the Summit is the place to learn to ski in Washington?

The Summit has more than 500 part-time instructors as well as several private classes. The old, miserable rope tows have been replaced with conveyor-belt lifts that make getting up the hill easier for children. Plus, Summit West is loaded with mild terrain. “And it’s more convenient to get here than any place else,” Lawrence says.


The walking bridge at Alpental was replaced after falling two years ago. And about 50 new jibs have been added to the terrain parks.


Last year, the Summit added two Bombardier groomers, in addition to the Pipe Monster that grooms the super pipe with its 18-foot walls. New Magic Carpet beginner lifts were added at Summit West and Central.


 • Best Run: Pros (Upper International)

 • Toughest Run: Readers (Upper International)

 • Best Lessons: Unanimous

 • Best Roads: Unanimous

 • Best Medical Clinic: Readers (tie) and TNT

 • Best Terrain Park: Unanimous

 • Best Place to Get Gear Stolen: Unanimous

 • Best Night Skiing: Pros, readers

 • Worst Parking: Pros


Lift tickets: $47.87 general, $30.46 youths (7-12) and seniors (62-69), $8.70 ages 6 and younger and ages 70 and older

Season pass: $369 general, $219 youths (7-12) and seniors (62-69), $269 teens (13-18), $269 college students, $59 ages 6 and younger and 70 and older

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

Terrain: 1,916 acres serviced by lifts; one superpipe, two terrain parks and two beginner parks

Lifts: 26 (two high-speed quads, two fixed quads, four triples, 11 doubles, three rope tows, two carpets, two handle tows)

Night skiing: 4:30-10 p.m.; $31.55 general, $26.11 youths (7-12) and seniors (62-69), $8.70 children (6 and younger) and seniors (70 and older); 15 lifts

Trails: 65 runs (14 percent beginner, 45 percent intermediate, 41 percent advanced)

Summit elevation: 5,450 feet at Alpental, 3,765 feet at Summit West

Base elevation: 3,140 feet at Alpental, 3,000 feet at Summit West

Vertical drop: 2,310 feet at Alpental, 765 feet at Summit West

Annual snowfall: 444 inches

Cross-country: 50 kilometers accessed via the Summit East’s Keechelus or the Summit Central’s Silver Fir chair

More info: 425-434-7669; snow line, 206-236-1600; summitatsnoqualmie.com

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