If the Mayan calendar is right and the world ends Dec. 21, this will be your last ski season.
That, of course, means youre running out of time to check things off your skiing bucket list.
Skiing and snowboarding bucket lists are deeply personal things. Maybe your goal is vacationing in the Alps, spending a summer skiing in Chile or just bagging your first diamond run. But if you live in the Northwest, there are some things you really ought to have on your list. Some will challenge you physically, others might be scary and some are just pure fun.
Weve amassed 99 items for you to consider for your list. Plenty to keep you busy all season, even if the lifts are still running on Dec. 22.
1. Ride the gondola at Crystal Mountain, either as an express trip to Green Valley and the Northway lift or as a scenic trip to the Summit House, Washingtons highest restaurant.
2. Surf and ski on the same day at Silver Mountain and its indoor water park in Kellogg, Idaho.
3. Spend a day cruising the blues and soaking in views of Mount Rainier in White Pass Paradise Basin.
4. Rent a snowbike and try to make your way from top to bottom at Central Oregons Hoodoo Ski Area.
5. Rub the B-24 Liberator bomber wing on display at Mission Ridge near Wenatchee. The bomber crashed there in 1944. Locals say rubbing the wing brings a good snow year.
6. Take a zipline tour at a Northwest mega resort , such as British Columbias Whistler Blackcomb or Montanas Whitefish Mountain Resort.
7. Find out just how strong your legs are by attempting a non-stop run on Whistlers Peak to Creek run. The run drops almost a vertical mile. Cant make it? Dont worry. Benches are positioned along the trail for breaks.
8. Fling your unmentionables into a bra tree, a tradition that seems more popular at Idaho ski areas like Brundage and Schweitzer.
9. Go tubing with the kids under the strobe and laser lights at Mount Hood Ski Bowl in Government Camp.
10. Muster up the courage to take on a few of the obstacles in the Summit at Snoqualmies Central Park, Washingtons largest terrain park.
11. Lug your gear above Paradise to ski the terrain that was used for the trials for the 1936 Olympic team.
12. Belly up to the midweek waffle bar at White Pass mid-mountain lodge. Weve got healthy toppings and toppings that are bad for you, resort marketing director Kathleen Goyette said.
13. Test your skills at Apex Mountain near Penticton, B.C., where more than half of the runs are classified as advanced or expert. Dont leave without trying Make My Day, a dirty, hairy double-diamond run.
14. Give your kids a head start on the season with indoor lessons at Bellevues Mini Mountain. Lessons are 20 minutes, $45, include gear and take place on whats essentially a downhill skiing treadmill.
15. Grab three friends and enter 49 Degrees Norths annual Bavarian Race. Winner is the team to put away a pitcher of beer, make a run down Silver Ridge and then finish a second pitcher.
16. Try to qualify for Mount Bakers Feb. 8-10 Legendary Banked Slalom snowboarding race.
17. Ski under the lights at Snoqualmie Pass and Stevens Pass.
18. Visit Tamarack Resort near McCall, Idaho, to ski Bliss, one of the Northwests best cruisers.
19. Watch this: bit.ly/sqWliP
20. Land a spot on Cash Quad, White Pass version of Cash Cab. Participants answer skiing trivia questions for prizes while riding the Great White Express. Get too many wrong and the lift stops and youre lowered to the slopes to ski off in shame.
21. Stop putting off those plans to go heli-skiing.
22. Take flight at the Leavenworth Ski Hill, home of Washingtons only Nordic ski jump.
23. Road trip.
24. Take advantage of being 73 or older and ski for free at White Pass, the last ski area in Washingtons Cascades offering free senior skiing.
25. Shed a few layers and enter the Bikini and Board Shorts Downhill April 13 at Crystal Mountain.
26. Take the short hike from the top of the Summit Express lift to ski or snowboard off the top of 9,065-foot Mount Bachelor near Bend, Ore. Bonus points for skiing the backside.
27. Link Rollercoaster and Little Dipper at Panorama for a 3,000-foot run, one of British Columbias top cruisers.
28. Take a lesson.
29. Challenge yourself with some of the regions best tree skiing at Whitewater Resort near Nelson, B.C.
30. Make the 4,540-vertical-foot run from the top of Mount Hoods Palmer Snowfield through the Timberline Lodge ski area, National Forest trails to Government Camps Summit Ski Area.
31. Ski with a celebrity at Idahos Sun Valley Resort.
32. See if you can ski 24 hours in a row at Hope on the Slopes at White Pass on March 16-17. The event raises money for the American Cancer Society.
33. Ride one of the glass-bottom Peak-to-Peak Gondolas that run 1.9 miles between Whistler and Blackcomb mountains and 1,400 feet off the ground.
34. Try to win prizes by skiing all of Big Whites blue runs in a weekend during Cruz the Blues. This seasons event weekends are Dec. 27-28, Jan. 12-13, Feb. 16-17 and March 16-17.
35. Ski Seventh Heaven and Mill Valley at Stevens Pass.
36. Enter Alpentals Vertfest on Presidents Day Weekend and try finishing one of the Northwests toughest races by climbing 2,400 feet then skiing back to the lodge.
37. Spend some quality time in Nelson, B.C., exploring the tree skiing wonderland that is Whitewater Ski Resorts Glory Ridge.
38. Enter a race on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday nights at Alpental. Get more info at pnsamasters.org.
39. Form an eight-person team for Bellinghams Ski to Sea relay race May 26. The 93.5-mile race includes cross-country skiing, downhill skiing or snowboarding, running, road biking, canoeing and mountain biking legs before a sea kayak finish. skitosea.com
40. Splurge on some really good gear.
41. Spend a Saturday or Sunday in Summit Easts Hidden Valley.
Almost as important as skiing is properly recovering afterword. There are plenty of great options around the Northwest.
42. Eat like ski movie star Tyler Ceccanti at Crystal Mountains Snorting Elk Cellar. His favorite: pepperoni pizza, chocolate chip cookies and an India pale ale (like the Elysian Elk Frost). I would eat that every day, but Id get fat.
43. Milanos Restaurant has become a tradition for many Mount Baker visitors since the Italian eatery opened in 1990. Grab a hot sandwich, pasta or ravioli and, if you burned some serious calories, cap it off with a Mount Baker apple pie.
44. Eichardts Pub in Sandpoint, Idaho, is a popular destination after a day at Schweitzer. Some favorite menu items are the garlic fries, and the blackened and wild salmon Caesar salad.
45. The name alone warrants stopping at The Flying Steamshovel saloon in Rossland, B.C. Try the Shovel Burger, a half-pound patty topped with aged white cheddar and red onions.
46. Stop at North Bends famous Twedes Café. Pick any of the 50 styles of burgers, but save room for a slice of Twin Peaks cherry pie a la mode.
47. After a day on Mount Bachelor, stop at the Bend Public House for a burger, one of the Deschutes Brewerys trademark ales and the chance to sample a new brew.
48. Government Camp at the base of Mount Hood has plenty of après options, including huckleberry pie ala mode at Huckleberrys Inn.
49. Cruisers Pizza in Packwood is a popular stop for westbound skiers and boarders. The three-meat Cruiser Special has the protein you need to recover after a hard day at White Pass.
50. Visit Dustys Bar and BBQ in Whistler at least once. Named after a stuffed horse, this creekside bar is a great place to enjoy a pulled pork sandwich and live music.
51. The Bierstube in Whitefish, Mont., has a live music and, on Wednesdays, the ski patrol presents its Frabert, clod of the week award while, most importantly, guests sip free beer.
52. Family style après ski is the nightly theme at Big Whites Happy Valley Lodge. Here you can score free popcorn, coloring books and alcohol-free beverages. Happy Valley has a skating rink, a bonfire and free hot chocolate on Friday and Saturday nights.
53. Have a burger and beer at Apples Bar and Grill in Sun Valley and check out World Cup ski racing medals and autographed memorabilia from Olympic legends, such as Picabo Street and Lindsey Vonn. Maybe even meet Apples regulars and X Games Ski Cross stars Reggie and Zach Crist.
54. Attend the New Years Eve fireworks show at Crystal Mountain.
55. Ski in shorts.
56. Ski in jeans.
57. Take a flying leap (and maybe throw in a back flip) into Crystal Mountains giant air bag.
58. Take a ride in a grooming machine at Sun Peaks Resort.
59. Ski Mount Baker on a powder day. We get plenty of days with 20 inches of new snow, said general manager Duncan Howat.
60. Enter the Feb. 10 Over the Hill Downhill at Silver Star where teams compete in classifications based on their combined age. Minimum age is 11 and every team must have at least one female.
61. Dare to wear a Happy Humper, the iconic wool and fleece hat made by Greenwaters Wapiti Woolies.
62. Take an overnight hut-to-hut cross country skiing trip on the Mount Tahoma Trail Association system near Ashford. skimtta.com.
63. Spend a night at Timberline Lodge on Mount Hood or at least swing by for a free weekend tour of the 75-year-old hotel.
64. Toughen up your kids and wear out your gloves on the rope tows at Hurricane Ridge.
65. Marvel at the insane tricks at Summit at Snoqualmie freestyle events like the Red Bull Third Shift or Gnu Tube City.
66. Cruise Sun Valleys legendary Warm Springs run.
67. Ski the Bomber Cliffs and Microwave Bowl at Mission Ridge.
68. Make at least one run through Stevens Pass renowned terrain park.
There are great runs and then there are runs that make you a little nervous. If you havent skied these, add them to your bucket list and maybe take a lesson to improve your chances of getting down in one piece.
69. Couloir Extreme on Blackcomb Mountain at Whistler Blackcomb.
70. Silver King at Crystal Mountain.
71. Upper International at Alpental.
72. Big Couloir at Big Sky Resort.
GET IN THE MOOD
73. Move your Super Bowl party to the slopes.
74. Travel British Columbias legendary Powder Highway by car, but ski via helicopter or snow cat. Get more info on guide services at PowderHighway.com.
75. Take a guided snowshoe trip complete with fondue dinner at Crystal Mountain.
76. Celebrate the end of Southeastern Washingtons ski season at Ski Bluewoods Bluewood Bash.
77. Put on your best dress (guys, you might need to borrow one) on Mothers Day, May 12, and hoof your skis to the top of Mount St. Helens for one long run in honor of mom.
78. Attempt a triple Salchow on Sun Valleys famous ice rink.
79. Ride a T-bar on a snowboard.
80. Ski by moonlight.
81. Tour Eastern Washingtons tiny skill hills like Sitzmark, Badger Mountain and Leavenworth Ski Bowl.
82. Take a few laps on the outdoor ice skating trail at Apex Mountain Resort.
83. Ski The Canyon at Mount Baker.
84. Try telemark skiing.
85. Take a run down Sky Dive at Fernie Alpine Resort.
86. Get way off the beaten path via a nine-minute T-bar ride for some night skiing at Salmo (B.C.) Ski Hill.
87. Root for your favorite northwest college at 49 Degrees Norths annual college races Jan. 19-21.
88. Take part in Mt. Bakers annual all-ages, all-mountain Easter egg hunt on March 30.
89. Attempt to eat the 3-pound stuffed Outback Potato for lunch at the mid-mountain hut at Schweitzer Mountain Resort.
90. Ski the 2010 Olympic runs at Whistler Blackcomb and Whistler Olympic Park then plunk down $159 to ride the bobsleigh at the Whistler Sliding Centre.
91. Spend a weekend Nordic skiing at the Methow Valleys Sun Mountain Lodge.
92. Make every run last an hour by skiing in Montana and Idaho (and between the Pacific and Mountain time zones) at Lookout Pass.
93. Head to Revelstoke, B.C., for the most vertical of any North American ski area, a staggering 5,620 feet.
94. Make a donation to the Ski Hill Memorial Project at Razoo.com. The 24-month fundraising project by the Leavenworth Winter Sports Club is designed to upgrade the communitys historic Ski Hill while paying tribute to former Lakewood resident Jim Jack, University of Puget Sound grad Chris Rudolph and former Leavenworth residents Johnny Brenan and Daniel Zimmerman. All four men died in avalanches.
95. Take in the stunning views from the top of Cypress Mountain in North Vancouver.
96. Sleep in the parking lot to make sure you get first tracks.
97. Take a backcountry safety course.
98. Go pond skimming. Winner of the Mount Hood Meadows pond skim gets a trip to Hawaii.
99. Become a year-rounder.
Once upon a time, only hard-core ski bums bothered attempting to ski at least once per month for an entire year. But that feat is now relatively easy for South Sound skiers and snowboarders. With the Mount Rainier Gondola extending the season at Crystal Mountain into July the last two seasons, you really only need to figure out how to get in runs in August, September and October.
Hiking or skinning up the Muir Snowfield allows you to become a year-rounder without ever leaving Pierce County. And turns-all-year.com is a great resource for backcountry skiers. But if youd rather ride a lift, a few trips to Mount Hood will do the trick. The lift on the Palmer Snowfield at Timberline Lodge runs all year.
Craig Hill: 253-597-8497