Winter is finally here, and that means it’s time to break out the skis and snowboards and head for the hills. If you’re looking for someplace to go and play in the powder, here are some ideas.
Visiting Seattle? Ski Northwestern Washington
Snohomish County is only 12 miles north of Seattle (40 miles from the airport), and that’s where you’ll find the Stevens Pass ski park. From now through Jan. 1, snowboarders can purchase a day pass for the park’s Brooks lift and Top Phlight Terrain Park for $25, enabling them to explore lots of different rails, boxes, booters and the brand new stunt ditch. The Top Phlight pass can be upgraded to a full mountain pass for $37. stevenspass.com
If you’re a fan of snowshoeing, head a little farther north to Whatcom County and Bellingham. The Mt. Baker ski area is full of snowshoeing trails through scenic areas of old-growth forest, waterfalls and unique geologic formations. bellingham.org
Going to Vancouver? Think Whistler
About 75 miles north of Vancouver in British Columbia, Canada, is Whistler, often rated as the No. 1 ski resort in North America and the place that hosted the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. Right now you can book a two-night/two-day Stay & Ski package for $219 (price in Canadian dollars) or if you want to stay longer, there’s a deal where you get your fifth night free.
When you’re not on the slopes you find that Whistler has more than a hundred restaurants and bars for you to explore. Find details and chat live with a booking agent at whistler.com/winter_packages.
Utah Snow for Half the Dough
Southern Utah’s Brian Head offers a full range of terrains suitable for all ability levels, and right now the facilities can be enjoyed at a bargain price. Lots of local hotels are offering discounts on ski-and-stay packages, including the Springhill Suites by Marriot in nearby Cedar City where during the week you can get a room and two lift tickets for $159; the price goes up to $169 per night on the weekend.
And if you’ve never hit the slopes before Brian Head has a full-service ski school program for people of all ages. More discounted offers are detailed at brianhead.com.
Bowl Park City
If your favorite ski destination is Park City, Utah you’ll want to know about Jupiter Bowl, the place to see and be seen après ski. The relatively new (two years) facility has 16 ultra modern bowling lanes, pool tables and a billiard lounge and multi-screen music video and sports viewing. A live DJ spins dance and hip-hop tunes Friday and Saturday nights during JB After Dark when complimentary bowling (two games per person) is also on offer. jupiterbowl.com
Yellowstone on Skis
Cross-country skiing enthusiasts will love the five-day ski-and-learn Yellowstone on Skis program that launches on Dec. 31. Participants will take daily ski trips to Blacktail Pass, Lamar Valley, Yellowstone’s Grand Canyon and the foot of the Gallatin Ridge, being led by a naturalist guide and accompanied (for two days) by a cross-country skiing instructor. Evenings will be spent at the Mammoth Hotel and the Old Faithful Ski Lodge.
Participants need to bring their own skis; rentals will be available at an extra cost. For program details including a list of additional dates when the Yellowstone on Skis program will be offered visit yellowstonenationalparklodges.com.
SnowGlobe Music Festival 2011
Why not take in some tunes along with your time on the slopes? The unique landscape of South Lake Tahoe is the perfect setting for you to do just that. Head to the SnowGlobe Music Festival being held at Bijou Park on the campus of Lake Tahoe Community College on Dec. 29 through the 31st to see performances by 40 acts including Glitch Mob, Fishbone, Bassnectar, Theophilus London, SBTRKT, Max Mool, Dr. Israel, RUN DMT, Govinda, Paper Diamond and many others. The area has about 9,000 acres of skiing and snowboarding terrain, and gamblers will be happy to know that the festival grounds are only about three miles from the casinos of Stateline, Nevada. snowglobemusicfestival.com