Draped across half a dozen peaks adjacent to Mount Rainier National Park, Crystal Mountain immerses visitors in more than 2,600 acres of snow-covered terrain. Skiers and boarders strap into their speedy planks and hitch a ride up the mountain on 1 of 11 chairlifts. After unloading, they point their tips toward sea level, fire up their boots' afterburners, and zoom down more than 50 named trails that range from the winding, novice-friendly Queens Run to the backcountry bowls of Penny Dawg's Cliffs and Paradise Trees. Those in need of a trick fix can head to the Sasquatch Jib Park, where a series of rails, boxes, and pole jams offer ample opportunities for grinding and sliding. Crystal Mountain averages 367 inches of snowfall per year, ensuring enough powder to satisfy thrill-seekers and still leave enough to sprinkle on an après-ski belgian waffle. In addition to the slopes, Crystal Mountain hosts the Mt. Rainier Gondola, which hauls visitors up 2,500 vertical feet in 10 minutes to the mountain's cherry-strewn summit. There, they feast their eyes on panoramic mountain views sprawling in every direction or dine on international cuisine at Summit House Restaurant, the highest restaurant in Washington state.
Following a strict Leave No Trace philosophy, Backcountry Adventure Guides instills environmental stewardship in each of its participants as they venture on fitness-filled nature jaunts. Whether climbing, skiing, or snowshoeing, the trio of guides—all of whom boast extensive outdoor sports backgrounds—uses each trek as an opportunity to stress the importance of preserving our natural surroundings and refusing to shave Bigfoot no matter how much money he offers.
Alki Kayak Tours and her sister store, Mountain to Sound Outfitters, equip guests with all the tools necessary to delve into Puget Sound’s surrounding wilderness regardless of season. Authorized dealers of goods from outdoor brands including Rossignol, Nordica, Snap Dragon, and Boardworks SUP, Mountain to Sound Outfitters’ knowledgeable equipment masters can outfit expeditions bound for skiing trips to Mount Rainier or full-contact LARPing in Olympic National Park. Alki Kayak Tours keeps adventures moving with vehicle rentals ranging from kayaks and paddleboards to fishing boats and bikes. Guided sea-kayak and paddleboard tours meander through Puget Sound during warmer months, introducing adventurers to the Emerald City’s fragile natural beauty and the mindful guides’ various methods of preserving it.
Mini Mountain helps people of all ages experience the thrill of outdoor extreme sports, even if they can't be outside. Thanks to the training center's unique downhill treadmill-like machine, visitors can ski and snowboard year-round?they just happen to be indoors. The wide, sloping treadmill features a smooth surface and runs on a perpetual uphill loop, mimicking the sensation of gliding down a snowy slope. Private lessons help students master their maneuvers and turns, relying on guidance from professional instructors and the same rental gear they'd use on real slopes.
But the students sometimes still venture outdoors?those who complete enough indoor work are eligible to join the small-group skiing lessons that explore the Summit at Snoqualmie. And rock-climbing day camps travel to various nearby cliffs, so students can work on improving their climbing skills and beating mountain goats at staring contests.
In 1960, Sally Strand, a Northshore District High School science teacher, had a dream of sharing her love of skiing with her students. This led her to start the program that would eventually become Mohan Skiing & Boarding. Today, the non-profit ski school services six school districts with lessons, leadership training, and scholarships for any youngsters hoping to learn to ski. Led by veteran skiing gurus Rob Stimmel and John Mohan, the academy?s staff leads instructional expeditions on the snow-swathed slopes of Snoqualmie Summit Central, teaching students of all ages how to carve through powder, zoom down steeps, and use giant icicles as makeshift ski poles. Guests can schedule a private lesson for one-on-one instruction or register for one of their weekly group sessions, which range from weekend lessons for tykes ages 3?5 and Thursday executive ski sessions for adult alpinists.
Every winter, Alpine West Ski & Snowboard School peeks through blanketing snowdrifts and evergreen groves at the Summit at Snoqualmie, as it has done since 1980. The chalet is home base for founders Ron and JoAnn Mattila and their staff of instructors, who take every skiing and snowboarding trainee under their ski poles and help them improve their balance and controlled turns. The certified school has something to teach every level of rider, through private lessons and in groups organized by both skill level and degree of horror exhibited at the mention of the word "mogul."