Connecting three Pacific Northwest legends, the rugged snow-capped peaks of Oregon and Washington State set the stage for a winter of road trip rambles and endless adventure. Ikon Pass in hand, get ready to load the wagon, caravan with the crew, and crank up the tunes. With Mt. Bachelor, Crystal Mountain, and the Summit at Snoqualmie to explore, the next adventure is always the best adventure.
Standing alone in the High Cascades of central Oregon, Mt. Bachelor serves up 4,323 acres of lift-accessible terrain and 360-degree descents from the 9,065-foot volcanic peak. This vast landscape runs 12 lifts – eight of which are high-speed quads – and three first-timer-friendly carpets. When the need to jib or launch calls, Mt. Bachelor also boasts fifteen different Woodward terrain parks, where every level of rider can grow their craft.
For wide-open spaces, head to Mt. Bachelor’s newest lift, Cloudchaser. Often referred to by locals as “chasing clouds,” this terrain unlocks 635 acres of groomed runs, natural gullies, and skiable glades.
If you’re looking for a change of pace, the big-mountain fun can be coupled with 56 km of groomed cross-country trails, snowshoeing adventures, tubing, and sled dog rides. Known as the Northwest destination of choice for families and adventurers seeking a natural, and unique mountain experience, it’s easy to see why this particular Bachelor has so many avid admirers.
On the Road Near Bachelor:
Zip into a wetsuit, grab that other board, and drop into the Bend Whitewater Park. Smack dab in the middle of town, the Whitewater Park is built with four different wave features so that surfers, paddle boarders, and whitewater kayakers can take it from snow to surf in the same day.
Go Full Send at Smith Rock State Park
A mecca for climbers since the eighties, a trip to Smith Rock will land you squarely in the adventure zone. With over 650 acres of pristine high-desert wilderness, explore hundreds of famous climbing routes, rig your slackline, hike along the scenic River Trail, or set a new FKT on the Summit Trail loop.
A short bump up from the grunge capital of the world, Seattle, Crystal sets the stage for endless adventure. From world-class skiing and snowboarding to scenic rides on the Mt. Rainier Gondola, Crystal Mountain offers something for everyone. Kids four and under ski free, which is even more reason to bring the entire family for a day of fun.
When the snow starts flying, keep a close eye on the Crystal Mountain Twitter account for white room updates. The little blue bird is one of the best ways to know when the gates open in Southback and Northway. To access Southback’s technical terrain and deep powder, be sure to take the high-speed two-seater, Chair 6, known locally as Crystal’s most legendary lift.
When the lights go out, the generators in B lot turn up. Keep the mountain magic going and stay the night — conveniently located slopeside in Crystal Mountain’s coveted RV & camper lot. In the wintertime this lot offers 72 RV power hookups, transforming a friendly-yet-rowdy community of powder-hungry skiers and snowboarders into road trip warriors. With close proximity to Mt. Rainier National Park, Crystal is a great base camp for your outdoor adventures, but be sure to make your B Lot reservation early and through Roverpass this year.
On the Road Near Crystal Mountain:
Step it Up
Sitting southwest of Crystal Mountain, perhaps the most iconic and accessible winter adventure in Mount Rainer National Park is the 1900-foot snowshoe climb up to Panorama Point, perched roughly 1,400 feet above Paradise Inn. Strap into your snowshoes for this five-mile roundtrip climb to a stunning view at 7070 feet.
Nachos at Naches
On the road to (and back from) Crystal Mountain, tuck into the friendly mountain-folk atmosphere at Naches Tavern. Just off Chinook Pass Highway, in the small mountain town of Greenwater, tackle the legendary nachos plate and wash it down with a selection of Washington State’s best microbrews. Lining walls that surround a wood-burning hearth, the Tavern’s décor screams 1920’s logger crossed with pow-chasing hooligan, and fills up with a cliental to match.
The Summit at Snoqualmie
Turn east and head out from Seattle. In an hour you’ll be in the heart of the Cascades at The Summit at Snoqualmie. Start your day by taking the legendary Edelweiss (also known as Chair 2) lift to the top of Alpental to access expert terrain and to snap a stunning selfie — with Mt. Rainier to the south and the Cascades to the north, you’re sure to feel like you’re in the European Alps.
If the snow starts flying, either stay on Alpental or try out Silver Fir — and don’t miss the tree runs at Summit East, packed with hidden pow zones. While you could easily shuttle between The Summit at Snoqualmie’s four base areas, you could just as simply ski between them. Traverse like a local by taking the S-90 from east to west for three miles of intermediate adventure.
Come back to the slopes after dinner to experience 541-night skiing acres — the most in America. There are also more than 20 snow tubing lanes, each 500 feet long, that stay open into the night, complete with covered lift, which are a fun-filled, carefree option for friends and family members who didn’t bring their skis or board.
On the Road Near the Summit at Snoqualmie:
Tame the Tiger
On the road from Seattle to The Summit at Snoqualmie, near the bottom of the pass, the year-round bike access at Tiger Mountain offers some of the best dirt in the area. Featuring riding for all ability levels, the trails range from buff climbing trails to expert rated downhill gauntlets. Bonus points: with enough climbing and the right weather, there are views of Mount Rainier from the summit. Crank laps in the early hours and get lifted with some night skiing in the evening.
Who doesn’t love a solid gas station sustenance surprise? While it can be easy to miss, keep your eye’s peeled for the small walk-up hut that’s tucked into a Chevron parking lot. Slanging good food fast, Aardvark’s unique combination of Asian-inspired dishes and savory treats will soothe the savage skier (or snowboarder). Not surprising, one of the many crowd favorites is Hurry Curry Bowl. Perfect for the grab-and-go adventure.
Now is the time to call the crew and plan for the open road before passes go off-sale. The last chance to buy an Ikon Pass – with pass options starting at only $499 – is December 10. Across the Pacific Northwest and beyond, with destinations coast-to-coast, winter is what you make it. And with days spent exploring Mt. Bachelor, Crystal Mountain, and The Summit at Snoqualmie, and more, your winter 2020-2021 is going to be iconic.
Find out more about the Ikon Pass, here.