Winter Wonder in Washington

Bundle up and head for the mountains! With winter festivals, skiing, and more, wintertime in Washington is a real-life wonderland.

Hit the Slopes

Get knee deep in fresh powder at Stevens Pass on the crest of the Cascade Mountain Range, where runs span all skill levels. If you’re feeling adventurous, linger in the park for night skiing, weather permitting. For more slopes, go south to the state’s largest ski area, Crystal Mountain Resort, encompassing 2,600 acres and sweeping views of Mount Rainier. In Eastern Washington, the historic 49° North Mountain Resort, at Chewelah Peak, features 82 marked trials.

Cross-Country Treks

Nordic skiers: Check out the Summit at Snoqualmie. The Nordic Center features more than 30 miles of groomed trails where you can take in stunning views of the Cascades while you ski. For a backcountry trek, try the Methow Valley Trails. More than 120 miles of trails take you through the valley, up into the hills, and over the river on a suspension bridge.

Wintry Walks

Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park is one of the state’s best spots for snowshoeing with its snowy meadows for beginners. More seasoned explorers, should continue up the ridge for 360-degree views of Mount Olympus. Or, snowshoe at the base of an active volcano: The area surrounding Mount St. Helens features almost 50 miles of trails. Marble Mountain Sno-Park and June Lake are good options.

Snow Play

Just 30 minutes north of Leavenworth, Lake Wenatchee State Park’sSouth Sno-Park offers snow play and a tubing hill. For those seeking snow-flurried thrills, head to the Lone Butte Sno-Park for 154 miles of snowmobiling trails through snow-dusted pines and gentle slopes.

Winter Festivals

Washington’s got spirit with an array of festivals for wintertime activities, music, and more. Leavenworth,a quaint village tucked away in the Cascades, hosts its annual Bavarian IceFest in January. Snow sculptures, lights, live ice carving, and ice fishing are just a few attractions on the agenda. Also that month: Leavenworth’s famous Timbrrr! Winter Music Festival, featuring a diverse array of indie, soul, and alternative artists.

Toast the season in Chelan at Lake Chelan Winterfest, which boasts a flurry of winter activities—including carriage rides, an ice slide, a cocoa crawl, and a beach bonfire—over two weekends in January.

In Seattle, celebrate at Seattle Center’s annual Winterfest, running mid-November to early January. Sparkling lights abound alongside live entertainment, ice skating, and ice sculptures.

 -- Aly Brady

Photos by Crystal Mountain Resort and Gary Peters