We kept the momentum going with our little snow bunnies and headed up to Stevens Pass a few weeks ago. As luck would have it, the skies were clear, and despite the forecast we enjoyed a beautiful bluebird day that was actually quite warm (though still plenty of powder to play in!).
Growing up, Stevens Pass was our mountain. It’s where I learned to ski, fall, and get back up again. It’s where I fell in love with the sport and gained confidence one run at a time. I imagined when I had my own kids, obviously I would start them out early – as young as 2 or 3 years old. But as life would have it, that wasn’t the case. But I’m happy to say, we finally made it – yes they are still little, and with them being 5 and 7, I realized we did not miss the boat. They are still excited, eager and highly trainable. As is my husband who really just learned to ski this year (lesson learned – it’s never too late).
With that said, if you have a chance to take your kiddos as soon as they can walk, my advice is → definitely do it! There are a TON of perks for kids at Stevens Pass (and most ski resorts), so I thought to make it easy, I would share the inside scoop and how you can really make the most of your time on the mountain, the kid-friendly way.
When To Visit
If you’re wanting quieter slopes, I recommend visiting Stevens Pass during the week. If weekends are preferred, then opt for a Sunday, which tends to be a bit less busy. And aim to arrive before 9am or after 2pm to miss the rush. Night skiing is also a fantastic option, open until 10pm Wednesday-Sunday during Peak Season.
I recommend referencing the Season Schedule and always checking the snow report and weather forecast before you head out the door.
What To Bring
First of all, pack a cooler full of snacks for the car ride to and from Stevens Pass. There’s a chance you’ll find traffic on the way home, so it’s better to be prepared. And make sure everyone has breakfast – I can’t stress this enough! Skiing requires so much energy on those little bodies, make sure they have enough fuel to keep them going until lunch.
Pack a change of clothes and a cozy blanket for the car ride home. They may not need it, but always good to have on hand.
I’ll link our favorite ski apparel below, but here are some essentials: Base layer, mid layer, warm waterproof outerwear, gloves, goggles, hand warmers, wool socks and a beanie (for under the helmet).
Stevens Pass also has two retail shops that can get you outfitted with everything you need at prices comparable to off-mountain retailers. Visit The Edge or Fall Line Sports for any gear needs you have.
How To Get There
Stevens Pass is conveniently located just 78 miles from Seattle and 65 miles from Everett at the crest of the Cascade Mountains on beautiful HWY 2. For more detailed instructions, check out their directions page.
Prefer not to drive? No problem! They have a variety of shuttle options to take advantage of so you can just relax and enjoy the ride. Here you can check out the price and pick up points.
If you’re driving, make sure to have snow or all-season tires and always check the road conditions.
Stevens Pass has ten big parking lots nearest the base area with two overflow/satellite lots at Yodelin (one mile East) and the Stevens Pass Nordic Center (5 miles East) for use on busier days. They run shuttles to those satellite lots when main parking lots are full.
INSIDER TIP: They have two lots that they recommend for families: Lot A and Lot G. Lot A allows families to unload right at the base of the steps to our main plaza and Base Area for 10 minutes before finding a parking spot for the day. Look for the signs to parking lot A on the south side of the highway right after passing under the footbridge if coming from the west side, or right before the footbridge if coming from the east. Preferred parking is also available in this lot on a first come first served basis. It is free to park in on Off-Peak Days and if you have 4+ people in your car on Peak Days.
Their newest lot G on the north side of the highway, just across the pedestrian bridge, is a family favorite. It is free to park in on off-peak days and if you have 4 or more people in the car. Families find this extremely convenient due to its proximity to the foot bridge and plaza area.
Also, keep an eye out for Stevens Pass Mountain Hosts. They wear blue jackets and are always more than happy to assist you!
Renting Your Gear + Lessons
Since we travel quite a bit, it makes sense to rent gear directly from the resorts. Prices are comparable and for the added convenience, you can get assistance with any issues and the ability to change out sizes. Gear Check (like coat check, for equipment) is complimentary when you rent from Stevens Pass directly.
For first-timer and beginner skiers and snowboarders ages 13+, you can find everything you need at the Rental Tech Center, located in the Tye Creek Lodge (the western most lodge closest to Seattle) and here you will find the three key things you need for a day on the slopes:
- A Lift Ticket
- Ski/Snowboard Equipment
- Coaching or guidance
A Lift Ticket gives you access to recreate on the mountain and is required, even if you don’t ride a chair lift. These start at $15/person for access to the learning area and magic carpet conveyor lifts, and $40 for access to the whole beginner area, including the beginner chairlift.
Rental Equipment includes boots and a board (snowboarding) or boots, skis and poles (skiing). Helmets are recommended but are an optional extra.
For kids 3-12 years, the Stevens Pass Youth Programs Facility is their dedicated learning center that offers lesson packages (Lift Ticket + Rental Equipment + Lesson + Helmet Rental) for all ability levels from as little as $119/day. The facility is located in the Ski and Snowboard School Building, on the south side of the Base Area, at the foot of the mountain. Reservations are not required but are strongly recommended. If you are planning a trip on a weekend or during a holiday they advise reserving as much as a week in advance as space in our programs fills up frequently.
My #1 piece of advice for skiing with kids – have them take lessons! Let them learn the proper technique and get comfortable on the slopes before you take them down yourself (trust me on this).
INSIDER TIP: Avoid paying full price at the ticket window by pre-purchasing your Stevens Pass lift tickets online at least a day in advance. You are guaranteed to save at least $10 over the ticket window price. The earlier you buy, the more you save! There are limited quantities at each price and as tickets sell out, the price goes up.
2017-18 LIFT TICKET WINDOW RATES
All-Day ticket provides up to 13 hours of skiing and riding and extends into the evening when we they open for night operations. The Flex4 ticket gives you the flexibility to start the day when you choose and ski or ride any 4 hours you want.
Kids age 6 and under ski free, stop by a ticket window to receive your free ticket.
|6 & Under||Free||Free||Free||Free||Free|
|70 & Over||$20||$20||$20||$20||$20|
Where To Stay
If you’d like to stay close to Stevens Pass, they work with over 40 lodging partners in the historic Skykomish Valley, Bavarian town of Leavenworth, and everywhere in between. With cabins of all sizes, quaint B&Bs, and hotels for any budget, there is something for everyone. Check out the West Side Ticket and Room Package and the Leavenworth Lodging Packages to save money on lodging and lift tickets.
Looking for a luxury and secluded getaway with unparalleled views? Check out the Enchantment Lodge.
Where To Eat
Stevens Pass has nine restaurants and food outlets on mountain, ranging from snacks and espresso to fire-side dining and a full-service bar.
They also offer designated areas for brown bag lunches in all three of our main lodges. Each of the lodges are also equipped with restrooms, lockers, retail locations and TVs for broadcasting major sporting events.
There are so many tips and tricks to get the most out of Stevens Pass, make sure to follow them on Facebook and Instagram to stay up to date and learn about current specials and events. I also highly recommend searching both the Stevens Pass Geotag and Hashtag to see what other visitors are capturing. Maybe it’s a new run, a favorite instructor or a fresh powder update! Social media is my reference for everything.
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Disclosure: Stevens Pass graciously hosted our family. The opinions expressed here represent my own, which I take great pride in providing pure honesty…because I’m OBSESSED with sharing the Good!