Last Friday, the first snowflakes of the season fell in Seattle. It was March 22 – two days into spring. Our “snowstorm” lasted about ten minutes. Obviously, nothing stuck.
When I moved to Seattle from Boston seven years ago I thought that I would miss the snow. Truth is, I don’t. Minimal snowfall in the city means no long winters of shoveling driveways, no navigating grey-colored snow banks on the way to work, no waiting on an icy sidewalk for the train that will never come because the rails have frozen over. (Sorry New England friends. I’ve seen the photos. I know you’re getting pummeled right now.)
But what about the good aspects of snow? The skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, making snow angels, starting snowball fights… even just sitting in a warm lodge with an over-sized mug of cocoa watching the white flakes falling silently outside your window. Wouldn’t you think I miss those activities? Well, here’s the thing… Living in Seattle, we get that too. In effect, we get to hand-pick our snow days instead of them being enforced upon us at inconvenient times. It’s a beautiful thing.
Here are just a few ways I’ve satisfied my snow cravings this winter:
- Summit at Snoqualmie – 50 minutes east of Seattle via I-90
If you’re looking for a quick day trip to enjoy the snow, Snoqualmie is an easy answer. Skiing, snowboarding and inter tubing abound. Many of the summer hiking trails are great for snowshoeing adventures. On my way back, one of my favorite places to stop is the Mt. Si Pub in North Bend – a one-room tavern built at the turn of the century. You can expect a warm fire, a cold beer and a lot of local regulars.
- Suncadia Resort – 1.5 hours southeast of Seattle via I-90
Suncadia is a popular weekend escape destination for Seattleites. It is easy to get to but makes you feel like you’re worlds away. And there are plenty of lodging options to suit your every need. Winter activities include ice skating, inter tubing, sleigh rides, cross country skiing, and snowshoeing. My friends and I opted to pass our afternoon at Swiftwater Cellars – a full-service winery located on the resort grounds.
- Leavenworth – 2 hours east of Seattle via US-2
Have you ever heard of smooshing? I got my first introduction to this primitive style of collaborative cross country skiing at the annual Bavarian Ice Festival. This fun January tradition also boasts dogsled pulling competitions, snowshoe relay races, and ice carving demonstrations. Of course, don’t forget to get your fill of Bavarian-style beers and bratwurst.
- Winthrop – 4 hours northeast of Seattle via I-90 and US-97
This snowy haven is a bit further away from Seattle, but it’s well worth the journey. Winthrop sits in the heart of the Methow Valley, offering miles upon miles of opportunities to explore the high desert among the scenic North Cascades. Sun Mountain Lodge makes for a great home base for your adventures.
Obviously this is not an exhaustive list of the snow-filled adventures you can have just a stone’s throw from Seattle. What are some of your favorites?