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Skiing at the Summit at Snoqualmie: Full Review of the Mountain’s Terrain, Lifts, and Amenities

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If you’re looking for the best ski resorts close to Seattle, The Summit at Snoqualmie is one worth considering. Located just an hour away from the city, it offers a variety of terrain for skiers and snowboarders. But with mixed reviews online, is it worth a visit?

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at all things Summit at Snoqualmie. My husband Evan will provide a personal review after his ski day there with my brother this past winter. He’ll cover the terrain options, lift lines, snow conditions, and overall value for money.

Location and Terrain

The Summit at Snoqualmie is located just 45 minutes east of Seattle on I-90, in the heart of the Mt.Baker/Snoqualmie National Forest.

The resort has four unique base areas. Three distinct areas are connected by a series of traverses: Summit West, Summit Central, and Summit East. The fourth base area, Alpental, is part of the same ticket but not connected to the rest of the resort.

each with its unique terrain and level of difficulty. Let’s explore them:

Summit Central

Summit Central is the largest of the four bases and offers a diverse range of terrain suitable for all levels of skiers and snowboarders.

There are 14 lifts and 65 runs, ranging from beginner to expert. Summit Central has a terrain park with jumps, rails, and boxes, making it a favorite among freestyle skiers and snowboarders.

The terrain is relatively forgiving for beginners, with many wide-open groomed runs, while more advanced skiers can find steep groomed runs and glades.

Summit West

Summit West is a smaller base than Summit Central and is suitable for beginners and intermediates.

The terrain is gentle and has a total of 8 lifts and 16 runs, making it the best fit for families and first-time skiers.

Summit West is located in a beautiful, forested area with gentle slopes and wide-open groomed runs, ideal for beginner and intermediate skiers and snowboarders.

The base area is also smaller and less crowded than Summit Central.


Alpental is the steepest and most challenging base at Summit at Snoqualmie.

It has a reputation for its expert terrain, with narrow chutes, steep pitches, and gladed runs.

Alpental has a total of 6 lifts and 30 runs, and it is best suited for advanced and expert skiers and snowboarders. No surprise here, but it’s a favorite among expert skiers and snowboarders, thanks to its challenging terrain and abundant snowfall.

The terrain is steep and narrow, with a mixture of groomed runs and tree runs that offer an exciting challenge to experienced skiers and snowboarders.

Summit East

Summit East is the smallest of the four bases and offers a more laid-back skiing experience.

It has a total of 4 lifts and 10 runs, and the terrain is suitable for beginners and intermediates.

Summit East is perfect for families and new skiers, thanks to its gentle terrain and small base area.

The slopes are wide and forgiving, and the base area is less crowded than the other bases. It’s a great option for those who want to avoid the crowds.

Mountain Peaks and Trails

The Summit at Snoqualmie offers a variety of terrain for skiers and snowboarders of all levels.

With almost 2,000 acres of terrain and an average snowfall of 426 inches per year, there is plenty of space to explore.

The resort has 25 lifts with several dozen runs with 14% beginner, 33% intermediate, 42% advanced, and 11% expert.

Additionally, there are five terrain parks for those looking to hit the jumps and rails. So while the runs are focused on catering to those who are intermediate or above, there are runs for beginners. 

Evan at the bottom of the slopes!

Ski Lifts and Facilities

The Summit at Snoqualmie has a total of 25 lifts, including 3 high-speed quads, 4 quads, 3 triple chairs, 9 double chairs, and 6 surface lifts. The lifts are well-maintained and provide easy access to all areas of the resort.

Each of the four base areas at the resort has its own lodge with food and beverage options, rental shops, and ski schools. Additionally, there is a Nordic Center with groomed trails for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.

The facilities at the resort are clean and well-maintained. There are restrooms and seating areas throughout the resort. The rental shops have a good selection of equipment, and the staff is knowledgeable and helpful.

We highly recommend reserving your equipment in advance (aim to reserve 1-2 weeks ahead of time) as there were long wait times for those who didn’t reserve. If you don’t reserve it ahead of time and you don’t already have your own equipment, you may not be able to ski due to their limited availability of ski or snowboard equipment.

Lift Ticket Options

There are several different types of lift ticket options for those looking to ski for one day at The Summit at Snoqualmie.

If you are not a season pass holder or Ikon Pass holder, the main options for skiing are Open to Close lift tickets, Afternoon lift tickets, Twilight lift tickets, and Night lift tickets.

Open to Close Lift Ticket

This lift ticket is for those wanting to get the most out of their day.

As it says, this lift ticket is for those who want to ski all day from as early as possible to the end of the day.

The hours of this vary by day but generally, it is open from 9 am until 9:30 pm during high season (until Mid-March).

This is definitely for those who have some experience but want to ski as much as possible and are in shape to do so.

Afternoon lift tickets

This lift ticket is valid for a limited time in the afternoon, typically from 12:00 pm to close, and provides access to all lifts and runs at Summit Central, Summit East, Summit West, and Alpental.

Twilight lift tickets

This lift ticket is valid for a limited time in the late afternoon and early evening, typically from 2:00 pm to 9:30 PM, and provides access to all lifts and runs at Summit Central and Summit West.

Night lift tickets

This lift ticket is valid for skiing and snowboarding under the lights at Summit Central and Summit West, typically from 4:00 pm to 9:30 pm.

My brother Raymond on the ski lift with my husband Evan

Weather and Snow Conditions

Temperature and Visibility

On the day of our ski trip to The Summit at Snoqualmie, the temperature was a bit on the warmer side, hovering around 4°C in the afternoon. The visibility was decent, with some cloud cover but no significant fog or snowfall that would impede our vision.

Overall, the weather conditions were favorable for skiing, with no significant wind or precipitation to contend with. However, it is always a good idea to check the weather forecast and ski conditions beforehand to ensure a safe and enjoyable ski trip.

Snow Quality and Depth

The snow quality at The Summit at Snoqualmie was excellent, with a nice mix of fresh powder and groomed runs. The recent snowfall had helped to create a soft and fluffy texture, making for a smooth and comfortable ride down the slopes.

The snow depth varied across the different areas of the resort, with some runs having a deeper base than others. However, overall, there was plenty of snow to enjoy and explore, with no bare spots or icy patches to worry about.

It is worth noting that snow conditions can change quickly and unpredictably, so it is important to be aware of any potential hazards and ski within your ability level.

Overall, we were impressed with the weather and snow conditions at The Summit at Snoqualmie, and would definitely recommend it to any avid skiers or snowboarders looking for a fun and exciting day on the slopes.

Skiing Experience

Summit at Snoqualmie is a great place to ski and snowboard for all levels of experience. The resort has four unique areas with a variety of trails and terrain parks to choose from. Here is a breakdown of our experience:

Difficulty Level and Terrain Parks

The Summit at Snoqualmie has something for everyone, from beginner to expert.

The green and blue runs are great for beginners and intermediate skiers, while the black diamond runs offer a challenge for expert skiers.

The terrain parks are also well-maintained and offer a variety of features for all skill levels. We particularly enjoyed Central Park, which had a great mix of jumps, rails, and boxes.

Crowd and Wait Times

The Summit at Snoqualmie can get crowded on weekends and holidays, but the lift lines move quickly and efficiently.

We never had to wait more than 10-15 minutes for a lift. The resort also has a great system for managing the crowd on the mountain. The trails are well-marked and we never felt like we were skiing on top of other people.

Overall, our skiing experience at Summit at Snoqualmie was fantastic.

The resort has a great variety of terrain and features, and the crowds and wait times were manageable. We would definitely go back!

Food and Beverage

After a long day on the slopes, you may wonder where to get your hands on some delicious food and drinks. Thankfully, Summit at Snoqualmie offers a variety of dining options, from quick bites to sit-down meals.

On-Mountain Dining Options

The Summit at Snoqualmie has several on-mountain dining options to choose from, including the Summit Smokehouse, the Pacific Crest Lodge, and the Alpental Lodge.

The Summit Smokehouse serves up delicious BBQs and burgers, while the Pacific Crest Lodge offers a variety of options, including pizza, sandwiches, and salads.

The Alpental Lodge is a great spot for a sit-down meal, with options like pasta, steak, and seafood.

For those looking for a quick bite, there are also several grab-and-go options available, including the Summit Market and the Alpental Express.

Pricing and Quality

The pricing for food and drinks at the Summit at Snoqualmie is reasonable, with many options priced similarly to what you would find at other ski resorts. The quality of the food varies, but overall it is decent for on-mountain dining options.

One thing to note is that the lines for food and drinks can get quite long during peak times, so it’s best to plan accordingly and try to avoid the busiest times if possible.

If you’re looking for something a bit more upscale, there are also several restaurants and bars located in the nearby town of Snoqualmie, including the Salish Lodge and the Woodman Lodge.

Overall, the food and beverage options at the Summit at Snoqualmie are decent for on-mountain dining. While the quality can vary, there are plenty of options to choose from and the pricing is reasonable. Just be prepared for long lines during peak times.

Final Thoughts: Is Summit at Snoqualmie Worth Visiting?

Summit at Snoqualmie is a great ski resort overall. With its proximity to Seattle, it’s a convenient option for a day trip or weekend getaway. However, it may not be the best choice for very advanced skiers or those looking for lots of very challenging terrain.

The resort offers a variety of activities, including skiing, snowboarding, tubing, and snowshoeing. The rental process is easy to navigate, and the staff is friendly and helpful. The equipment is in good shape, and the slopes are well-groomed.

Have you skied or snowboarded at Summit at Snoqualmie in Washington? What did you think?

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