Beginner's Guide to Stevens Pass

Step 1: Planning Your Trip

There are many things to plan and consider when going skiing or snowboarding. What to wear, what to bring, where to stay, what’s available at the mountain. This part of the guide provides information for first timers on how to dress for success, plan for the weather and find lodging around Stevens Pass for a weekend getaway.

When’s the best time to visit?

We are busiest on weekends and holidays between December through February. If it is an option, we always recommend coming up during the week to take advantage of the quieter slopes. If you are coming up on a weekend or holiday day, Sundays are typically quieter than Saturdays. Plan to arrive at the resort early (prior to 9am) or later in the day (from 2pm onward) to help you avoid the crowds.

Checking the Weather

The most unpredictable part of your trip! Check out our resort webcams for real time mountain images and the weather forecast prior to your trip. Weather can change quickly, so be prepared. You can always keep extra layers in a locker or your car just in case.

What to Wear

PNW weather can range from warm and rainy, to snow storms, and sunshine days. What you wear can make or break your day, and having the right gear is essential. The best way to stay comfortable is to think warm and waterproof and dress in layers so you can add or remove them if the weather changes.

Base Layers

What you wear next to your skin. We suggest synthetic or wool materials rather than cotton, and to wear one pair of wool or sport specific socks that come up to at least mid-shin.

Mid-layers

A mid-layer, such as a fleece, wool sweater or light puffy jacket, is great if your outer layer doesn’t offer much insulation, or for really cold days. You can always take layers off, but you can’t add layers you don’t have!

Outerwear

Your jacket and pants. The most important thing is to find waterproof and windproof options. While there are snow specific outwear, rain jackets and pants can work great with layers under.

Accessories

Waterproof mittens and gloves are essential for keeping your hands warm and dry.

Eye protection is very important in the mountains due to the harmful glare of the sun off the snow. Goggles offer the most warmth and versatility for all conditions and are always our recommended option.

We always recommend wearing a helmet, which can be rented in our Rental Tech Center or purchased in one of our Retail Stores. They are warm, waterproof and provide protection.

Retail Shops at Stevens Pass

Stevens Pass has two retail shops that can get you outfitted with everything you need at prices comparable to off-mountain retailers. Visit us in The Edge or Fall Line Sports for any gear needs you have.

Lodging at Stevens Pass

We 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.

Additional questions? Email us at: spguestservices@vailresorts.com

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Step 2: Directions & Parking

Stevens Pass is conveniently located just 78 miles from Seattle and 65 miles from Everett at the crest of the Cascade Mountains on beautiful Highway 2. Drive with your friends or family or check out our many transportation options. For more detailed instructions on how to get here, visit our getting here page.

Transportation Options

Don't have a car, no problem! We have a variety of shuttle options to take advantage of so you can just relax and enjoy the ride. Prices and pickup points vary.

Road Conditions

Stay up to date with current road conditions and driving restrictions by checking the Washington State Dept Of Transportation (WSDOT) website for Stevens Pass Hwy 2.

Driving Safety & Tips

During the winter, we can come into contact with some difficult driving conditions. Here are some tips to be prepared for winter driving.

We strongly recommend that vehicles driving up to Stevens Pass are outfitted with Snow/Winter tires, or at least All Season tires. We also encourage all drivers to carry tire chains. Conditions can change quickly and chains are often required during storms.

The WSDOT hosts information about winter driving that can be found here.

Parking

Stevens Pass has ten 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. We run shuttles to those satellite lots when main parking lots are full. For real time parking updates, follow @stevensupdates from your Twitter account.

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Step 3: What to do when you get here

Beginner Skiers & Snowboarders Ages 13+

Everything you need is available in the Rental Tech Center. This is 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. We do offer a learning Area only ticket at a significant discount that gives you access to the whole beginner area including the conveyor lifts and beginner chairlift.

Rental Equipment includes boots and a board (snowboarding) or boots, skis and poles (skiing). Helmets are recommended but are an optional extra. We offer a large fleet of rental equipment and can assist with any issues you might have. Gear Check (like coat check, for equipment) is complimentary when you rent from us directly.

We offer all kinds of lesson options from trained, professional coaches. Receiving coaching from a friend or family member isn’t recommended, as even expert skiers and riders likely haven’t been trained to teach. Even our instructors will have another instructor teach their loved ones to allow everyone to get the most out of their day and avoid straining relationships!

The Best Deals

We offer daily lessons for all ability levels for ages 3 and up. You can purchase the lesson only, or a package which includes rental equipment and a lift ticket at a discount. If you are new to the sport, the package is the way to go. Pricing for packages varies based on the day you are visiting with Peak Days being the most popular. The most affordable options exist on Off-Peak days when the resort is less busy, or in the evenings for ages 13+. To explore all our lesson programs check out our Search & Book page. 

Making Reservations

Reservations are highly recommended to guarantee a spot at the start time requested and expedite the check-in process. If you are planning a trip on a weekend or during a holiday, otherwise known as Peak Days, we advise reserving as much as a week in advance to ensure you get a spot. Our Teen and Adult Beginner Group Lessons start on snow at 10am and 1pm everyday, with additional and more affordable evening lesson times of 4pm and 6pm on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and select holiday dates. Saturdays and Sundays at 10am and 1pm are the most popular times. If you have flexibility, we suggest considering the alternative start times or coming mid-week to avoid the weekend crowds.

Those with a reservation will receive a confirmation email with more detailed information specific to their booking. Reservations must be made online or by calling 206.812.7387 at least 24 hours prior to your visit and our cancellation policy allows folks to book ahead with confidence.

Lodges

Skiing and riding consumes a lot of energy! We have nine restaurants and food outlets on mountain, ranging from snacks and espresso to fire-side dining and full-service bars.

We 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.

Safety

Advances in ski and snowboard equipment and instruction have made skiing and snowboarding significantly safer sports to learn and participate in. It is however, important to understand some of the basics and your responsibilities as a skier or snowboarder.

Be sure to review the Mountain Safety information prior to your visit.

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