State of Shred: Washington


Population: 6,664,195
State since: 1889
Total Resorts: 15

There is no better place for a snowboarder than Washington. Being an old and bitter man, sometimes I forget this. But it’s true: we’re at least tied for Number One In The Galaxy, when you factor in everything. We get the most snow, and our young mountains are steep. Nobody has a longer season. Most importantly, we’re the most American, with our state being the only one named after a President. There are four major ski areas of consequence, and I’m going to hip them to ya. (We have no “resorts,” despite what Crystal Mountain would have you believe.) Each has its advantages and disadvantages, but they’re all “best place ever” at least a dozen or so times a year. So listen up, and let me lay some truth on you beautiful bitches. I know what I’m talking about: I’ve been snowboarding at these fucking places forever, and I’m as truly Washingtonian as anyone can be: I was born in California.


Best Park: Stevens Pass.

Best Invisible Superpipe: Snoqualmie Pass. Going on two years strong, and getting better. Imaginary doublecorks all day!

Most Aggro Lift Line: Chair 2 at Alpental. Come check it out on a Tuesday morning for a couple hours. We can get into a fistfight.

Best Snow: Baker. It’s pretty much always pow. It really is.

Best Bar: TIE! Tap Room at Baker and Timberwolf at Snoqualmie. Opposite ends of the spectrum, I cannot choose.

Hottest Chicks: Crystal Mountain. Anyone who can afford a $73 lift ticket has the money for personal trainers and hot clothes. This is what makes a hot chick.

Hottest Dudes: Alpental. I’m in the Chair 2 line.

Biggest Outdoor Beer Can: Pac West (Hyak).

Best Place To Die: Out of bounds at Baker. Even four feet past a rope. You’ll die.

Best Contest: That one for groms at Snoqualmie. Baker Banked is rigged.

Best Vibe: Mt. Baker.

Worst Vibe: Crystal Mountain.

Worst Drive: Stevens Pass. Not as long as Baker or even Crystal, but the two-lane highway through horrible places like Startup and Monroe will have you wanting to kill yourself.

Best Drive: Snoqualmie Pass. One hour on an interstate highway. Jamming.

Best Bargain: Mt Baker (fuel costs notwithstanding).

(note: all driving times from downtown Seattle–the only acceptable place to live.)

Stevens Pass

Stevens Pass is a great place to ride a snowboard around.  Being a little higher than Snoqualmie, it usually gets better snow, and there’s something for everyone.  It can get crowded, but it’s big enough to spread the crowds around on most days.
They have the best park in the state (out of what–two?), Seventh Heaven has some good steep shit, and the backside’s great for wide open pow.  Hike a little bit and you can get some great backcountry runs too.  Not sure if you’ll see Matt Goodwill there anymore, but there are plenty of goatee dudes from Everett wearing helmets with flames on them.  And wakeboarders.  The terrain makes it the perfect place to feel good at snowboarding.

Fun Facts: Stevens Pass is the site of America’s deadliest avalanche.  It killed like a hundred people on a train, and wiped the area clean of apostrophes.  They used to give free lift tickets on your birthday.

Crystal Mountain

Couldn’t find a good riding video from Crystal, so here’s some death metal instead.

Everyone’s a big asshole at Crystal Mountain.  It has something to do with being close to the town of Enumclaw, famous for being the place where a dude died from horse sex.  Horse sex requires large assholes.  Gaping anal maws. It’s too bad, really, as Crystal Mountain probably has the best overall terrain in the state.  It’s the biggest area in Washington, and has two E-Z access backcountry zones that are ridiculous.  If it’s a clear day, you’ll trip on the sheer size of Mount Rainier sitting right on top of you.  I had my best day of last season at Crystal.  It was a sunny Saturday with a billion feet of fresh snow, and there were tons of people there, crowded beyond belief.  Most of them were assholes (me included).  I loved it.

Fun Facts: Crystal Mountain used to have signs that said “no jumping.”  They actually check for leashes.  Enumclaw has horsesex.  There’s a summertime Frisbee golf course off the motherfucking top!

Summit at Snoqualmie

Actually four areas in one, this is the spot where everyone in Seattle learned to ski.  Only an hour away on Interstate 90, it’s pretty much the hottest shit on earth–you can be a local and still live downtown.

Summit East is really Hyak which is really Pac West.  Big mudslide last season took out half the lifts (one), and they’re rebuilding.  It should be up and running by now, but I heard they didn’t line the lift poles up straight. Typical. This is the place to walk around with your dog, practicing converting your splitboard back and forth.

Summit Central (Ski Acres) has the park.  That’s probably the only reason you should go there.

Summit West is a giant flat wedge.  I’ve never figured out why they have more than two chairs, but they do.  This is the only ski area I’ve ever been at where you don’t have to turn.  Go here if you’re blind or three years old and want to learn how do that wedge ski thing.

A very wise man once described Alpental as a battering husband.  It hurts me over and over, physically and emotionally, but I always find myself running back into its arms.  I cannot really express my feelings for Alpental here.

Fun Facts: The corndogs from the stand by the gas station are actually very good.  Ducking ropes at Alpental is encouraged.  The draft beers will kill you–stick to bottled.

Mt. Baker

It’s the little things that make Baker so good.  So many weird little idiosyncrasies, like the quaint Canadians and their affinity for two dollar bills.  The way your phone doesn’t work in Glacier.  The fantastic death that looms (mostly) out of bounds.

Conditions-wise, it’s rare that Baker won’t be the best in the state that day.  There are always at least nine inches of new snow in the morning.  Always.  The only real problem with Baker is that everybody rips, and everybody’s been ripping the same stuff forever.  The tracks usually fill in within the next two runs, so it’s not too big of a deal.  But everyone’s pretty much a super secret squirrel ripper, and they’re headed to the same shit.  Make sure you don’t follow just anyone, either, because some of these motherfuckers are crazy.

Fun Facts: The entire town of Glacier has trench foot.  The Shuksan Arm is actually part of Alaska.

30 replies
  1. a
    a says:

    For footage of Crystal Mountain, you can watch some old Warren Miller movie with extreme skier Scot Schmidtdtdt skiing in their backcountry. They’re still talking about that one. That’s where Crystal is coming from.

    FUCK YOUUU says:

    summit has the best park. fuck stevens. stevens is for gay ass skiers and whack people. summit has way better features, its way more fun, and in the springtime we get some massive snow features goin. and we have better “compitions” because kRush kills it. fuck the rest

  3. NO fuuuuck youuu
    NO fuuuuck youuu says:

    No, summit’s park is a shit show. I will give you that stevens park can be inconsistent, but when it’s good it beats the shit out of summit’s. plus, you don’t have to go across the street to freeride.

  4. Fonzie
    Fonzie says:

    Agreed on Stevens having the worst drive. Wasn’t HWY 2 labeled the most deadly highway in the state? I still spend at least one day a weekend there. Started riding park at Central this year and I must say it is definitely better for jibbing. Stevens has nice jumps that aren’t too lippy like qualmie’s, but they aren’t using the whole park-designated area effectively. I think snoqaulmie has more than 2x the features in less area. I’ve heard that central has more high school aged haters but so far people I’ve chatted with were friendly

    No report on Crystal’s jib park?

  5. BenR
    BenR says:

    washington sucks…don’t come here. stay in cali, that line for chair two isn’t worth it…you should just skip it and ride at west. the snow here is terrible…all the time. I will punch you in the face if you come to washington.

  6. a
    a says:

    “HWY 2: State Sponsored Highway Of Death.” Those were the signs.

    I had to be shuttled away in an ambulance after talking to Crystal’s jib park dude. I had vomited in my mouth. Crystal Mountain should not be taken out of context. They’re horrible.

    To the clever guys with the reverse-psychology “WA sucks, stay away” maneuver: you’re easily 20 years too late. 30? But I like the sentiment.

  7. Piles
    Piles says:

    BOOOO on you al ex for even publishing some triflin ass garbage like this. Washington may be great, especially since my homies and i live there, but way to LET THE DAMN CAT OUT OF THE BAG. we are the most overlooked state for shred and some of us like it that way. DO NOT COME TO WASHINGTON.

    where did you get this crap about best park = stevens? currently the pipe is semi invisible, half the park is empty (brennans) and rails get run into by cat drivers on a regular basis, the tickets are over priced, and its raining all week.

    only part that makes sense is the chair 2 thing, definatly almost had to box a cannuck for exposing him to second hand smoke, did i mention he was on skiis


  8. Fonzie
    Fonzie says:

    Seriously though, staying out of washington is an honest recommendation. La Nina is fakin’ us out and we’re not getting any snow in the mountains. Plenty of rain though if that’s your thing!

  9. Kitzke
    Kitzke says:

    Whoever wrote this obviously took a poll from their wakeboard friends… and rides as much as people laugh at his jokes…

  10. cmac
    cmac says:

    Can you do an Eastern WA ski area smack down?

    My wife almost got in a fist fight with an old dude skiing in jean shorts at Crystal. True story.

    It’s hot as fuck in the Tap Room

  11. 425 for life
    425 for life says:

    you obviously dont ride park if you truly believe stevens’s park and better than snocompton’s!

    If you like a lots of ride on features, spaced out in ways that make no sense to “flow” thru a park, then stevens is your place. even their fabled “waterfall jump line” sucks dick this year. Snoqualmie at least has flow to their park with actually challenging features for everyone.

    Snoqualmie would have a pipe, but management decided it would be a smart financial move to let go the man who has cut the pipe there for the past forever go. real smart move you cheap asses.

    Alpental and Baker cannot be beat when it dumps. and alpental backcountry is the cats pajamas, when you actually know where/what youre doing.

  12. Ben Maki
    Ben Maki says:

    Go to summit to have fun, Stevens to hit sketchy jibs that have super gap skier lips, and crystal to get bitched at by snoby old skiers that hate all snowboarders. Crystals park would be sick but you have to drive for 2 hours from Seattle to get there, and you have to deal with assholes all day

  13. drexnefex
    drexnefex says:






  14. wain
    wain says:

    Hahaha.. funny as shit… but I’d rework that list a bit – The drive to Crystal on a weekend can make you want to rip off your fingernails. The vibe at baker would be much better if it wasn’t such a race to get pow lines there.. if you already didn’t realize, the average Baker rider is pretty damn good at shredding pow, which sorta sucks because it’s tracked in 10 minutes. As for the snow at Baker, its relatively wet and heavy, making it hard as shit to ride. But steep terrain combined with heavy snow creates kids who rip the hell out of any mountain

  15. Missy Bird
    Missy Bird says:

    I agree with your thoughts on Crystal. Amazing sick terrain & most folks there are assholes, especially The owner & Head ticket Nazi Jim Bailey. Their obsession with leash’s on snowboards is insane. In the 4 seasons I worked there I saw thousands of runaway skis… & 2 runaway boards ( both of which were rentals with those crapass click in bindings in the possession of a Japanese tourist). I was actually tackled by a ticket checker cuz he thought I didn’t have a leash. I did,he got punched, I wasn’t offered my position back the next season. And the dude building their park is a DOUCHE!! If I wasn’t so in love w/the terrain I would never go there again. & really.. Head to Mammoth/June.. Multiple 5 ft. Dumps all season.. Lots o rain in the great NW!

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