Let’s all think SNOW! Wintertime in the Pacific Northwest is something special. Here, around the Yakima Valley, we have majestic mountain views and alpine forest terrain ready for adventure just minutes away. Even better, we can count on enjoying them throughout the winter under sunny skies with far fewer drizzly days than elsewhere.
Winter recreation areas will open as soon as they have enough snow, but while we all count the days; we can still explore nearby trails and plan ahead for winter adventures and excursions. This winter, try something new in our corner of the Northwest winter wonderland.
Snowy Slopes, Tracks and Trails
Take the short drive from Yakima to White Pass Ski Resort for your perfect wintertime day – followed by a local craft brew or Yakima Valley wine and dinner back in town. No matter your level, find ideal terrain, from rugged slopes for the expert skier to gentler tracks for those learning, all with stunning views. As with all resorts in the region, things look a bit different this year, so check their site for updates about health and safety. They still offer equipment and retail shopping, though occupancy may be metered on busy days. Ski instruction also remains available for all levels. Food service is available by on-site reservations, but may be a good idea to pack your favorite winter picnic.
If you haven’t explored adventures offered at the White Pass Nordic Center, let this be the year! The cozy yurt in a picturesque setting is your home base for alpine skiing, snowshoeing and fat bikes on the snowy tracks. If you need to rent equipment, they have you covered (even for fat bike excursions). Check out what’s new with the Nordic Center. They regularly post track conditions and tail maps on their site. Pets are allowed on the tracks, on leash, after 3:30 pm.
For a special evening, take a Twilight Snowshoe Tour! Explore the groomed trails and majestic views of the stunning Cascade Crest by moonlight (or headlamp on snowy nights) with Nordic Center guides. Some tours include yoga with expert instructor, Sara Washburn of Just Breathe Adventure Company. Tours include snowshoe rental and headlamps if needed. Even better, your snowy tour is followed by light appetizers in the Nordic Cafe. The tour is recommended for adults. Youth ages 12 an up will be welcomed as long as they’re able to stay with the group. The tour lasts from 4 pm to 5:15 or 5:30. Once we have enough snow, make your advance reservations online to guarantee your spot
Aspire and Achieve This Winter
Have you been wishing to reach your next level on the slopes? Maybe you want to build your skills for powder, crud, bumps, trees and steeps? Husband and wife team, Andy and Shannon Mahre of Mahre Athletic Development Company (MADE) and Girls with Grit have created experiences to inspire and help you achieve your next levels.
During the winter, they offer specialized skiing clinics and classes. Scheduled group clinics for intermediate and advanced skiers deliver a day of shedding and smiles. After the meet and greet, the ladies will head off with Shannon and the guys will head off with Andy for the morning ski workshop. Then, meet up together for lunch, ski as a group for a few runs, and then split up again. You can also schedule private clinics or two-hour private lessons or lesson for two skiers with Andy or Shannon. Classes for intermediate and advanced to expert skiers, focusing on moguls, steeps, crud, powder, pillows and trees, introduction to backcountry/side country and introduction to air (natural terrain).
NEW this year, the Mahres are offering monthly full-day and weekly half-day progression clinics!
In adherence with COVID guidelines, some changes will be made and group sizes will be limited. They always fill up fast, so plan ahead and reserve your spot!
Hill Climbing and Trail Blazing
Just a short drive from Yakima takes you to hundreds of miles for winter riding on your snow machines. You can ride for hours under reliably sunny skies, making the most of abundant snowfalls and a variety of terrain from gentle to extreme. Make Ahtanum State Forest your first stop to hit the Ahtanum Sno-Park at Ahtanum Meadows, the largest sno-park in the region, with miles of groomed trails through pristine alpine meadows with stunning high-country views. From there, continue to explore throughout the terrain all around the Valley.
Perhaps most important, hotel parking for your rig and machines is abundant and free!
Think SNOW and Dream
While we all wait for winter snows, make your plans for adventure in wide open Yakima Valley spaces under sunny skies. In the meantime, enjoy late fall hikes and the first dustings of snow on surrounding trails. As always, tag #yakimavalley to share your winter fun around the Valley.