Time to Play in the Snow!

White Pass Ski Area

Time to Play in the Snow!

January 8, 2024

Ready for Yakima Valley Winter Adventures?

We’ve been thinking SNOW and it worked! Wintertime in the Pacific Northwest is something special and with the recent weather it’s time for the winter adventures to commence! Here, around the Yakima Valley, we have majestic mountain views and alpine forest terrain ready for adventure just minutes away from Downtown Yakima. Even better, we can count on enjoying them throughout the winter under sunny skies with far fewer drizzly days than elsewhere in the Northwest.

Winter recreation areas are open now and specialty excursions are taking reservations. It’s time to plan your winter adventures. This winter, try something new in our corner of the PNW winter wonderland.

Snowy Slopes, Tracks and Trails

White Pass Ski Area

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 cozy 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. They offer equipment and retail shopping. Ski and snowboard instruction is available for all levels. Take note that full-day lift tickets should be purchased online.

Warm up with plenty of dining spots all around the mountain. You’ll have options for takeaway with expanded outdoor seating and indoor dining. Choose from hot breakfast, wood-fired pizza, grill specialties, bistro and pub fare, snacks, wine, craft beer, coffee, hot chocolate and more. Mid-mountain dining spots make for a perfect mid-run break. Check out the High Camp Lodge and the Mid-Mountain Yurt (opening soon).

White Pass Nordic Center
Photo by Shannon Mahre

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). They regularly post track conditions and tail maps on their site. The trail system recently saw an expansion, including an additional practice loop that makes the perfect progression trail after you master the original practice loop. In all, the Nordic Center maintains 26 kilometers of trails. Pets are allowed on the tracks, on leash, after 3:30 pm. Grab a snack back at the yurt after your excursion!

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. The tour encircles Leech Lake and traverses the Pacific Crest Trail. Tours include snowshoe rental and headlamps if needed. Even better, your snowy twilight tour is followed by light appetizers and beverages from the Nordic Cafe. The tour is recommended for adults. Youth ages 12 and up will be welcomed as long as they’re able to stay with the group. The tour lasts from 4:30 pm to 5:45 or 6 pm. Reservations are required to guarantee your spot.

A short drive up highway 410 takes you to the Bumping Area where you’ll find miles of cross country and snowshoe trails for unguided adventures.

Aspire and Achieve This Winter – Women’s Clinics & Classes

Have you been wishing to reach your next level on the slopes This winter, build confidence while learning new skills in a positive environment, taught by and surrounded by like-minded women. That’s the epitome of Girls with Grit, a local women’s adventure company owned and operated by Shannon Mahre. In the winter, she helps women get off of the blue runs on their skis, giving them the tools they need to progress in the bumps, power, crud, in the trees and more. 

She offers women’s intermediate and advanced ski clinics as well as Intro to Backcountry Ski Clinics at White Pass Ski Area. Each clinic will begin with coffee and a round robin followed by two hours of on-snow skills clinics. Lunch is next before Shannon and her co-coaches lead the crew back out for two hours of coach-led free-skiing. End the day with happy hour and high fives during a Q + A session before everyone heads home for the day. These clinics always fill up fast, so plan ahead and reserve your spot today!

In the warmer months, Shannon offers women’s mountain bike (beginner-advanced) clinics and lessons, river and lake stand up paddle board clinics, Cowgirl Camp, river SUP expeditions and women’s fly fishing clinics and guided tours. Watch @GirlsWithGrit for dates and details!

This year, Shannon and her co-coaches are once again offering women’s progression clinics and full-day women’s clinics. They always fill up fast, so plan ahead and reserve your spot!

Hill Climbing and Trail Blazing

All around Yakima, you’ll find 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. You’ll find more than 20 sno-parks in the greater Yakima/Greenwater area (Yakima County). MakeAhtanum State Forestyour first stop and hit the Ahtanum Sno-Park at Ahtanum Meadows. The largest sno-park in the region, it boasts 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 on hundreds of miles of trails. A scenic drive in the other direction takes you up highway 410 where you’ll find even more trails to ride.

Perhaps most important, parking for your rig and machines is abundant and free at most Yakima Valley hotels!

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