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4. Stevens Pass

A crowd favorite due to a fresh pow supply that rivals the backcountry skiing in Canada, Stevens Pass has kept skiers coming back for decades. In addition to Rainier, it’s some of the best terrain for for beginners to backcountry skiing. There’s a couple shorter ski tours 1000-1800 feet in elevation gain right off the road — mostly treed, not super steep, making it a nice place for avalanche classes and beginner ski tours. Because that area shares the ski area parking lot, logistics aren’t too tricky. Admittingly, it’s one of the places I venture to the least because the drive there is a windy, hard two-lane road that gets crowded due to it being less than two hours from Seattle.

Washington backcountry skiing
Stevens Pass in Washington is accessible backcountry skiing perfect for beginners. Photo by DRVMX licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

If you want some of the more advanced routes, then you have to seek out other trailheads. There’s different trailheads for different objectives, so logistics start to get a little bit more complicated. For more advanced terrain, the Nordic Center is a good jumping off point with a couple of really nice routes. Five miles from the pass are a couple of nice routes with deep downhills. You’ll need to purchase a lift ticket at the Stevens Pass resort. Heads up, they sell out fast.

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