Affordable skiing in the Northwest

May 5, 2004
Outside Magazine
Week of December 1-7, 1995

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Affordable skiing in the Northwest
Q: I'm going to be traveling from Alaska through Washington, Oregon, and pretty much any place that my savings will take me, but I need to know where there are some inexpensive places I can crash for the night. And what is the price range on these places? Preferably places near ski slopes.
Georgette McLeod
Juneau, AK
[email protected]

A: If you're looking for wide-open skiing and laid-back, affordable alternatives to high-end ski resorts, you can't do much better than the Pacific Northwest. Make Big White Ski Resort in Kelowna, British Columbia your first stop en route to the lower 48. Even though the opening of a new highway a few years ago brought Big White within easy reach of Vancouver day skiers, you'll have no trouble losing yourself on the sprawling, powder-heavy slopes, while the masses descend on Whistler to the west. In keeping with Big White's decidedly non-glitzy approach to skiing, accommodations here are wonderfully low-key. Book a room at the Graystoke Inn, where $43 a night will get you hotel-style lodging, a lift ticket, and ski rental discount. For reservations, call Big White central reservations at 800-663-2772.

From there, head down to Mount Baker Ski Area, just over the British Columbia border in north-central Washington. Tucked in the North Cascades between Mount Baker and Shuksan, this small but feisty ski area has runs that will make even the most hardened extreme skier swallow hard. With a 750-inch average annual snowfall, plenty of intermediate terrain, and inexpensive lodging, Mount Baker definitely merits a closer look. Double rooms at the Glacier Creek Motel and Cabins, about 17 miles from the mountain, start at a reasonable $42 per night (360-599-2991).

Other good bets for cheap digs and great snow: the Oregon Ark Motel at Mount Hood, Oregon ($31.80 per night/double occupancy; 503-622-3121) and the Hostel at Squaw Valley, California ($22 per bunk per night; 916-583-7771). For more information, check out our Winter Travel Guide.

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