Washington is not world known as a ski destination. One of the main reasons is because most of the resorts are located in the National Forests. Resorts need permission to expand from the national forest administration. I do not blame the National Forests for protecting the evergreen forests of Washington, but it means that our resorts are going to be overlooked.
My local mountain is Stevens Pass. It is hard to find places to stay on the mountain because frankly there are not many. The small mountain towns may have rentals or motels that serve the purpose, but they are a rare find. Drive further into Leavenworth, a touristy Bavarian Village, to find accommodation. I find it hard to justify paying for lodging when I still have to drive almost as long as it would take to get back to Seattle.
A weekend ski trip is usually followed by heading home and doing the drive again the next day, which can be taxing depending on the weather conditions and traffic. So let me share a little secret.
Stevens Pass Mountaineer’s Lodge
The Mountaineers is an organization to promote the outdoors. With a few lodges scattered over Washington, it is a great resource for a rustic weekend getaway. I have been to Meany Lodge, which is highlighted in my first season of Washington skiing, along with Stevens. Stevens Mountaineer’s Lodge is full of fun with many of its guests being regular guests and are instructors for the ski schools or are mountain hosts.
The lodge is only open on the weekends (Fridays through Sundays) and is operated by volunteers. Everyone, including guests, sign up for chores. For more information on costs, check out the lodging options on the Mountaineers website. Mountaineer members receive a discounted rate.
Walk into the main door into the gear area. This base floor has heated areas to dry your wet outer layers, along with boot dryers. No shoes are permitted on the other floors so pack your slippers or wool socks. The toilets and showers are also located on the ground floor, along with a ping pong table for entertainment.
The second floor is the main lounge area. With a variety of dining tables, couches, a fireplace, and the kitchen. It has a nice rustic feel. If you don’t feel like skiing the whole day, this is a perfect place to curl up and read a book.
The next two levels are the dorms. Similar to a hostel, there are many beds with limited bedding and three open bunk areas to choose from with mattresses. Some are gender specific and others are co-ed dorms. Since this is volunteer based, guests show up with sleeping bags and pillows to keep them warm through the night to minimize the work for the volunteers. Shared toilets and showers are also available.
The lodge is accessible to ski-in and ski-out of. Since you will be staying, Stevens stays open for night skiing on Friday and Saturday nights, where some of its runs are lit. Even though an eight hour pass may not cover night skiing, there is always in option to hit the slopes after most people hit their eight hour limit and head back to the city.
Breakfasts and dinners are served by the lodge chef family style. Dinner is available on Saturday night, and breakfasts are provided Saturday and Sunday mornings. There are announcements of rules and procedures that the volunteers cover during Saturday dinner. Before dinner, we do a chant in hopes that Ullr, a snow god, will dump a blanket of pow for fresh turns.
Everyone is on their own for lunches, but it is a nice place to get to if you are avoiding the lodge lunch crowds. If you have dietary restrictions, make sure to note it on your reservation. No alcohol is permitted, but the Foggy Goggle is accessible and usually has live bands playing.
I have stayed at the lodge twice now and really enjoy it. I hope to make it to Baker Lodge in the future, along with return visits. Don’t forget this option for your next Washington ski weekend!
Do you have a local lodging preference? Please share where in the comments!
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