Did you know that some of the best Ski racing starter programs in the country are right here in the Northwest? Snoqualmie Summit is just 60 mins outside of downtown Seattle, and for beginning skiers and racers, the Pass has some excellent programs.
I remember my mother telling me about being on Team TAS- Team Alpental Snoqualmie - back in the late 60’s. Not sure that was the exact name back then, but it was close. In the 80’s, I was on the TAS team and then went and skied in College in Colorado. I remember learning how to ski on ice and crud right here at the Pass. I also remember going to Colorado and many other states to ski and remember thinking how much easier it was to ski in all these new places because of the lessons I learned from the Pass.
Snoqualmie Pass has many different types of Skiing programs and activities. Most are specifically focused on beginners and racers. My kids are now on the Team Alpental Snoqualmie team and are loving it. Steven’s Pass and Crystal mountain also have great programs, but each of these Mt’s is at least 45 mins to an hour further in travel time if you’re in the Seattle area. Mission Ridge, truly a hidden gem in the state, also has some great programs. Every heard of Loup Loup? It's probably not a one lift ski hill that is truly a sensational mountain for what it is. We raced there last year, and it was probably the biggest surprise I’ve had. To put this into perspective, I’ve skied in Minnesota on a farm that had two lifts in a valley that was literally a cow pasture for most of the year. I’ve also skied at places like Red Mt B.C. in the early 90’s where the diesel-powered chair lifts pulled you up on a single seated wood chair that today would be shut down for a dozen or more safety reasons. Not that Loop Loop has any of these issues, but it is out in the middle of the Okanogan and not anywhere close to where you’d expect, but on a sunny day, it's a great experience.
Having skied in just about every area in the Country except the East Coast, it's still surprising to me how little fanfare the NW gets for its skiing. Another fun fact, how many ski resorts are in the state of Washington? Did you know that there are 20 ski resorts in WA state! Part of it is in our local culture, but I think part of it is also in the media coverage.
Locally, we don’t promote races very well, apres skiing is barely a thing, and there are rarely any large events going on around the ski areas that draw crowds. Unlike Colorado, Utah, Whistler, and even Montana, the NW area seems overly quiet about its skiing and almost goes out of its way to not promote it.
So why is this a bad thing? Well, if you've been in any of these other areas where skiing is a "Big Thing," you understand the excitement, the competition, the culture, and the music that surrounds the skiing world that's just missing in the Northwest. To use a NW analogy, it's like the football season; High school, College, and the professional teams all combined to present an annual experience that many people look forward to.
I’m not sure about you, but I think it's time to change this.
Let's get together and get this started.