Which mountain in Washington from 27th Dec - 1st Jan - Snowboarding Forum - Snowboard Enthusiast Forums
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Old 11-09-2009, 04:36 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Which mountain in Washington from 27th Dec - 1st Jan

If you had a choice to snowboard (beginner-intermediate) to board somewhere in Washington for the first time where would it be? I'll be studying abroad near Vancouver but i'll be landing in Seattle on Christmas day. My intention was to just buy snowboard gear and head up to Vancouver but i might as well check out a mountain in Washington. I have to leave for Vancouver on the 1st Jan which leaves me about 4 nights to play, if i can buy all my gear in time. Speaking of which, where are some good places to stay in Seattle and good places to try and buy snow gear?

I'd preferably like to go somewhere that isn't far off and that has lodging. A place where i can get there without owning/renting a car and also once i'm there i can get around cheaply.

I'm a beginner-light intermediate that likes to free ride, so any runs that aren't too steep or narrow but fun will do the job.

I could go Stevens but that requires a car from what it seems the nearest lodge is 1 hour away. Crystal is meant to be overcrowded and from what i understand also doesn't have nearby lodging. I'm really suprised how the nearest lodging for any of these mountains can be so far away. How do you locals do it?? That being said, maybe i've overlooked something and would like to hear from someone whose been around these places and has an idea how a foreigner can manage by himself in Washington's mountains.
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Old 11-09-2009, 05:49 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Most hills are ski areas, no real resorts with lodging, cheapest is to rent a car/van/truck for 4-5 days to sleep in...winter sleeping bag; eat corndogs and drink microbrew. For gear there's tons of shops but probly best deals (except boots) are via craigslist. From south to north; crystal, apental, stevens and lastly baker...depending on the weather just hit where its dumping. If baker is going off just go there and sleep in the parking lot and if you can't get gear in time just rent some from the performance shop at baker then you can demo and change out boards through out the day...they have a reasonable selection of higher end boards. But be warned those are prime family gaper days...still probably not too bad. Baker is about a 2 hr drive to vancouver ca.

if you ar staying seattle, there still might be an "international youth hostel" and you could check with university ride boards, craiglist or one of the sb shops to perhaps catch a ride to the hill.

btw its wet in the pnw...bring at least 10,000mm (20,000mm is better) gortex/rain gear

if you you do bellingham/baker its pretty easy to hitch hike up and down 542 mt baker hwy. if you get out on the road before 7:30 in the am...earlier is better.

don't know how you are crossing the boarder and how much stuff you have...but if doing baker...just rent a car to go to the hill then before going to canada, if by bus or amtrack train, just return the car to the bellingham airport, take a $10 taxi to the train/bus station and then enter canada on the train...make sure your papers are in order!.
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Old 11-09-2009, 09:10 AM   #3 (permalink)
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haha i'd love to do something like that if i had the courage to drive left hand for the first time and driving through roads in the winter while recovering from jet lag. I never had experienced with extreme road weather conditions that you guys probably get up there. I heard people getting into some mean accidents and can be fatal if you don't know what you're doing. But thanks for the heads up i didn't know Baker had shops, or anything for that matter. The way these ski areas are described sounds like it's far from any village community with no shops or restaurants. Yea so i dunno what to expect but do the other mountains also let you demo out boards? And by demo is that implying it's free to try? How does that work?

Yea baker sounds really tempting but i think it might be too high for my skill level. I think i should start off first by easing my way into american snow and start practising on the green runs. That's probably extreme but the only experience i have in total is about a week in hakuba + a few days at my local mountain, which pales to anything in comparison in north america. Plus i missed out on last season so i'm gonna be really rusty. Anyway Baker is actually closer to vancouver so i could just go there after i'm confident.

Anyway your advice is food for thought and maybe it is possible... it sounds like it could be a great way to start a giant journey ahead of me or it could go horribly wrong leaving me with a cast and having the worst way to experience a student exchange

I'll def try get in touch with the uni crowd and give craigslist a shot. I'll probably check out evogear or REI since the prices for new stock is pretty good. Are shops normally open days after christmas? I'll try not to spend over -/+$800 usd for clothes and equipment. Do you think that would be enough for a decent rig?
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Old 11-09-2009, 09:45 AM   #4 (permalink)
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We have a chain of shops called "Play It Again Sports" I suggest going to one of them and buying from their used collection. You'll get a good board and bindings there for much cheaper than at a regular retailer and without the hassle of craigslist.

Washington doesn't really do the "resort destination" thing when it comes to ski areas. The resorts, if you can call them that, all serve food and rent gear if needed but there aren't any I know about that have lodging close enough to walk to the chair lifts. If you don't have a car, you'll need to figure out alternate transportation. I believe you can catch a bus from Seattle to ride at Snoqualmie Pass. The bottom of this page lists some options: Summit at Snoqualmie / Directions. Unfortunately Summit at Snoqualmie isn't our most impressive offering but it would probably suit your needs when it comes to easy / intermediate runs.

FYI: Demo equipment is not free, it consists of the newest offerings from the manufacturer on site. For a significantly higher price than a standard rental, you can try out the newest boards. If you like the board you can buy it usually with the cost of the Demo reduced from the sales price.
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