Places to Ski in the Cascades for the day

Planning a ski trip to the Cascades?
Places to Ski in the Cascades for the day

It’s true that a ski vacation during these recessionary times can prove expensive, especially if you’re heading to some of the most popular ski destinations in the in the Pacific Northwest such as Crystal Mountain and Stevens Pass. If you’re looking for an inexpensive ski trip in the Northwest, you’ll find that the Cascades (particularly the central/southern section) boast plenty of affordable options.

To juggle your mind, here it’s some ideas on ski destinations in the Cascades where novice and expert skiers can enjoy everything from downhill skiing to cross-country skiing:

Crater Lake national park

Crater Lake national park is unofficially one of the most underrated places to ski in the Cascades, though skiers in the know don’t mind that!

Crater Lake doesn’t draw huge crowds like other ski destinations further north of Oregon so it’s a popular spot among experienced back-country skiers who love skiing around the rim of Crater Lake. You won't find groomed trails in Crater Lake but don’t let that put you off if you’re a novice skier since there are many flat easy trails to be found like Wizard Island and around Mazama Campground.

The most demanding cross-country trail in Crater Lake is definitely Dutton Creek trail, which starts in Rim Village (over 1,000ft) all the way down to Annie Spring station (about 5000ft).

You can go country-skiing in Crater Lake for the day if you wish, though Crater Lake is a also a nice place for a low-key ski trip because of the charming Rim Village. This village has a lodge - Crater Lake Lodge, as well as an observation station, public showers and restrooms.

Willamette Pass Ski Area

Willamette Pass is located about an hour's drive from Eugene, and it’s without a doubt, one of the cheapest places to ski in the Cascades. Willamette Pass isn’t just more affordable than other popular resorts up in Oregon and Washington State but it also draws fewer crowds.

In fact, Willamette Pass is a good place for starting out skiing and snowboarding, and it's also great for families looking for a “no-thrills” skiing vacation. This isn’t knocking Willamette Pass since it’s one of the best value ski areas in the southern Cascades. It’s also worth mentioning that Willamette Pass offers night and Nordic skiing, as well as tubing and snowshoeing.

Mt Shasta Area

Mt Shasta is a fantastic area that has to be added to the list of places to ski to the Cascades because it offers several skiing opportunities. Mount Shasta is one of the most pristine areas in the Cascades and a fantastic  backcountry skiing destination. You’ll find dozens of backcountry skiing routes in and around Mt Shasta such as Hotlum Glacier and Avalanche Gulch. Saying this, the safest routes are located on the lower ridges of Avalanche Gulch.

There is also a lodge resort near Mt Shasta (Mt. Shasta Resort) and a ski resort park (Mount Shasta Ski Park), which offers night skiing, dozens of ski runs and terrain parks for all types of skiing level ability.

Mt Ashland Ski Area, Ashland

Mt Ashland Ski Area is not far from the border with California and it’s located as south of the Cascades as you can go in Oregon. Mt Ashland Ski Area is a small ski area but it’s an excellent spot to enjoy low-impact skiing and hone your riding skills on the open powder fields.

Diamond Lake resort, Mt Bailey

Diamond Lake is located a short drive from Crater Lake national park and it’s another ski destination worth considering for a fun day out in the snow. Diamond Lake boasts a cat-skiing operation, as well as snowmobiles, snowboards, snowshoes, sleds, and tubes for hire.

Lassen Volcanic national park, Shasta

If you’re planning to bring your own ski gear and are looking for places to ski in the Cascades for a fun day out, Lassen Volcanic would be a sound bet! Lassen Volcanic is located east of Redding and it’s a great place to visit with friends and family since little kids can enjoy plenty of fun in the snow.

You can also enjoy Nordic skiing along the park's challenging telemark runs, as well as ranger-guided snowshoe walks.

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