This article is about the ski area. For information on
the mountain pass along US Highway 2 where the ski resort is
located see Stevens
Stevens Pass Ski Area is a ski resort located at the crest of Stevens Pass in Washington, United
The base elevation is at 4,061 feet (1238
m) with the peak at . The Mill Valley "backside" of the resort
drops to an elevation of 3,821 feet (1165 m).
The ski resort was started by Don Adams
both passionate skiers in the winter of 1937-38. The
original lodge was constructed in 1937 by the Civilian Conservation Corps
government funded work force. In 1940 this lodge burned down.
Stevens Pass offers a nice mix of skiing from beginner to advanced.
Because there is no lodging at the base, Stevens is a day resort,
and therefore is busiest on the weekends, especially during ski
schools in January and the first half of February.
The base area offers access to the chairlifts Daisy, Hogsback,
Brooks, Skyline, and Big Chief, in rough order of difficulty. All
descriptions are facing the mountain.
Daisy is a beginner's lift that offers access to a nice mix of
beginner terrain directly in the middle of the ski area. Directly
to the right of Daisy is the high-speed quad Hogsback, offers
intermediate runs that end where Daisy unloads, and longer
intermediate runs on the right side of the lift. Further to the
right is Skyline, another high-speed quad that offers the longest
intermediate runs on the front side of the mountain, with a
smattering of advanced runs in skyline bowl, windy ridge, and
chutes that lead off the ridge to the right. Furthest to the right
is Brooks, an old fixed double lift that primarily provides access
to the terrain park. Finally, furthest on the left is Big Chief, a
fixed double providing access to a very consistent cruiser with
small bumps on the left side and an ungroomed slope leading to a
valley on the right side.
There are also 3 higher chairlifts on the front side. Skyline lift
provides access to Seventh Heaven lift, a fixed dual which features
several long bump runs off to the left, and several advanced chutes
to the right side of the left. Hogsback lift provides access to Tye
Mill lift, a fixed triple that provides access to the backside and
to nice intermediates on the right side, a few bumps in the middle
top, and, with a bit of effort, a few turns in Tye bowl to the
left. Local knowledge is recommended when traversing to the bowl as
there are some cliffs to worry about. Big Chief offers access to
Double Diamond lift, a fixed triple that provides access the
backside and also to Double Diamond, an experts-only run that at
one time was the steepest in-bounds run in the state. Travelling on
the backbone of the ridge to the right towards the top of Tye Mill
brings opportunities to take several steep, tight, and bumpy expert
runs back to the frontside.
While the slopes on the frontside of the area have been smoothed
over the years, the backside (named "Mill Valley" but universally
known as "the backside") provides a more natural environment with
lots of sparsely treed runs. The backside features two lifts that
load from the same immediate area. On the left is Jupiter, a fixed
quad that unloads next to the top of Tye Mill, providing access
back to the front side of the mountain. Heading left from the top
of the left first brings you to Corona bowl, a short steep bumped
expert run with a tight entrance through the trees. Continuing
straight brings you to Gemini, an intermediate run that flattens
out and winds under a set of high-tension lines. At the bottom, the
skier can continue down an intermediate run above the lift, or head
out to the left to either ski bump runs or take a cat track to the
bottom. To the right of Jupiter, a short run on the ridge or a
traverse across the face takes you into Aquarius, a long run the
eventually runs into the top of Gemini.
The second run on the backside is Southern Cross, a fixed triple
that is the same physical lift as Double Diamond on the frontside.
It provides access to the frontside via the Double Diamond run,
though most would prefer to ski along the ridge all the way back to
the top of Jupiter. Note that because the ridge dips near Jupiter,
getting to the frontside from the ridge requires some gentle
climbing. Immediately to the left of Southern Cross at the top is
Orion, a long and winding run, and it is also possible to ski under
the lift and even to the right of it. In fact, because of the slope
it is possible to ski most of the slope between Orion and the far
right of the backside.
Grooming on the backside depends on how much snow there has been
recently and skier traffic, but Gemini is usually groomed, Aquarius
is often groomed (though sometimes only the bottom half), and Orion
is rarely groomed. The stuff in between runs is never
Stevens Pass is somewhat unique in the ski school environment. In
addition to the ski schools run by the resort, the resort has for
decades sold concessions for independent ski schools to operate on
the mountain. Starting in 2002, the resort has reduced the number
of concessions that they sell (from 29 schools down to 6) in a move
to improve the revenue that they generate from the Stevens Pass ski
This move has generated a considerable amount of controversy
The following schools are operating during the 2007-2008 season:
The growth of population in the Seattle area has led to increased
use at all the Cascades ski areas in Washington, and Stevens pass
will reach their capacity on weekends during January and February.
In June 2007, a Master Plan
was submitted to the Forest
Service. All of this information is obviously tentative.
The changes can best be visualized by viewing the overhead view
of the existing and new
- Improve the mountain experience at Stevens Pass by diversifying
its terrain offering, including a variety of trail width and
aspect, as well as gladed terrain of varying difficulty.
- Increase the Comfortable Carrying Capacity of both the ski
trails and the ski lifts to better match actual demand, making use
of the majority of skiable terrain that is now underdeveloped.
- Balance the ski terrain skill max to match the market, within
the limitations imposed by the Stevens Pass terrain.
- Provide additional 'in bounds' and 'hike to' adventure skiing
- Provide a diverse range of gladed and other off-piste skiing
- Better manage lift accessed backcountry use.
- Improve guest satisfaction through lift and trail system
- Relive pressure and congestion in the base area with the
establishment of on-mountain facilities.
- Develop new terrain, as well as re-grooom (grade) and
re-vegetate existing terrain, with climate change predictions and
Visual Quality Objectives in mind.
- Provide a small-scale snowmaking system focused on the
super-pipe and facilities near the base area.
- Design new terrain development to bring a net gain in forest
health and diversity with the SUP area.
- Develop a summer lift accessed Mountain Bike product to satisfy
a growing demand, as well as other related, appropriate outdoor
- Plan for and develop other mountain products and facilities as
A Northern exposure area is planned to the left (east) of the
current Big Chief lift, with a Northern Exposure detachable quad
providing access to runs and glade skiing. This expansion would add
of total terrain.
Brooks will be upgraded from a double to a triple. If easy access
from the top of Skyline can be established, Brooks will be
shortened to end at the top of the terrain park.
A Grace Lakes area is planned to the right of the top of Brooks,
heading off downhill to the right (north), consisting of groomed
cruisers and gladed runs. The area would be served by a fixed quad
lift, and add of total terrain. Additionally, there would be new
adventure runs from the top of skyline down into the Grace Lakes
Big Chief would be upgraded to a fixed quad, and the loading area
would be moved slightly down the mountain to improve access.
A new fixed quad "The Katz" would be added to the right of Big
Chief, extending up and to the right.
Backside improvements happen at the right (east) side. To the
immediate right of Southern Cross, new trails and glades provide
expanded area, and a proposed permit expansion into Highlands Bowl
to the right of that would provide a backcountry experience for
those willing to do some hiking. A catch trail at the bottom would
return back to Southern Cross. This expansion would add of
There are no lift changes planned on the backside.
Base Area and Facilities
Solitude lodge would be constructed near the top end of
Smaller yurts would be constructed at the top of Tye mill, at the
top of the terrain park, and at the base of the lifts in the
The base lodges would be expanded and reconfigured.
A new mini-lodge and ticket area would be constructed at the base
of the Northern exposure lift.
470 new parking places would be added.
An overpass or tunnel from the parking lots on the other side of
- Base 4,061 ft (1238 m)
- Summit :
- Vertical: 1,800 ft (457 m)
- — Lift serviced
- Advanced/Expert: 35%
- Intermediate: 54%
- Beginner: 11%