The eastern side of Washington is often an afterthought for many when it comes to skiing. However, the land east of the Cascade Mountains isn’t just for farming, but rather a mecca for ski enthusiasts.
Sitting just a few miles west of the Washington-Idaho border, lies the city of Spokane. The city is the second largest in Washington, with around 575,000 people in its metropolitan area.
The ski resorts surrounding Spokane, are sure to give the resorts in western Washington a run for their money. Overall, the mountains on the east side tend to provide skiers with drier powder and many more bluebird days. The far shorter lines easily make up for the less annual snowfall of the eastern mountains.
Skiers and boarders have a multitude of mountains within two hours of the city. Plus, with the eastern side of the state being far less populated, the mountains never see the size of crowds that now dominate the west side of Washington. Although the eastern half of Washington has hot springs.
Whether you’re looking for easy bunny runs, expert chutes, and bowls, or cross-country trails, the mountains around Spokane have got you covered!
Here are the 6 nearest ski resorts near Spokane, Washington in order of driving proximity:
Mt. Spokane – Mead, WA: 31 miles | 1 hour
The closest mountain to the city of Spokane, Mt. Spokane Ski & Snowboard Park, lies just an hour to the northeast. The mountain is known for being home to the world’s first double chairlift back in 1947 and has a rich family history, dating back to the 1930s.
The base elevation of the mountain sits at 3,818 feet with the summit reaching 5,889 feet. The mountain covers just over 1,700 acres of land, with a majority of the runs being rated as blue. Much of the skiable land was originally located on the west side of the mountain, though nowadays, most runs are on the east side.
Mt. Spokane has been offering night skiing since 1967 with multi-lifts open after the sun goes down. The close proximity to the city makes the mountain a bit more crowded on the weekends, but the night skiing allows for a post-work adventure during the week.
The east-facing runs make for icier afternoons so the earlier you can hit the slopes, the better! Being east of the Cascade Mountains provides the mountain with a decent amount of snow with far more bluebird days than mountains found on the west side of the state.
29500 N Mt Spokane Park Dr, Mead, WA 99021 (Map) | (509) 238-2220
Silver Mountain – Kellogg, ID: 70 miles | 1 hour
Located in the northwest section of Idaho lies Silver Mountain. The mountain is home to the world’s longest gondola stretching 3.1 miles and gaining 3,400 feet over the course of twenty minutes. The route takes skiers from the town of Kellogg, located at the base of the mountain, up near the summit of Kellogg Peak.
While this impressive gondola may draw people to the mountain, it is the terrain that keeps them coming back. Silver Mountain has 1,600 skiable acres across two mountains; Kellogg Peak to the east at 6,297 feet, and Wardner Peak at 6,205 feet to the west.
The mountain has seven lifts with 73 runs, along with backcountry bowls. Despite the expansive network of trails, Silver Mountain doesn’t offer night skiing, though they open up 50 acres of night skiing on New Year’s Eve.
Similar to other mountains in the area, Silver Mountain receives 300 inches of annual snowfall, a drier powder compared to resorts on the western side of Washington. Aside from the numerous trails, Silver Mountain also offers a snow tubing park and indoor water park. In the summer months, the mountain transforms into a mountain biking and hiking paradise.
610 Bunker Ave, Kellogg, ID 83837 (Map) | (866) 344-2675
49° North – Chewelah, WA: 60 miles | 1.25 hours
Just over an hour north of Spokane lies 49° North Mountain Resort. The mountain covers 2,325 acres across a diverse and unique mountain landscape. The summit sits at 5,774 feet with an average of 301 inches of average snowfall per year.
49° North Mountain Resort gets its name from being just an hour south of the 49th parallel, which marks the Canadian-United States border. The mountain opened later than many of the surrounding ones, with the first chairlifts being built in 1972.
Throughout the mountain, there are 82 marked trails along with 1 yurt sitting 10 miles out for the ambitious Nordic skier. Much of the trees were thinned back in the late 1990s allowing 49° North to offer some of the greatest variation and magnitude of tree skiing at a resort in the northwest.
Throughout the mountain there are numerous expert shoots, allowing skilled skiers to explore the powder amongst the trees. The entire resort lies within Colville National Forest which results in skiers having unobstructed views of the surrounding protected forests. Nordic and snowshoeing trails are available just off the main mountain, with routes for varying levels of skill.
When the mountain isn’t covered in snow, 49° North offers an extensive network of mountain biking trails.
3311 Flowery Trail Rd, Chewelah, WA 99109 (Map) | (509) 935-6649
Schweitzer – Sandpoint, ID: 84 miles | 1.75 hours
The largest mountain near Spokane, Washington lies just over the border in northern Idaho. Schweitzer Mountain, the largest resort in the state, stretches 2,900 acres with 92 trails plus open bowl skiing. The summit of the mountain sits at 6,400 feet with an average of 300 inches of snowfall.
The high peak allows skiers to have panoramic views of Washington, Idaho, Montana, and Canada. Located in the rugged Selkirk Mountains, Schweitzer Mountain Resort is often rated as one of the top resorts in America for Tree Skiing. There are also three major terrain parks located on the mountain.
While the inbound trail system is impressive, the mountain also offers twenty miles of maintained Nordic trails for cross country skiing, snowshoeing, and fat-tire biking. Just outside of the mountain, companies like Selkirk Powder, offer skiers the chance of a lifetime with heli-skiing, cat skiing, and backcountry guided trips.
Whether you’re looking for an adventure close to Schweitzer, or a more rugged adventure north of the Canadian border, the Selkirk Mountains have got you covered. The expansive amount of terrain, coupled with short lines, make Schweitzer worth the trip.
Since the mountain does not offer night skiing, opting to go for a weekday adventure can help ensure you can explore the mountain without having to wait in line. The surrounding hills are full of backcountry routes, perfect for finding incredible untouched powder runs.
10000 Schweitzer Mountain Rd, Sandpoint, ID 83864 (Map) | (208) 263-9555
Lookout Pass – Mullan, ID: 94 miles | 1.75 hours
Located an hour and forty-five minutes east of Spokane lies the small resort of Lookout Pass Ski Area. The resort straddles the Idaho-Montana border with part of the resort being in each state. Though small, Lookout Pass Ski Area receives over 400 inches of snowfall annually, nearly 100 more inches than nearby mountains.
The summit of Lookout Pass sits at 5,650 feet with views of the Idaho Panhandle and western Montana. The mountain has four lifts and 34 trails with nearly 30 percent of them being rated as advanced or expert.
The skiable acres have tripled in size since 2003, with plans of further expansion. Lookout Pass has been rated as one of the most affordable and family-friendly ski resorts in the Pacific Northwest. One of its many draws is due to the free ski school for kids, an unheard-of offer at most resorts.
The unique position of the mountain allows for a plethora of dry powder days, easily accessible right off of Interstate 90. The small mountain is worth a visit, especially when you learn that their ticket prices are nearly half the cost of bigger resorts in Washington, Idaho, and Montana.
I-90 Exit, 0, Mullan, ID 83846 (Map) | (208) 744-1301
Bluewood – Dayton, WA: 147 miles | 2.75 hours
Bluewood Mountain sits just four miles north of the Washington-Oregon border in the southeastern section of Washington. With a base elevation of 4,545 feet, Bluewood has the second-highest base elevation of any ski resort in the state.
The mountain has just 400 skiable acres with 24 trails and four chairlifts. Despite being a smaller mountain, Bluewood Mountain does offer one terrain park as well as six backcountry runs. Since the mountain is smaller than most, it is only open five days a week; Wednesday – Sunday.
The mountain is known for its calm atmosphere, open spaces, and for being one of the few resorts in the country that is completely self-sufficient. All of the energy needed to power the mountain is done so through diesel-fueled generators.
Though a bit farther from Spokane than other mountains, this small resort offers cheap tickets and the promise of far fewer crowds.
Bluewood Rd, Dayton, WA 99328 (Map) | (509) 382-4725
Spokane is surrounded by a variety of ski resorts, seemingly endless backcountry runs, Nordic trails, snowshoeing, and even the opportunity to try out heli-skiing. Whether you’re looking for a small mountain or wanting to take a trip on the world’s longest gondola, don’t forget to book your next ski vacation to eastern Washington.
Short lines and sunny skies are sure to make every turn just a little bit sweeter!