When Mike Yost passes driveways in and around North Bend, he notices that many homes have two vehicles parked outside: a commuter car and something a bit more rugged—a “snow car,” the sales manager at Pro Ski and Mountain Service calls it.
The North Bend outdoors shop caters to the city’s many adventurous locals and visitors. Auspiciously situated in the foothills of the Cascades and along I-90, North Bend is home to Rattlesnake Ridge and just a short drive from countless other recreational destinations for hiking, kayaking, paddleboarding, mountain biking, and, maybe most of all, skiing. After work ends for the day, Yost can hop on the freeway and reach the Summit at Snoqualmie in just 25 minutes, grabbing some laps before heading home.
With many employers adopting remote or hybrid schedules, easy mountain commutes like Yost’s are all the more attractive to home shoppers. “If you’re driving five or 10 minutes to work every day, and then driving an hour, hour and a half to get to recreation on the weekends, you can kind of flip that script around,” he says.
Climate-conscious newcomers can find carpoolers through local chapters of groups like the Mountaineers and Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance. The latter not only leads trips to trails but also forges new ones; the association has teamed up with the Washington Department of Natural Resources to create more than 17 miles of paths just a short drive from North Bend.
Yost settled in the city two decades ago. He grew up traveling to the mountains every weekend from Bellevue, but he likes the closer view of them better. “You look up at any point in the city, you see Mount Si, you see Rattlesnake Ridge, you see Mount Washington, you see all these cool peaks, just spiking out of the ground. I want that.”