Remember powder? It’s just one major purchase away.

Photo: Garrett Grove

Pay no attention to the sun outside your window; it’s ski pass time. Early-bird prices on season passes disappear soon, so decide just how active you’re going to be this winter (or just how often you plan to play hooky from work).

Crystal Mountain
Best For: Snow nuts that need the massive 2,600-acre mountain, 10 lifts, and one still-sort-of-new gondola to whisk them up to the Rainier view at Crystal’s summit—you know who you are.
Best Deal: The Bronze Pass ($699); you’ll rely on the two high-speed chairs, not the gondola, to get to the top.
Big Spender: The Gold Peak to Summit Pass ($949), with gondola access and unlimited skiing at The Summit at Snoqualmie.
Prices Increase: October 1

Mission Ridge
Best For: Anyone looking to escape the wet snow or crowds of the Western slopes; this Wenatchee-area mountain gets dry snow and fewer Seattle skiiers.
Best Deal: The Basic Pass ($429.99) is good for skiing, local transportation, and five free tickets to White Pass, and second-year buyers get a decent discount.
Big Spender: The Unlimited Pass ($499.99) includes 10 hot waxes.
Prices Increase: November 1

Mount Baker
Best For: Those needing few frills (the chairs are all non-express quads) and few tykes; there’s no child care at this mountain due to lack of demand.
Best Deal: Adults pay $644.11 for unlimited use.
Big Spender: There’s just the one option, though for an extra $15 you can get unlimited equipment check.
Prices Increase: November 1

Stevens Pass
Best For: For those who need more than Snoqualmie’s modest heights but can’t handle the behemoth that is Crystal, Stevens can hit the sweet spot in between.
Best Deal: The Advantage Pass ($69) only gets you one day of skiing, but after that you’ll receive $7 to $12 every daily ticket you buy—and those will be billed to you automatically at the lift, keeping you out of ticket lines.
Big Spender: The Everyday Season Pass ($559) gets noticeably more expensive after pre-season sales—it goes up to $909.
Prices Increase: November 1

The Summit at Snoqualmie
Best For: You know people that cut out of work early on Wednesdays to go skiing, making everyone else jealous? Maybe you should become one of those people.
Best Deal: The Big S Night pass ($219) is the cheap option for after-workers, and it’s good at all four ski areas, Monday through Saturday 4pm–10pm.
Big Spender: The Big S Unlimited Gold ($949) gets you on every mountain, including Alpental, at any time, unlimited Nordic access, and five tickets to Crystal.
Prices Increase: September 16

White Pass
Best For: You have to see how this mid-size mountain doubled in size last year; plus, the Rainier views rival those at Crystal. Those living south of Tacoma will definitely find the drive worth it.
Best Deal: The Season Pass ($519) also comes with five days of skiing or riding at Mission Ridge.
Big Spender: Not applicable; there’s only one level of pass.
Prices Increase: November 1

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