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The Lanham Lake trail under snow.

Image: Craig Romano

It's the ultimate secret to surviving rainy Seattle winters: We simply close our eyes and picture what happens to all that precipitation in the mountains. Now that snow has returned (after a year with barely any), here's how to get the most out of winter travel:

• There's ice on the mountain passes, and "chains required" doesn't mean quite what you think.

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Snow caves don't dig themselves.

Image: Paul Milbourn

• Winter weather rates an overnight in a lodge with a giant fireplace, hot swimming pool, or river view, down comforter optional. 

• The truly bold skip the amenities and build a snow cave for epic winter camping.

• Even hippie environmentalists can get hooked on snowmobiling (really).

• Snowshoeing is no harder than hiking, and the route to Lanham Lake is a relatively easy first outing. Don't forget the hot chocolate.

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