It seems like just about everyone in the state’s been spending their winter weekends on the ski slopes. Or, at least, trying to: As anyone who’s lingered in bed a little too long before a day at the mountain knows, when the parking lots fill up, your skiing plans quickly go downhill. And not in the fun way.
But parking will no longer stand between you and the lifts (or between the ski areas and your lift ticket money): Stevens Pass announced Wednesday that it would join Crystal Mountain in providing weekend shuttle rides.
According to the Stevens Pass website, the shuttle will depart every Saturday and Sunday through March 1 from the Monroe Plaza (that’s in Monroe) at 7:30am, and you’ll have to hop on by 4pm to make it home. (You can get on half an hour early both ways, if you're the type.) It’ll cost you $20 for a round-trip ticket. That is the only kind of ticket. There is only one way down.
The move is, obviously, a small boon for the planet (shared transportation, baby!), as well as for anyone lacking the vehicle or skills needed to navigate a snowy pass. If this is you, please, take the shuttle.
The biggest win, though, lies in the unique camaraderie-building potential of the ski bus. Skiing itself isn’t exactly the most social sport, outside of chatting on the lift (who doesn’t love a captive audience?) and bonding over beer at the lodge’s communal tables. Most Washington ski days, in my experience, involve too much mouth and ear coverage to do much talking otherwise.
But on the ski bus, you’ll bond with strangers over a shared thermos of hot buttered rum. You’ll make eye contact as you both semi-judgmentally raise your eyebrows at the first person to use the coach bathroom. You’ll fall in love. You and your new lover will start carpooling, freeing up a couple of seats. The cycle will repeat itself.
Or, everyone will look at their phones the whole time and ignore each other. Either way, you'll definitely get to ski.