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Nearby Destinations For Winter Escapes, Whether You Ski Or Not

There are plenty of areas to ski within driving distance of Seattle or, if you have the time, within train distance.

With autumn in full swing, it’s already time to start planning winter getaways. Here are a few options from KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley:

Hitting The Slopes

Maybe the most obvious wintertime activity in these parts is skiing and snowboarding. Western Washington and the surrounding region offer plenty of options. Close to the Puget Sound area, you’ll find Snoqualmie, Stevens Pass, Crystal Mountain and Mt. Baker.

Farther afield in British Columbia is Whistler, host to the 2010 Olympic skiing events.

And Sea-Tac Airport offers flights to plenty of famous ski destinations including Denver, Salt Lake City and more.

If You Don’t Ski

Not everyone in the same family skis. And some people just want a winter getaway without having to put sticks on their feet and slide down a hill, or over a meadow.

Brumley says the Methow Valley offers some great retreats where you don’t need anything more than a book and a cup of hot chocolate. (It was recentlyfeatured in Sunset Magazine. And in Leavenworth, you can try the Sleeping Lady Mountain Resort.   

Getting There

Traveling through the Cascades, or really any mountain range, in the winter can be harrowing. But there are some options if you don’t want to drive.

Amtrak has an overnight train that can get you to Whitefish, Montanafor the weekend. There, you’ll find a few options for skiing and wintertime R&R. There's a sale on right now, too. 

The Snow Train runs day trips to Leavenworth. It’s a scenic excursion that goes round-trip on the same day, and only once per week, so it’s and not really meant as a means of transportation to Leavenworth.

And you can take a train to Vancouver, B.C., where you’ll catch the Rocky Mountaineerfor Whistler.


Matthew Brumley is the founder of Earthbound Expeditions, which organizes group travel to destinations around the world for various clients, including KPLU. "Going Places" is our new travel segment exploring all aspects of getting from Point A to Point B. Tell us what you think about responsible travel, or suggest topics for future installations of this series. Have a travel hangup or a tip? Let us know in the comments.

Ed Ronco is a former KNKX producer and reporter and hosted All Things Considered for seven years.