Source Lake is popular among backcountry skiers for its challenging terrain and easy access. The skin from the Alpental parking lot takes around an hour, and with a little side-hilling skiing on the way out, you can ski straight to the car. Source Lake has everything from short glades to long chutes that are filled with cliffs. Source Lake lies at the base of many large avalanche run-outs, so be sure to check the avalanche forecast before heading out.
The tour to Source Lake is simple and relatively non-technical. Parking in the upper lot at Alpental Ski Area will shorten your hike and allow you to ski to your vehicle. Head out on the prominent skin track that passes the large water tower on your right. Use caution around the downhill traffic as you skin along the banks of the South Fork of Snoqualmie River. The cat track ends shortly before making the final push to Source Lake. After coming to the end of cat track, work your way south to gain a small bench that leads to Source Lake.
There are many lines and skiable aspects accessed through Source Lake. South of the lake you'll find steep skiing and cliffs that attract many skiers that leave the boundary of Alpental, while the area northwest of the lake contains much more moderate lines. For those looking to escape from weekend crowds, make the extra push to Snow Lake. Getting back to the parking lot requires staying high on the south side of the valley before meeting back up with the cat track. If done correctly, only a push or two is required to make it back to the lot.
Winter backcountry adventures can be dangerous outdoor activities that pose significant risks as conditions affecting safety (i.e. weather, snowpack stability, avalanche hazard) are constantly changing. Prior to engaging in these activities each individual should get the proper training to make safe decisions and be equipped to use avalanche safety resources and tools. Please visit our Backcountry Skiing and Avalanche Safety post to learn more.