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Best Winter Adventure Destinations

11.22.16

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Best Winter Adventure Destinations

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  • Hidden Lake, with plenty of good skiing all around.- Best Winter Adventure Destinations
  • The Hidden Lake Lookout.- Best Winter Adventure Destinations
  • Big Four Ice Caves beneath winter snowpack.- Best Winter Adventure Destinations
  • Lake Elizabeth from the south shore.- Best Winter Adventure Destinations
  • Twin Lakes in the winter.- Best Winter Adventure Destinations
  • Looking toward the trail to Upper Melakwa Lake.- Best Winter Adventure Destinations
  • View of Mount Rainier (14,411 ft) from the Edith Creek Basin Trail.- Best Winter Adventure Destinations
  • View of Mount Rainier (14,411 ft) from the Edith Creek Basin Trail.- Best Winter Adventure Destinations
  • Royal Basin offers plenty of lower angle slopes to mitigate wet-slide danger.- Best Winter Adventure Destinations
  • At Hidden Lake Lookout, lights from Seattle, Mount Vernon, and Bellingham.- Best Winter Adventure Destinations
  • Expect a long day up to Hidden Lake Lookout.- Best Winter Adventure Destinations
  • Paradise Glacier.- Best Winter Adventure Destinations
  • Fun pillows can be found on the bottom third of Lake Susan Jane Bowl.- Best Winter Adventure Destinations
  • Skinning in to Eightmile Lake.- Best Winter Adventure Destinations
  • Beautiful, serene winter scenes near Lake Wenatchee.- Best Winter Adventure Destinations
  • Lake Wenatchee.- Best Winter Adventure Destinations
  • Leavenworth Ski Hill Trails.- Best Winter Adventure Destinations
  • Leavenworth Golf Course Trails.- Best Winter Adventure Destinations
  • Good views from the trails at Hyak Sno-Park.- Best Winter Adventure Destinations
  • Lizard Lake at Stampede Pass.- Best Winter Adventure Destinations
  • Mount Rainier (14,411 ft).- Best Winter Adventure Destinations
  • Mount Rainier (14,411 ft) from Reflection Lakes.- Best Winter Adventure Destinations
  • Deer Creek Loop at White Pass Nordic Center.- Best Winter Adventure Destinations
  • Heading down the mile marker 75 sledding hill.- Best Winter Adventure Destinations
  • Paradise Snowplay Sledding Area.- Best Winter Adventure Destinations
  • Sloqet Hot Springs.- Best Winter Adventure Destinations
  • North Shoulder, Callaghan Country.- Best Winter Adventure Destinations
  • Journeyman Peak, Callaghan Country.- Best Winter Adventure Destinations
  • Journeyman Peak.- Best Winter Adventure Destinations
  • Journeyman Lodge Snowshoe.- Best Winter Adventure Destinations
  • Mainline Trail, Callaghan Country.- Best Winter Adventure Destinations
  • Meadows and Solitude Loops, Callaghan Country.- Best Winter Adventure Destinations
  • Snow crystals from an overnight freeze at Clear Lake Butte.- Best Winter Adventure Destinations
  • Clear Lake Butte Lookout.- Best Winter Adventure Destinations
  • Looking west to Mount Hood from Fivemile Butte.- Best Winter Adventure Destinations
  • Cloud Cap Road.- Best Winter Adventure Destinations
  • Perfect snow through the old-growth forest en route to the White River Hut.- Best Winter Adventure Destinations
  • Inside the Ray Garey Cabin at Teacup Lake Sno-Park.- Best Winter Adventure Destinations
  • Tumalo Falls from a lower viewpoint.- Best Winter Adventure Destinations
  • Cross-country skiing near the Gold Lake Shelter.- Best Winter Adventure Destinations
  • Ten Mile Sno-Park warming hut near Paulina Falls.- Best Winter Adventure Destinations
  • Paulina Falls.- Best Winter Adventure Destinations
  • Tamanawas Falls.- Best Winter Adventure Destinations
  • The Devils Peak Lookout against a cloudy night sky.- Best Winter Adventure Destinations
  • View from Black Butte of Broken Top (9,177 ft) and the Three Sisters.- Best Winter Adventure Destinations
  • Big Lake can still be frozen well into the spring.- Best Winter Adventure Destinations
  • Salt Creek Falls.- Best Winter Adventure Destinations
  • Ice Lake with Craig Mountain to the left.- Best Winter Adventure Destinations
  • Views from the Watchman lookout tower are unbeatable.- Best Winter Adventure Destinations
  • Near the Watchman, water frozen in time clings to the rocks on the side of Rim Road.- Best Winter Adventure Destinations
  • At Garfield Peak there are huge views across the meadows if the clouds are far away.- Best Winter Adventure Destinations
  • A bit of exposure on Mount Hood's West Crater Rim.- Best Winter Adventure Destinations
  • At Gunsight Ridge, looking northwest toward Mount Hood.- Best Winter Adventure Destinations
  • The yurts at Three Creeks Lake.- Best Winter Adventure Destinations
  • Looking down at a skier descending Ball Butte's eastern bowl.- Best Winter Adventure Destinations
  • Trillium Lake sledding.- Best Winter Adventure Destinations
  • Sledders ascending the Cinder Cone at Mt. Bachelor.- Best Winter Adventure Destinations
  • Farewell Bend Sno-Park.- Best Winter Adventure Destinations
  • Bagby Hot Springs.- Best Winter Adventure Destinations
  • Upper Sacred Pool, Breitenbush Hot Springs.- Best Winter Adventure Destinations
  • Terwilliger Hot Springs.- Best Winter Adventure Destinations
  • Umpqua Hot Springs.- Best Winter Adventure Destinations
  • East Lake Hot Springs.- Best Winter Adventure Destinations
  • Alvord Hot Springs with Steens Mountain (9,734 ft) in the background.- Best Winter Adventure Destinations
  • Crystal Crane Hot Springs.- Best Winter Adventure Destinations
  • Kirkham Hot Springs.- Best Winter Adventure Destinations
  • Sunbeam Hot Springs.- Best Winter Adventure Destinations
  • The Gardner River and Boiling River converge to form natural hot springs. - Best Winter Adventure Destinations
  • Sunset skiing in the Pioneers with views of the Sawtooths in the distance.- Best Winter Adventure Destinations
  • Backcountry skiing at Pioneer Yurt.- Best Winter Adventure Destinations
  • Sunrise on Horstman Peak near Fishhook Yurt.- Best Winter Adventure Destinations
  • Seventh Mountain Resort's ice skating rink.- Best Winter Adventure Destinations
  • A beautiful night setting in over Royal Lake.- Best Winter Adventure Destinations
  • At Hidden Lake Lookout, distant lights from Seattle, Mount Vernon, and Bellingham.- Best Winter Adventure Destinations
Article
Contributor

Winter: when Jack Frost nips at an open fire, chestnuts are buried under six feet of snow, and you can’t feel the void where your nose used to go. If you’re having trouble with any of the above, it means you’re doing winter right. This is a special time of year, and 2017 could shape up to be a special winter, whether or not La Niña conditions stick. After coming and then going, El Niño’s petulant sister decided she wanted to come back for good, although, if we’re being honest, we’re still not sure she’ll come after all. She is fickle, it seems.

We can only hope that the Sierra Nevada Mountains will see snow, and there’s no doubt that we’ll see fresh powder in the Front Range. Aspen and Telluride, Mammoth Mountain and Tahoe will have their years. But when the pendulum swings from El Niño to La Niña, weather patterns hit the north hardest. One of the heaviest winters in the Pacific Northwest happened in 1998-99, a La Niña year, dumping over 1,100 cumulative inches of snow on Mount Baker—a record. And last year, which was considered the strongest recorded El Niño year, was still 142% snowier than the year before. Meteorologists project a neutral to weak La Niña for winter in 2017, and if our hopes prevail and the trend continues, this will be as cold and wet a winter as ever in the Pacific Northwest, British Columbia, and the intermountain north.

Fingers crossed, the best winter adventure destinations on this exhaustive (but not comprehensive) list will be pristine winter wonderlands come December 21, begging for a fresh set of tracks in the snow, and maybe an igloo.

Steady on.

British Columbia and Callaghan Country

The on-again, off-again flirtation with La Niña has been giving forecasters fits in B.C., where they have already revised their long-term forecasts several times. The outlook is weak—or so they say. After a strong October, resorts expect to open early this year. Storms have been dumping snow at Whistler-Blackcomb, and Lake Louise in Alberta predicts one of its earliest-ever openings on November 18. This is good news, all of it. A high base at the resorts promises heavy snows cordillera-wide, which means all the more of that fresh powder for your backcountry winter excursions.

Hot Springs

Backcountry Skiing

Snowshoeing

Cross-country Skiing

Washington

The forecast in Washington mirrors that of its neighbor to the north, and while optimism for a cool and wet winter is tempered by phrases like “neutral or weak,” some of the biggest storms hit during these cycles. Washington has already seen accumulation at Crystal Lake and White Pass, and the resorts, at least, are calling it an imminent winter party.

Snowshoeing

Backcountry Skiing

Cross-country Skiing

Sledding

Oregon

The Evergreen State will be ever white this winter. A spate of once-tropical storms has already struck in Oregon, and forecasters are predicting a snowpack higher than average. The prediction is stronger here than in Washington: years that are neither La Niña nor El Niño—neutral—tend to bring stormy winters. Indeed, Mount Hood had a foot of snow by mid-October.

Hot Springs

Snowshoeing

Backcountry Skiing

Sledding

Cross-country Skiing

Ice Skating

Intermountain West

October of 2016 is officially the wettest on record in Missoula and the Flathead Valley, breaking a 102 year-old record. Forecasts on La Niña’s strength are still lukewarm here, but the weather service still expects averages to be higher than normal.

Backcountry Skiing

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