Big Resort, Small Mountain Vibe

Story by: Mason Elliott

The Summit in Snoqualmie is one of Washington’s largest ski resorts and with four unique areas. There is something for everyone. The four areas are Summit East, Summit Central, Summit West and Alpental; all of which can be found off of exit 54 from Interstate 90. PULSE set up a resort guide to find the perfect area for you and to know what to expect on your tip up to The Summit.

Summit East

Design: Amanda Smith

Design: Amanda Smith

The Summit East area is great for skiers and snowboard riders at the low intermediate to advanced skill levels. With runs that have been cut through trees, it offers a completely different feel than many of the other wide-open areas at this resort. That being said, the trees that surround the marked runs is typically where the best snow can be found. Karter Riach, the director of marketing at The Summit describes this area as,

“The ultimate adventure area for everybody.”

If you’re going up on the weekend, another aspect of this area that sets it apart from the rest is that there are no ski school sessions which means shorter lines and more laps. Night skiing is not available at Summit East, but this means that powder stashes can typically be found for days following a storm. Home to the Milwaukee Lodge Cafe and what Riach describes as having “lots of character,” the Broken Tip Bar is the perfect place to get a drink after skiing with your friends. The Summit East Music Series, which occurs every Saturday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., is a great way to unwind and listen to amazing live music after a day on the hill.

Summit Central

Summit Central is another area that has just about everything for every type of rider or skier. From wide open groomers, to tight, technical off-piste runs, you can find it here. Although there are advanced runs in this section, it is known for inspiring progression. CWU student, Carly Quirk, a family and child life major with specialization in child life, describes Summit Central as,

“Definitely a good place for beginners and people who want to go learn.”

Also saying, “The progression of hills made learning a lot easier.” If you’re a park rat, this is the section for you, with 3 parks where you can gain confidence by naturally progressing from small to large features. The parks include rail gardens and jumps appealing to every type of rider or skier. For the more advanced, the Silver Fir chair is one of the hidden gems of Summit Central which is brand new to night skiing this year. This chair offers challenging and fun terrain which allows for pushing limits and crushing groomers. On the other hand, if you’re looking for an Instagram-worthy picture, the Silver Fir chair takes you to the top of the ridge overlooking the beautiful Cascade Mountain Range. And for good eating, there are a lot of options such as Rodeo’s BBQ, Coyote’s, Timberhouse Cafe and Whiskey Pete’s.

Summit West

Raich describes Summit West as “the place to learn.” Three “magic carpets” and gradually sloping runs make this is the best place to start improving your skiing or snowboarding skills. Summit West is most unique because of its schedule. Want to get untouched groomer and powder laps after class? You can find that here. Wednesday through Friday, this section doesn’t open until 4 p.m., which is somewhat unheard of, making it

“perfect for getting fresh tracks after a day in the classroom.”

The dining at Summit West is hard to beat. Webb’s Mountain Grill leads the way routinely offering new gourmet meals. Other options include the Timberwolf Bar and Grill, Stan’s Cafe and Webb’s International Market.


Appearing in various ski and snowboard movies due to its incredible big-mountain features, this is the area with some of the steepest chutes and biggest cliffs that the state of Washington has to offer. Peter Kalbfleisch, a CWU alumni who works in accounting confirms that Alpental has some of the most technical aspects at Th e Summit at Snoqualmie. “Inbounds one of my favorite areas is off of the Edelweiss Chair,” says Kalbfleisch. Riach says the top of Alpental provides the best option when searching for the perfect view, picture or both. Be cautious, this specific area isn’t for beginners as there’s no easy way down. Once you’re up there though, you can look into the distance and see the various peaks of the Cascades, or look back and see the entire resort. Distinct dining options are available here at Alpental. If you’re looking for a beverage, the Backcountry Bar is a great place to stop in, rest the legs and enjoy your time on the mountain. Riach explains The Backcountry Bar is a staple of The Summit. Residing in a loft above the ticket window with a down to earth and easy-going vibe, it’s a local favorite. Adding that both the Backcountry Bar and The Broken Tip Bar “have the most character” leading to a great time when you’re not on the slopes. From beginner terrain, professional parks, steep chutes, good food and drinks and live music; this resort has everything you could ask for and then some. It’s a big resort with a small mountain vibe, and as Riach states,

“We want people to make this place their home mountain.”

Photo: Zahn Schultz

Photo: Zahn Schultz