Ski season is near

What you need to know to get ready

By Marguerite Cleveland on October 18, 2018

The Pacific Northwest has some of the best skiing in the world due to the massive amounts of snow the Cascades receive each year. Mount Baker, north of Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM), holds the world record for the most snow in a season. Here are some local things you need to know to get ready.

Tune-Ups -- Now is the time to inventory your equipment to see what you need, and turn in your skis for a tune-up and a good waxing. The Northwest Adventure Center on the Lewis side of JBLM and Adventures Unlimited on the McChord side both offer winter equipment sales, ski and snowboard tune-ups and winter adventure trips to local ski resorts. Due to wetter winter conditions in this area, goggles are a must for snow sports. Both locations have great prices on name brand goggles and no sales tax when you purchase on the base.

Fitness -- Skiing is a very physically demanding sport, which uses, as you would expect, all your leg muscles, but your core comes into play as well as your arms. To get ready for ski season, up your weight training for legs, back and abs. Here is a great six-week workout plan to get you ready.

Lessons -- For families and beginners, the White Pass Ski area is the place to be. This family-friendly resort offers the EZ Ski/EZ Ride 1-2-3 Program. This is the best deal in the area and includes three days of equipment rental, a group lesson each day and lower area lift tickets for days one and two, and a full mountain lift ticket for a day, free. The price, based on age, ranges from $119-$164 for the 2018-2019 ski season. The best part, the days don't have to be consecutive. (Insider Tip: The day lodge at White Pass opens one hour before the slopes. Plan to arrive early to arrange for your package and rental equipment.)

Where to Ski -- There are so many great places for winter sports in the Pacific Northwest. The closest places to ski from JBLM are the Crystal Mountain Resort near Enumclaw and The Summit at Snoqualmie, Snoqualmie Pass. You can plan a season by theme. A super high adventure is ski the volcanos, which is a combination of day trips, weekend getaways and maybe a longer trip. For advanced level skiers and snowboarders, there is the Mount Baker Area in the North. Locally, Crystal Mountain Ski Resort and White Pass Ski area are in the Mount Rainier area. Next comes Mount Hood with six ski areas 50 miles southeast of Portland, Oregon. Further south is Mount Bachelor in Bend, Oregon, and for a longer adventure, Mount Shasta near Shasta, California.

The great thing about living and working near JBLM is you can enjoy all winter has to offer in just a short drive, and then come home to nice, clean driveways and walkways with no snow to shovel. For more information on winter fun, visit There is an extensive travel section as well as winter guides with great winter recreation ideas from a variety of writers.