The weather is changing, and while it might not look like a winter wonderland around Joint Base Lewis-McChord, the mountain ranges in the area are gettiing a good dose of the white stuff. The weekend ski season officially opened in Washington on Thanksgiving, and many local ski areas will begin daily operations by mid-December.
JBLMs Northwest Adventure Center hosts several skiing and snowboarding day trips throughout the season. Register for trips through MWR Recreation Online at https://webtrac.mwr.army.mil/webtrac/jblmrectrac.html or at the NAC on Lewis North. Individuals will need to be fitted for gear after they sign up.
We try and do each mountain once a month, just to get that variety, said Brad Hinton, NAC adventure programmer.
Hinton encourages early sign-up for ski trips, since space is limited.
A lot of the time when the snow starts getting better the trips fill up really fast, he said.
NAC kicks off the ski season with Saturday trips to Crystal Mountain Dec. 15 and 22. Trip cost includes transportation and gear for $40. Those who own their own gear can pay just $20 for transportation. Discounted lift tickets must be purchased separately at http://crystalmountainresort.com/Tickets-and-Passes/ Military. Click purchase online to recieve the military discount, which is $56 for adults (18 and over) and $51 for youth 11 to 17).
Crystal Mountain also participates in military appreciation ski days Jan. 2, Feb. 7, Mar. 8 and April 7, 2013. All valid military or Department of Defense ID card holders can purchase half-price lift tickets on those days. NAC is offering day-trip packages for these dates as well.
On Sunday, Dec. 30, and Saturday, Jan. 26, NAC offers day trips to White Pass. Individuals who have never hit the slopes or those who need a little extra practice can take advantage of this package, which includes one lesson, gear, a lift ticket and transportation to the mountain. Total cost is $95. Transportation only is $20.
White Pass might be a little further out of the way than other local ski areas, but it welcomes the hard-core skier or snowboarder and the skiing or snowboarding family. If you go on your own, White Pass offers a military discount on lift tickets for active duty and retired military personnel and their families. Adult (13-64) full-day lift tickets are $49 and junior (7-12) full-day lift tickets are $28. Present a valid military ID at any lift ticket windows to claim the discount.
NAC is sponsoring day trips to Mission Ridge on Saturday, Jan. 12, and Sunday, Feb. 10. The cost of the January trip is $55 for gear and transportation, or $35 for transportation only. The February trip is slightly cheaper at $45 for gear and transportation, or $25 for transportation only.
Mission Ridge is located 12 miles outside of Wenatchee, known for its unlikely combination of dry snow and more than 300 days of annual sunshine. Its also popular for its number of ski runs 36 slopes spread over 2,000 acres.
Discounted lift tickets for military personnel are available at Mission Ridge by presenting a valid military ID at the lift ticket window. Adult (25-61) full-day lift tickets are discounted to $40. There are no military discounts for young adults (13-24, $45), youth (7-12, $38) or chidren (6 and under, $12).
The Summit at Snoqualmie
One of the closest ski areas to JBLM is The Summit at Snoqualmie. This resort began as a simple ski hill in the 1920s, and was officially opened in 1937 when the first rope tow was installed on the mountain.
A day trip to the Summit is planned for Feb. 2. Gear and transportation costs $40; transportation only is $20. The Summit offers almost 30 percent off online lift tickets to active duty, retired and reserve military personnel and their families and DOD employees. To get the discount, go to http://www.summitatsnoqualmie.com/Tickets-and-Passes/Military.
Follow the instructions to purchase and print a voucher to present at the lift ticket window with a valid military or DOD employee ID. Without the voucher, the military lift ticket discount is 10 percent off standard lift ticket rates.
Mount Bachelor ski weekend
Spend Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend at Mount Bachelor, one of the largest resorts in North America, offering plenty of snow, big terrain and short lift lines. It also features four different terrain parks and an Olympic-sized super pipe. Mount Bachelor even offers tubing, snowshoeing and dog sledding.
The trip includes three nights lodging, transportation and gear. Lift tickets are not included but can be purchased on the mountain. Mount Bachelor offers a 50 percent discount on an adult daily lift ticket every Sunday through Friday for active duty military personnel, excluding Dec. 26 to 31, 2012; Jan 1 and 20; and Feb. 17. Discounts apply only to individual military members.
Cost for one person per room is $550; two people per room is $375 per person; three people per room is $315 per person; and four people per room is $285 per person. Open to individuals 12 and older.