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December 11, 2019

Snow-Filled Fun at Echo Valley and Echo Ridge

Imagine a day of skiing fresh snow, run after run under a blue sky. Imagine there are no lines, a full day pass costs $30, and the apres-ski diner serves homemade cinnamon rolls…No, we haven’t gone back in time. We’ve just gone east of the mountains.

One of Central Washington’s hidden gems, the Echo Valley Ski Area is a laid-back alternative to busy Cascade resorts. Downhill skiing, snowboarding, and tubing are all popular activitieswith the relaxed, uncrowded atmosphere that Chelan is known for. And just 20 minutes from downtown, it’s easy to access from your Lookout vacation rental and work into your weekend plans.

Echo Valley, a community-run ski area for over 60 years, boasts 70 acres and 900 vertical feet of groomed ski and snowboard runs—at half the price (and maybe double the ease) of other resorts.

Enjoy a day above the clouds in the famous Chelan sunshine and then relax at the lodge with a cozy fireplace, homemade meals and warm drinks. The quaintness of Echo Valley is perfect for a family day outthe massive tubing hill is always a hit with kids! Kids under 5 are even free.

If you’re less about speed and more into a workout, try the 25 miles of well-maintained terrain for cross-country skiing at Echo Ridge Nordic Ski Area. This professionally designed loop is one of the best places to ski in Washington. Varied between wide trails and single-track backcountry paths, both beginners and advanced skiers have plenty of ways to get a workout, and in a beautiful setting. The ridge-top views of Lake Chelan, the Stuart Mountain Range, and the surrounding valleys are unbeatable.

Snowshoers will also love the 2.5 miles of dedicated trails, breathtaking scenery and warming huts with wood stoves along the way. There are trail options for all levels and even your powder-loving canine companions!

And for a more adrenaline-filled day in the snow, the Echo Ridge area also offers over 170 miles of marked trails approved for zipping on snowmobiles.

The uniqueness of the Echo Ridge area also comes from the volunteer efforts that keep it alive. With help from the Nordic Club and the local Lions Club, the ski hills, trails, huts and more have grown and been maintained for decades. It’s the same community feeling and small-town spirit that makes Chelan great!

So next time you spend your vacation in Chelan (we hope it’s soon!) or plan your ski trip, check out this sweet local spot. 

By: Cara Rettig