Ski or snowboard, it doesn’t matter — the season is right around the corner, and Cliff Mass thinks we are going to have a wet and wild winter! Avid borders are getting their Subarus, VWs, and Audis up for multiple trips up the mountain. If you don’t have your own gear, and helicopter, getting to some of the more desirable, dangerous, and exhilarating spots is difficult; go to the touristy, more expensive spots is an arduous journey in crowds, high costs, and long lines at the lifts can really put a damper on the spirit. If only someone put out a guide of a couple awesome spots with no lines and awesome runs, where to stay on the cheap, where to eat, and of course – where to grab some pot.
The Seattle metro area has a habit of going to three places to ski – Crystal Mountain, Snoqualmie Summit, and Mount Baker Ski Area where the prices are steep, and the lift lines can be daunting on those perfect days on the weekend. So, one might wonder how to get a fulfilling and reasonably priced ski adventure in without heading to California, Montana, Colorado, or Wyoming. House of Cannabis has you covered in so many ways. For those of you in our loyal, loving Tacoma crowd, you may never have been to our ‘East of the mountains’ stores. Both are wonderful, fabulous cannabis stores in small towns buoyed by the recreational atmosphere of Okanogan County. There are also at opposite sides of the county, so the landscape and to do list can be varied and wide. For the price of a day at Crystal, Summit, or Baker, you can stay and ski the weekend in Okanogan County. I shall elaborate.
The second store we opened has become House of Cannabis – Twisp, in the Methow Valley. It is the closest store to Lake Chelan, and it is right on the Loup Loup Hwy 20 / Hwy 2 Scenic byway. Twisp offers several affordable, clean places to stay, including the Sportsman Motel ($, Rustic, Clean), Idle-a-While Motel ($, Cute, Quaint, Private), Twisp Terrace Lodge ($$, Modern, away from town), Twisp River Suites ($$$, Modern, walk the town), and even the uber ritzy Sun Mountain Lodge ($$$$, in Winthrop 8 miles North, mountain bike / horseback / cross country ski paradise). There are many other options as well that a simple google search will reveal – Abby Creek Inn, Mt Gardner Inn, and these AirBNBs. BUT WHAT ABOUT THE SKIING??
Loup Loup. Yeah, it’s a funny name, but it’s what it has. About 10 miles east from Twisp on Highway 20 is the summit of Loup Loup pass. A couple hundred yards after the summit is the turn to the left of the Loup Loup Ski Bowl, which is well marked. The road is well maintained, oft plowed, but you should have an AWD vehicle and/or chains or the appropriate fitting for your vehicle just in case conditions change while on the mountain. Two different lifts and a tow rope introduce you to varying levels of slopes available for your shredding desires. 1,240 vertical feet of skiing starting at the summit at 5,260 feet awaits you, with little to no lift line, and the highest single day pass starting at $55 each. Ski rentals are available in the towns of Winthrop, Twisp, and at the base of the Loup Loup ski bowl, so if you don’t have your own equipment, that’s ok!
The ski bowl has several long, enjoyable beginner and intermediate slopes, and many short and medium run expert slopes, with a skill level and ability to work on form with a variety of hill challenges. Loup Loup also has a tubing hill, and 23km of groomed cross country skiing available. Of course, House of Cannabis is there for you, just down in the town of Twisp, for all your cannabis needs during your stay. Check out the pics below for a current view of the mountain from their webcam, the ski map, and a pic of our fabulous store in Twisp. Continue past the pictures to read up on the Sitzmark ski area near House of Cannabis, in Tonasket.
Just 35 miles past Twisp, to the east, is our 3rd store, House of Cannabis – Tonasket. Aside from being an absolute gem inside its’ central location in the town, the interior is amazingly crafted through the vision of our partnership. Like Twisp, there are several great places to stay like the Red Apple Inn ($), Omak Inn ($$), The Junction ($), and many AirBNB and small resort style stays.
As for the hill, Sitzmark is ideal for families, or those just learning to ski. Base elevation is just over 4300 feet, and the summit is 4950 feet. Sitzmark has two lifts (one of them is decidedly the main, and most trafficked lift) serving the mountain. One of the things I really like about Sitzmark is positioning of the runs, relative to the main lift. The three expert runs are immediately under and to the sides of the main left, while beginners and intermediates after unloading from the chair will ski to the left quite a bit before beginning their runs. Expert skiers can expect to make frequent runs during a day, maximizing on slope time because of quick access at the top to the black diamond slopes, and at the bottom to the queue for the lift. Beginners and Intermediates will enjoy the long runs back to the base down a variety of green or blue rated slopes. Lift rates are a bit more value driven at Sitzmark, compared to Loup Loup, with the basic adult pass clocking in at $45 for a full day pass.
After your day on the hill is done, there are lots of dining options in the Twisp/Winthrop area until about 8-9pm on weekdays, and as late as 11pm on weekends. In Tonasket, there are several options but the town closes down a bit earlier, but for the night owls, Omak is 20 miles to the south, and features great dining into the night, and also has 12 Tribes Casino on the south side of town.
For more information, you can always check out their websites:
Sitzmark Ski Area (not mobile friendly, really… not the worst, either.)
The current view from the top of Loup Loup