You want snow? The storms that march regularly through the Pacific Northwest see to that. You want big mountains? The mighty Cascade Range and its volcanic peaks split Washington and Oregon like an enormous cleaver. You want great riding? Check out the likes of Mt. Bachelor, Mount Hood Meadows, and Mt. Ashland in Oregon and the Summit at Snoqualmie, Mt. Baker, and Crystal Mountain in Washington.
But not everything is about skiing and snowboarding in the great Northwest. Tubing, sledding, tobogganing and other snow-play options are just right for the non-rider in your family, for children who have yet to master the single- or double-plank means of descent and for skiers and boarders who are looking for a day-off-the-lifts diversion.
After that you can snuggle up around an outdoor fire, polish off a few s'mores, and bask in the afterglow of a day well-spent in mountain country.
The following is a short list of Washington and Oregon resorts that also cater to the snow-angel maker in all of us. Most of the sledding hills provide some sort of uphill conveyance, and generally all mentioned have warming and refreshment facilities a snowball's throw away.
The Lt. Michael Adams Tubing Park at Leavenworth Ski Hill has is open Wednesdays and Friday-through-Sunday days, Friday and Saturday nights and during selected holiday periods. Cost is $10 to ride for 90 minutes.
Summit at Snoqualmie has several groomed lanes at Summit Central. Surface tows will haul riders and the resort's commercial grade tubes up the slope Friday through Sunday.
Mt. Spokane has tubes to rent for $5 on weekends and holidays, but you'll have to hike up the hill.
Loup Loup, a non-profit family oriented ski hill in north central Washington, has a small sledding hill.
Hoodoo, out there in Oregon's central Cascades, has one of the more ambitious tubing parks around, offering "five acres of gravity-fed excitement." The Autobahn area can hold to 16 800-foot-long groomed runs, while the Snow Bunny sled hill has a playground for less exciting snow fun. It's $20-$25 per day to cavort in the Autobahn, and $5 to play on Snow Bunny
Mt. Bachelor's Snowblast Tubing Park is "where the rubber meets the snow." The park has a surface tow and several 800-foot-long runs full of rollers. It's open daily, with three two-hour sessions per day. Bachelor also offers daily one-hour sled dog rides.
Mt. Hood Skibowl has a tubing hill with a surface tow that offers runs ranging from those fit for a toddler to "extreme" descents. There's also a park for snow skates (sort of like a skateboard with trucks and wheels) that is filled with rails, jumps, and fun boxes. You can also check out the Skibowl's selection of snowbikes.
Willamette Pass lets you act like a kid again at its Tubing Center, a lift-serviced area that is open weekends and costs $12 for two hours of play.
Cooper Spur has two runs - one of which is only for sliders older than 10 - serviced by two tows. It costs $10 per day.
Check out Paul Doherty's One Stop Guide For Snow Tubing, Sledding, And Snowplay for detailed information on snow-play areas throughout North America.