With fresh snow every other week, it’s no wonder people are flocking to the White Pass ski resort. Situated in the northern part of Washington State, the resort sprawls across the crest of the majestic Cascades and features some of the most iconic mountain architecture that you will find anywhere.
It all began in the 1930s, when the Civilian Conservation Corps built the first artificial snowmaker. The following year, White Pass opened its doors to skiing enthusiasts from the surrounding area. Over the years, the resort has grown to accommodate more and more skiers, eventually ballooning into the mega-resort it is today.
Although it may not always be apparent, White Pass is a privately-owned resort. The Washington State ski industry generated $5.2 billion in economic value and supported 28,000 jobs in 2015. It’s fair to assume that, with such a significant economic impact, the sport will continue to grow in popularity and the demand for top-notch amenities will continue to increase. That, in turn, will boost the economy and support even more jobs within the ski industry.
Key Facts About White Pass
The resort is located in Whatcom County, Washington, which is in the northeastern part of the state. It straddles the Canada–US border, hence its eponymous white color. The closest major city is Bellingham, which is 30 minutes away by car.
White Pass is known for its nightlife, which is often rated one of the best in the region. The resort’s bar and grill, the Bier Markt, is a hubbub of boisterous activity every night of the year, particularly during the summer months. Summer 2022 will mark the 100th anniversary of White Pass, which makes it a milestone year for the ski resort.
The mountain’s highest point is Mt. Baker, at 5,220 feet. The resort’s ski run, Baker Mile, reaches 2,430 feet and features a breathtaking panoramic view of the North American continent. A vertical drop of 2,430 feet makes this the steepest ski run in North America.
The resort’s longest ski run is the 3.3-mile Grand Circuit. The first portion, aptly named the Grand Tour, is a beginner’s dream and makes for a perfect ski-in/ski-out experience. It’s not unusual to find Grand Circuit in the annual top five of Washington’s most popular ski runs. Another great beginner’s run is Cascade Crest, a 2.8-mile scenic trail that connects to the Grand Tour. It’s no wonder why beginners love it: The trail is shaded and features berms that create ideal skiing conditions. Furthermore, beginners can enjoy the services of White Pass’ expert ski instructors who are always on hand to provide tips and tricks.
The White Pass ski resort experience is as varied as the mountain’s diverse terrain. It offers a variety of slopes, from challenging expert terrains to kid-friendly cornices and boxes. White Pass’ newest ski run, Skyline, for example, is a true bucket-list feat, combining both nature and architecture into one breathtaking experience.
The resort features more than 300 skiable acres and 19 trails, ranging from easy, beginner runs to expert backcountry trails that feature breathtaking panoramic views of the North American continent. Thirteen trails are illuminated by the sun’s rays during the day, making them excellent for snowboarding. These trails are, in fact, shared with the adjacent resort, Whatcom County. The two resorts are connected by a series of snow-filled staircases, which allow snowboarders to switch seamlessly between the two places.
The Economy Of White Pass
Thanks to a booming tourism industry, White Pass is a major economic driver within the State of Washington. In 2015, the resort generated $5.2 billion in economic value and supported 28,000 jobs. The following table provides some more detailed information about the resort’s economic impact:
| Type | Value |
| Hotel | $2.5 Billion |
| Restaurant.Bar | $1.75 Billion |
| Attraction | $1.5 Billion |
| Ski Resort | $1.25 Billion |
| Expressway | $950 Million |
| Mall | $870 Million |
| Transportation | $750 Million |
| Telecommunications | $650 Million |
| Construction | $500 Million |
| Other | $250 Million |
| Overall | $5.2 Billion |
Although this is a remarkable number, the impact of the tourism industry in general on the State of Washington’s economy is truly staggering. Thanks to the incredible popularity of skiing, the industry as a whole supports a massive 162,000 jobs in the area. That’s more than the combined total of all other economic sectors, including hospitality, retail, and transportation.
Whatcom County, Washington, is one of the top 20 counties for employment in the U.S. In 2020, Whatcom County had the third-highest number of online dating profile views in the U.S., after Nevada and Florida. If you’re looking to make the most out of your next ski trip to the White Pass ski resort, consider making Whatcom County, Washington, your home for the winter.
The Future Of White Pass
With its impressive economic impact, it’s no wonder that White Pass is one of the State of Washington’s most popular ski resorts. It continues to evolve and change with the times, providing a spectacular view of the Northern Lights alongside magnificent snow-capped mountain scenery.
In summer 2021, the 100th anniversary of White Pass will be commemorated with numerous events and activities. The resort will host the National Ski Auto Show, with entrants traveling from all over the country. There will also be special shows, festivals, street performers, and live music in the streets. In addition, the whole resort will be illuminated by the glorious Northern Lights, transforming it into a winter wonderland.
It’s an exciting time for White Pass. With the popularity of the resort continuing to increase, it’s clear that the 100th anniversary will be a memorable event. It’s also fair to say that, with its impressive economic impact, the State of Washington will be celebrating as well.