Off-the-Radar Ski Area Goes Big Time

Development at Seattle's Snoqualmie will focus on ski lifestyle

It's pretty shocking that there isn't more development at Washington's The Summit at Snoqualmie. Located 60 miles east of Seattle on the I-90 corridor, the 1,981-acre ski area boasts 25 lifts that give access to four mountains that receive more than 36 feet of "Cascade concrete"—that's Pacific Northwestern for wet, heavy snow—per year. Yet there are no nearby villages, off-mountain eateries or accommodations in sight. To Bryce Phillips, evo founder and pro skier, it was the perfect picture of undeveloped potentialm, and he's about to change that.

Phillips is building an upscale community called The Pass Life at the top of Snoqualmie Pass, near the base of the ski area. The Pass Life will eventually have up to 100 condos and lofts, along with a restaurant, museum, brewery, coffee shop and plenty of other amenities. Beyond the dollar signs, Phillips sees his project as an integral part of the very spirit of skiing.

“You quickly realize there’s this amazing place… and there’s nowhere to go, there’s no center,” Phillips told Powder. “As you know with skiing, a major percentage is the camaraderie and the celebration after you’re done for the day…and that’s something we want to be a catalyst for.”

Phillips had been eyeing the idea for years, but it wasn't until 2007 phone call that he could move forward with the plan. While out mountain biking, Phillips received the life-changing call from his agent—not only was the land up for sale after being held by the same owners for 21 years, but it was also going for exactly the same price he was prepared to offer. The deal went to contract then, but it wasn't closed until 2011, thanks to the recession. After securing approvals from local entities, Phillips partnered with local businessmen and a handpicked crew of builders and engineers to work up plans for construction.

Phase 1 has already begun, with ground broken on 12 lofts, a restaurant, museum and brewery, which are scheduled to open in December. And, with a two-bedroom unit tagged at $327,000, the Pass Life is pretty affordable when compared with the multimillion-dollar homes bordering many ski resorts today.

“To have a true home on the mountain is incredible,” Brian Hall, senior sales rep at Marker and one of the first loft owners, told Powder. “I’m excited to bring my kid up in that environment and have them around snow all the time. It’s something that I never got the chance to do growing up.”

For an exclusive first look at The Pass Life, click through to Powder and scroll down to the bottom for a username and password.

Via Powder.