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Urban Skiing!

Posted by Andrew Engelson at Dec 19, 2008 04:36 PM |
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Those of us who live in the Puget Sound area have been dealing with an uncommon amount of snow. Schools have been cancelled, the commute has been horrendus, and getting up into the mountains has been dicey at best.

Today, faced with the need to check proofs at our printer for Washington Trails magazine, I decided to try an urban skiing expedition. My goal: get to the industrial part of Seattle south of downtown and then to WTA's offices via cross-country skis and bus.

Another one of my hair-brained schemes to avoid driving, but it proved to be fantastic little adventure.

My route went south from the Madison Park area along Lake Washington Boulevard. Some really nice snow, sunny skies and stunning views across the lake. It wasn't the Methow Valley, exactly, but it felt great to be out and about. (And was that actually powder I was skiing on? Weird!)

Reaching I-90, it was a trek up some stairs to the pedestrian tunnel (no snow there, of course) and then more snow-covered trails through Sam Smith Park. Thank goodness no one in Seattle bothers to shovel paths and sidewalks. Then, it was a bit tricky navigating through the International District, but after a quick lunch break at Uwajimaya there was actually some good snow heading south along Airport Way. But the semis and delivery trucks made this a less-than idyllic ski route, even if the snow was decent. I was glad I had some cheap skis, since the bare parts of of the sidewalk and some icy stretches weren't exactly kind to my skis.

Having signed off on the January 2009 issue of Washington Trails (those photo contest winners sure look great!) it was back north to downtown and a Metro bus ride to WTA headquarters.

I've never carried skis on a Metro bus, and I did get a few odd looks. But it was pretty cool!

Total mileage was probably about 8 or 9 miles. Definitely not for everyone, but I highly recommend the stretch along Lake Washington. Other possibilities for in-city ski routes: 

Have a favorite urban hiking or skiing destination? Post a comment and share.