Snowed in? We put out a call for Seattle Times readers and staffers' favorite places for outdoor fun in the snow. Here's where to go if you need a fresh snow-day itinerary.
On Friday, as Seattle hunkered down and cleared grocery store shelves in anticipation of this week’s weather, we put out a call for readers’ and staffers’ favorite sledding and urban ski spots, and you delivered.
We heard from a surprising number of urban cross-country skiers and other outdoors enthusiasts. You recommended sledding on the hills at Seattle Pacific University and among boisterous crowds on Queen Anne. You suggested that urban cross-country skiers take a jaunt around Green Lake if the snowpack is intact.
You warned against the use of skate-skis on city pavement (I agree with this, although I think if someone is ski-savvy enough to own that equipment, we can probably trust them not to trash it). One brave soul suggested sledding down Dravus Street in Magnolia. “No way. Excessively dangerous,” another commenter responded.
And not a few of you balked at the idea of folks sledding down city streets at all, instead encouraging diversions to car-free city parks.
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Here’s what else you had to say.
“There was not really enough snow on the ground to ski but we tried anyway. I skied on the Burke-Gilman Trail in the morning and then… on the lakeshore at Magnuson Park in the afternoon. There was only 2-4 inches of sticky snow. We didn’t slide very well. But skiing in Seattle is so rare and unpredictable that I jump at every chance to try it.” — Robert Michelson
“M.L.K. Park in Mount Baker… has some modest hills for sledding and plenty of room for a few rounds of cross-country skiing around the perimeter.” — Melissa Laird
“Obviously, Capitol Hill is full of improvised sledding spots. One of my favorite, reliable corners is a not-so-secret secret. (Just imagine the biggest, steepest slope on Capitol Hill you could imagine being snowbound.) On one memorable snow day a few years ago, nearby apartments all opened their windows and tuned in to KEXP to create a mutual soundtrack, booming around the corner. Others hosted impromptu open houses, serving hot toddies. The sliding implements looked like stuff people pulled out of the backs of their closets, or the free pile in their apartment buildings: cracked sleds, janky old skis, cookie trays, plastic tubs. One year, some guy hauled over a chair he’d tricked out with skis bolted onto the legs. (Riding that sucker was scary.) Your best bet is to head out in warm clothes — plus something to share with your neighbors — and follow your ears. Can you hear the happy din of people hollering with horror or glee? If so, that’s where you want to be. Bonus points if you have some training in first aid.” — Brendan Kiley, Seattle Times staff
“When we first moved here, we lived over by the arboretum, and that’s a terrific place to cross-country ski — provided there’s enough snow. In 1989-90 (can’t remember the exact year) we had a long enough stretch of very cold weather that the part of Lake Washington adjacent to the arboretum froze over, and people played hockey on the ice.We live by Woodland Park Zoo now. There’s a popular sledding hill in what’s known as Lower Woodland. It’s next to the parking lot located on 50th Avenue, just east of Hwy 99. That area also makes a fun cross-country ski jaunt — if we get enough snow! (Looking iffy out there at the moment.)” — Katherine Long, Seattle Times staff