Starting this weekend, skiers and snowboarders will have a new way to reach Stevens Pass. In a ski season marked by overcrowding challenges that have already led to ticketing changes at Crystal Mountain, Stevens Pass is launching a new weekend shuttle service from Monroe to the mountain, as part of an ongoing commitment to making improvements outlined in a statement posted to the Stevens website on Wednesday.
“This commitment includes continued improvements to parking here at Stevens Pass and finding alternative ways to ensure our guests get to the mountain safely,” wrote Stevens’ Julian Tracy. “Following up on that commitment to improvement, we’re proud to announce the expansion of weekend shuttle services to Stevens Pass from Monroe.”
Alongside convenience, the statement touted reduced carbon footprints and freedom from parking-related woes for skiers and snowboarders who use the shuttle instead of driving. It encouraged visitors to use the Stevens Pass/MTR Western Snow Bus that takes skiers to the mountain from Seattle, and Jake’s Highway 2 Sports shuttle from Gold Bar to the mountain, as two other alternatives.
The weekend-only Stevens Pass express shuttle service costs $20 per passenger and will be operated by Starline Luxury Coaches, with buses departing from Monroe Plaza (19829 US-2, Monroe) at 7:30 a.m. (seats open at 7 a.m.) and returning at 4 p.m. (seats open at 3:30 p.m.). The shuttle will drop skiers and snowboarders off at Stevens’ Lot D, which is also where they’ll be picked up for the return trip. The coaches are equipped with onboard restrooms and free standard wi-fi (high-speed wi-fi is $5). Tickets can be purchased at stevenspassexpress.com. Shuttle service is planned for the weekends of Feb. 15-16, Feb. 22-23 and Feb. 29-March 1.
The new shuttle is just the latest effort to accommodate overwhelming demand in a season that has revealed local ski areas’ weak points. In January, Crystal Mountain changed its ticketing policy in response to overcrowding that kept many off the mountain during one particularly busy weekend. That same weekend, overcrowding and traffic backups also kept skiers and snowboarders from reaching Stevens Pass, and many were faced with the frustrating experience of reaching the mountain just to be turned away due to a lack of parking.