Seattle families can count on a mild (if not wet) winter in the city. But if you’re dreaming of a white Christmas or New Year, there’s no better place to make your dreams come true than Suncadia Resort. Consider it your 6,400-acre mountain playground, where you and your snow-loving crew will find everything from sledding and ice skating to holiday festivities that will add magic to your season. Read on to plan your epic winter getaway!

suncadia winter activities

Serious Snow Play

Located just 80 miles east of Seattle in the Cascade Range, Suncadia Resort is an ideal winter destination for families. Not only does it have the snow you’re looking for, in all its forms, but it makes enjoying it as easy as Sunday morning… when the kids decide to let you sleep in. Now through January 3, 2022, plan to frolic, skate, sled and ski during your stay.


Ice Skating
Bundle up your little snow angels in snow pants and mittens, then head out to the seasonal ice skating rink at the Village Pavilion. Between the snow-covered mountains in the distance, the festive music and the cozy firepit where kids can warm up their chilly fingers and toes, it’s practically postcard-perfect. And at night, the lights come on, adding to the magic in the air. You can rent skates at the rink or bring your own, and they’ve got helmets and skate assists available too.

Good to know: Starting December 16, the rink is open daily through January 3, including Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. There’s even a New Year’s Eve Glow Disco Skate Party scheduled so families can rock in 2022 (registration is required).

suncadia winter activities sledding
courtesy Suncadia Resort

Sledding aficionados will appreciate the snowy hill at the Prospector Driving Range. Whether you want to speed down it in an inner tube ($10 to rent) or try it in your own sled, the hill is open any time there’s enough snow. One of Suncadia’s perks is that families can also find other snowy banks and open fields that are just as inviting to little sledders. If the tubing hill isn’t your speed, try sledding the smaller hills at Dawson Park or the golf course. Both are also great spots for free-form snow play!

suncadia winter activities

There’s no doubt Suncadia’s indoor/outdoor pool at the Swim & Fitness Center is the place to be in the summer. But it’s also the hot spot for families in the wintertime. The indoor pool, with its two twisting waterslides, gives kids the chance to splash and play on a rainy day. But if the weather outside isn’t too frightful, taking a dip in the heated outdoor pool is not-to-miss. Like stepping into an oversized hot tub, you’ll stay toasty warm even when there’s snow on the ground. The fact your kids can hop out, make a snow angel and hop right back in to the welcoming water is how vacation memories are made.

Good to know: The pool and waterslides are mainly open on the weekends. They’ll also be open Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

More Winter Activities
Beyond ice skating, sledding and swimming, families can also rent cross-country skis or snowshoes at the Prospector. These low-key activities are a great way to explore the many trails and vistas of the property. If you’re new to these sports, Suncadia makes it easy to learn, with introductory classes and tours (ages limits apply).

suncadia winter activities

It’s a Wonderful Winterfest

During your stay, head down to Nelson Farm to experience Winterfest. It’s a flurry of activity, and you’re sure to find something to do with your mini outdoor enthusiasts here. Families can try their hand at snow bowling or embark on a scavenger hunt that’ll keep you guessing, and at 2 p.m. on Saturdays, the snow person building competition will put your creativity to the test.

suncadia winter activities

If you’ve got older kiddos along, winter archery ($10/person) and axe throwing ($30/person) are the way to go, and slingshots are fun for everyone to try. You can purchase slingshot materials or simply use snowballs to see if you can hit the bullseye. For the tot lot, the small playground and expanse of snowy goodness will keep them outside and happy. Suncadia’s Winterfest activities are offered daily starting December 16 and they run through January 2, 2022, and registration is required for some of these activities.

suncadia winter activities

Make the Holidays Magic

Suncadia’s creative holiday programming scores another win with families. Down at Nelson Farm, you can sign kids up for an array of arts and crafts at Santa’s Workshop, a decked out log cabin with a festive Christmas tree and a fire dancing in the fireplace. Choose from winter craft kits like cookie decorating, ornament painting or snowflake string art or try your hand at winter tie-dye. Kids can even stuff their own precious Bear Factory animal friend when they visit. Parents, you’ll need to sign up in advance for these fee-based activities (they’ve got a handy QR code to use). Remember, Santa leaves for the North Pole on December 24, the last day these activities are offered.

suncadia winter activities

Another seasonal option you’ll find at Santa’s Workshop—to-go gingerbread house kits. Order one for the kids to decorate back in the room, or take it home with you for future fun. The house comes pre-assembled (hooray!), with everything you need to construct the sweetest house on the block. What a way to spend a blustery winter eve! If you really want to see your kiddo's eyes light up, schedule a special visit from Santa’s elves. They’re spreading Christmas cheer through December 24, knocking on doors and dropping off a book, a small gift and a personalized letter from the Big Guy himself to kids who made the "nice" list staying at the resort.

winter vacation near seattle, winter road trip, weekend winter getaway near seattle

All the Ways to Stay

Suncadia offers families an array of lodging choices. The Lodge at Suncadia, the resort’s main building, is inspired by the grand lodges of our National Parks, and for those who want to be in the middle of the action, it’s the place to stay. The sweeping mountain views and easy access to many of the resorts restaurants are hard to beat, especially when it’s cold outside. Choose from the 254 guest rooms, suites and penthouses; most with full kitchens and washers and dryers, a definite plus for families.

suncadia resort winter

If space and privacy drive your vacation lodging preferences, you’ll find both at the Trailhead Condominiums (pictured). Just across the street from The Lodge, they feature classic mountain architecture with spacious, well-furnished one- and two-bedroom units on the golf course. The full kitchen means you can cook your own meals, an added bonus for families with picky eaters or those looking to save some dough. And the washer, dryer and fireplaces found in each unit are especially helpful in the winter when you need to dry wet clothes or warm up after a full day of snow play. Plus, when the snow flies, it doesn’t get easier than heading out back to pull a sled around the golf course or build a snowman.

For families who’d prefer a smaller and more exclusive lodging experience, The Inn at Suncadia, located just a short walk from The Lodge, offers upscale, pet-friendly rooms and suites with gorgeous views of the Cascade Mountains and golf course.

suncadia winter resort

Food for the Fam

Suncadia offers several dining options to fit your family’s tastes and budget. Portals Restaurant at The Lodge is a fine dining establishment with an unbeatable view that offers creative Pacific Northwest-inspired dishes and welcomes kids for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Their kids’ menu is specifically designed for ages 12 and under and offers lots of kid faves (think: chicken tenders, burgers and pasta). We recommend a spot in front of the cozy fireplace on a wintry day. Psst… Portals is cooking Christmas and New Year’s dinner so you don’t have to. Order a to-go Family Meal Kit to enjoy in your room or condo.

suncadia winter activities

Just down the road, at The Inn is where you’ll find The Stovehouse, Suncadia’s answer to casual dining. The kids’ menu comes with a box of colored pencils to keep your hungry tikes busy while they wait for food, and the menu boasts all their favorites. If grab-n-go is more your style, try The Coal House Market at The Lodge. They serve up everything from your morning espresso, breakfast sandwich or pastry to salads and sodas, as well as those little things you might’ve forgotten to pack. (Why does someone always forget their toothbrush?) It’s also where you’ll find pre-packaged s’mores kits (hint: the firepit at the ice skating rink is a great place to use them!).

Good to know: Reservations are recommended at both Portals and The Stovehouse.

COVID Information: You can see how Suncadia is keeping guests safe during their stay online.

Suncadia Resort
3600 Suncadia Trail
Cle Elum, WA

— Allison Sutcliffe (all photos courtesy of the writer unless otherwise noted)

This trip was paid for by Suncadia Resort, but all opinions expressed here belong to the writer.


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