Winthrop: Washington's Snowy Paradise
By Lexi Foldenauer
Winthrop, Washington, located in the Methow Valley on the eastern slopes of the Cascade Mountain Range is internationally known as a premier destination for winter recreation, offering visitors from across the globe access to nearly every wintertime activity to be desired. It is home to North America’s largest cross-country ski area, with over 120 miles of perfectly groomed cross-country ski trails, including its revered Nordic trails.
It’s so great to have a place that gets snow, especially in Washington state,” said Kristen Smith, marketing director for the Winthrop Chamber of Commerce. “We are really one of the only places that has snow for six months out of the year.”
The snowy town recently added refrigeration to their outdoor ice rink, which meets NHL size standards and has received acclaim from visitors and locals alike. To complement being one of the snowiest places in Washington, Winthrop is also considered to be one of the sunniest places in the nation. Known as a “dark sky community”, the night time stars are a sight to behold. The Northern Lights are a common occurrence, and reflect off the snow in the winter amplifying the magic. The Chamber of Commerce posts Facebook updates to keep the public notified of their best chance to catch the show.
Sun Mountain for lodging and winter recreation
For a unique lodging experience, visitors can book a stay at the Sun Mountain Lodge a resort for all seasons. The resort is perched atop a 3,000 foot snow-covered hillside, and has four types of rooms ranging in price and style. The main lodge offers guests a spacious, comfortable room with either spectacular views of the North Cascades or sweeping, widespread views of the Methow Valley and the National Forest. For a more luxurious experience, guests can stay in Mt. Robinson rooms and private Patterson Lake Cabins, equipped with a whirlpool bath and private deck. The Sun Mountain Lodge provides more than just a place to stay, and boasts a variety of gourmet dining options. A farm-to-table culinary experience is offered in The Dining Room, or for more casual fare, visitors can enjoy a home-cooked meal and craft beers at The Wolf Creek Bar & Grill.
Cold outside? Consider a little indoor recreation!
In addition to its boundless winter recreation options, Winthrop is also known for its extensive selection of wine, many of which are locally sourced from nearby vineyards. For visitors looking to pick up a unique bottle of wine or other beverages of choice, The Wine Shed offers a substantial variety of over 600 different wines from around the world, a selection of 50 scotches, 40 kinds of bourbons, 50 tequilas and mezcals, as well as liqueurs and craft beers. The Wine Shed is staffed with knowledgeable connoisseurs who can help customers find the right bottle according to unique palates and preferences. Wine tastings are available upon request.
If breweries are more your style, there is a vast selection of award-winning craft beers on tap to choose from at The Old Schoolhouse Brewery The gastropub and brewery is family-friendly and offers a full menu of gourmet options, including brunch on Sundays until 1 pm. In the summertime, live music is held on the Old Schoolhouse Brewery stage called The Log Jam, where guests can enjoy music on the riverside patio along the Chewuch River. During the colder months in fall and winter, music is moved inside for a more intimate experience. Guests can catch a variety of events at the brewery happening most days of the week, including regular weekly events like open mic nights, crafting, games, and movie nights. A monthly calendar of events can be found on the brewery’s website. If you are anxious to get back to the slopes and would rather take some beer to go, growlers are available. If you’re headed for some downhill action at Loup Loup, be sure to check out their taproom at TwispWorks in downtown Twisp.
Whether you are an avid skier, snow lover, or simply looking to relax in a rustic lodge with picturesque views, Winthrop has a little something to offer all of its visitors, which truly makes it a winter wonderland destination. The town’s majestic beauty and promise of adventure is something that must be experienced firsthand to believe.