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Some Ski Resorts Make for Happy Campers

by Dan Giesin | January 20, 2022

Camping in the great outdoors is one of the better ways — if not the best — to get rid of some of the angst that seems to rapidly accumulate in our modern times.

Throw in a little skiing and you’ve got makings of paradise on earth.

But short of going the full ski-mountaineering route, backpack and all, how does one get the smoky campfire feel of spending the night outdoors and the ecstasy of making a bunch of turns in the snow?

Well, fire  up the RV or camper van and head to a ski hill that allows overnight camping in their parking lot, that’s how.

There aren’t a ton of resorts that permit such dalliances — maybe a couple of dozen or so around the country, many of them in the Pacific Northwest — but the ones that do have created a subset of skiers and snowboarders that wouldn’t have it any other way.

The following is a selection of such parking-lot-camping-friendly resorts.

Crystal Mountain

The scene is legendary at Crystal, where many of the 70 designated sites have a trailer or RV parked there the whole season long, with the vehicle owners renting out the slot for the winter and making regular forays to the resort about 2 hours southeast of Seattle. Nearly half the sites have electric hookups (but no water or sewage). Per night fees vary on time of week, and the year-end holiday season is sold as a 10-day package only. Further information can be found here.

Stevens Pass

Another Cascade Range resort located about two hours from Seattle, Stevens has 60 camping sites, about half of which come with electric hookups that start at $49 per night. Further information can be found here.

Mt. Bachelor

Bachelor, located 20 miles west of Bend, Ore., has a burgeoning and lively camping community (pictured above), with 60 sites, many of which have hookups starting at $20 a night. Further information can be found here.

Willamette Pass

This small resort in the central Oregon Cascades caters to a wide range of winter enthusiasts (Alpine skiers, snowboarders, Nordic skiers, sledders, snowmobilers, etc.), so it’s an eclectic gathering at Willamette’s camping sites. There are no hookups, but the fee is minimal ($10-$20). Further information can be found here.

Schweitzer

Up in the far northern Rockies of Idaho, Schweitzer has a small area designated for overnight parking up to three nights max. There are no fees for camping, but there are also no hookups and all rigs must be self-contained. Further information can be found here.

Bridger Bowl

Outside Bozeman, Montana, is the expert rider’s playground known as Bridger Bowl. The camping scene here is limited, and you can stay only a couple of nights; but it is free. Further information can be found here.

Gunstock

Located near the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire, Gunstock Mountain Resort has nearly 200 sites available, and nearly half of them have electric and/or sewer hookups. Per night fees range from $35 to $55, depending on day of week. Further information can be found here.

Appalachian

This small ski hill is nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains of northwestern North Carolina and welcomes overnight campers. Appalachian has limited space, but the sites have 30-amp hookups and cost $20 per night. Further information can be found here.

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