I've been skiing only a couple of times, but I've seen about all I need to see of that nonsense. Clunky, heavy, expensive gear, long lines at the lift, looking like a fucking yuppie, risking broken bones and concussions... um, no thank you.
And snowboarding, that supposedly "stoner" sport, is no better. You're shredding, all right—shredding up your face, and fracturing your wrists and ankles, just to look like you were cool back in 1996.
Me, I like my cold-weather explorations to come with a big side of CHILL—high on buzz and low on physical exertion. To me, there's nothing better than being on a quiet mountain somewhere, taking in the clean air and alpine bliss... while also taking mad hits from a weed pipe. Sure, there's an adrenaline kick to racing downhill at top speed. But with snowshoeing, all you really have to know how to do is, well, walk around.
Like any good stoner adventure worth its weight in weed, a little planning goes a long way. Obviously, you'll need snowshoes, which you can rent at most ski resorts and lodges (even if you're not staying as a guest), like the Nordic Center at Summit East at Snoqualmie. In Seattle, REI rents snowshoes for a reasonable day rate of $26.
And, of course, you'll need weed. I prepped a thermos of hot cocoa with Hot Sugar, delightful infused sugar from Phat Panda (they also have honey and pumpkin spice flavors), and added just a nip of brandy.
Anything easy to carry and concealable in a parka pocket, like pre-rolls or vapes, works, too. I learned the hard way that you don't want to be stuffing bowls with frozen fingers. And don't forget to bring snacks and water to hydrate, and wear warm clothes (it sucks to be cold and high).
The best places to go within a two-hour drive of Seattle are Stevens Pass, Crystal Mountain, and Mount Rainier National Park. But the closest and most fairy-tale-like of snowy winter wonderland locations is in the Lower Gold Creek Basin at Snoqualmie Pass. (Note that snow chains are required on Interstate 90 over Snoqualmie Pass for all vehicles unless you have all-wheel drive. You won't necessarily need them, but they should be with you in the car.)
Snoqualmie is where my friends and I headed for our day of snowshoeing one fine December day. After an inordinate amount of time putting on our snowshoes, tightening straps and clipping bindings shut (maybe don't get too high before actually putting them on), we set off to try to avoid children and people in general, and go get hella high in the woods.
I was eager to veer off the trail and into the backcountry as soon as possible. Here's the thing about snowshoeing: You have to walk a while before you put on your snowshoes, and then walk a while longer to even get to a cool place off the trail that has enough snow for proper romping around. But once you do, it's worth it.
Once off the trail, a glistening frosting-covered paradise awaited us. We sashayed over snow-covered stumps and (delicately) cavorted around the powdery wilderness as if we owned the place. As it turned out, we had accidentally veered too far off the trail and were on private property, so we definitely didn't own the place. Oh, well.
Mysterious animal tracks dotted the snowy, pristine forest floor. As we stopped to take it all in, a thick blanket of silence and peace—sweet, uninterrupted peace—covered us, revealing the beauty of a place previously unreachable through normal pedestrian means.
After a while, one of my friends (whose name will be withheld to protect the high) broke the silence with something we were all feeling.
"I want fried mozzarella sticks," she said. Only then did we decide to get going.
Here's another thing about snowshoeing in the backcountry (while high): It's really, really easy to get lost. Which is exactly what happened to us. We just barely navigated our way past fir trees and mounds of unrecognizable snow piles, slipping and sliding and narrowly avoiding becoming a rendition of Disney's Frozen on Ice gone horribly wrong.
Luckily, we found what looked like a road surrounding some cabins and saw a woman walking around who confirmed that, yes, we were in fact on private property. I started to panic. What was going to happen now? But she assured us that it was fine since "we didn't look too scary." (What would have happened if we looked "scary"?)
Lessons learned: (1) Don't get too high, (2) maybe go for more CBD and less THC to avoid getting lost, and (3) bring a compass.