How to Have A Ski Elopement in Washington
How to Have A Ski Elopement in Washington

How to Have A Ski Elopement in Washington

How to Have A Ski Elopement in Washington

I’m glad you asked! Skiing is my absolute number 1 favorite thing to do in the winter in Washington and I probably ski up to 8 months per year. Eloping is one thing and adventure eloping is another! I absolutely love when couples decide to spice up their elopement (or engagement) by adding a fun activity that both people enjoy. I may be biased, but in Washington, you have some of the best epic mountains in all of the continental US. Whether you choose to ski at a resort or go to the backcountry like this couple, there’s soooo many options. If you’re not familiar with backcountry skiing, it’s basically a way to hike up a mountain sort of like cross country skiing, but you get to ski downhill and get first tracks. If you’re really curious, check out my blog on backcountry skiing in Washington.


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STEP 1: Decide Where to Elope

Option 1: Ski Resort

This is a great option for more accessibility for your guests and a bit more simple to plan around with weather! I will help you get permission and permits sorted with the ski resorts so we can take photos on the slopes! I highly suggest going on a weekday to avoid the weekend crowds. You can totally ski in your full formal wear too.

While you may be expert skiers who seek only double black diamond runs, the best photos are honestly on mellower terrain to capture you both together. But! If you’re set on some steep chutes and crazy skiing, I am there for you and we can 100% make it happen too! And then imagine if you chose to have guests attend your elopement, you could have the best party ski on the slopes!

Another great thing about ski resorts is that you can easily host a reception at the base or a nearby town. Crystal Mountain is an exceptional fit because they have a gondola that can take non-skiers up to the top of the mountain and still join the festivities at the high alpine restaurant. Plus, who wouldn’t want a sweet view of the gorgeous Mount Rainier? My other favorite resort is Mt Baker! The views of Shuksan and Baker are unrivaled there. It’s a lot quieter than Crystal and offers so many open areas for the best photography. And obviously, if you have a favorite local ski resort, let’s do that!

Option 2: Backcountry Ski Tour

If you’re also a backcountry skier, omg, can I please take photos for you??? With backcountry skiing comes so much more freedom. Imagine waking up early for a sunrise tour to your ceremony spot and then skiing powder as the sun comes up! Or climbing an epic North Cascades mountain and saying your vows as the sun comes up (or goes down).

Obviously, backcountry skiing comes with its own risks like avalanche danger and selecting safer routes for the given weather. I’d suggest mid-late spring for more adventurous ski tours (like Eldorado or Mount Baker) to allow for a more stable snow pack and reaping the corn snow. But if you’re powder seeking, perhaps a mid-winter date would be optimal, but erring on short side for a tour since daylight is shorter and it allows more time for anything that might be thrown our way.

STEP 2: Decide on a Date

And a backup date. Often times, when we’re in the backcountry, we’re at the mercy of the weather patterns. And while sometimes we can find low-angle terrain to lower the risk of avalanche, sometimes it is still too risky. Or if the weather decides to blow hurricane level winds on a huge snow storm, that wouldn’t be as safe. But barring extreme weather, obviously we can still make safe calls for where and when to go!

STEP 3: Hire Your Photographer

Hello 👋 I’m Cherlyn, the best ski elopement photographer you’ll find in the Pacific Northwest! I’m an advanced skier, have been backcountry skiing since 2019 and I always bring my camera skiing, so you can say I’ve had quite some practice hauling up my gear and getting the perfect shots. So whether you want to tour somewhere or stay in the resort, whatever the terrain, I am here to photograph it! Let’s make this amazing dream elopement happen for you together!! 

In general though, you want your photographer to be competent on snow whether they end up snowshoeing or skiing with you. They have to know how to handle the cold and ever-changing weather. They have to be quick with their settings and gear because skiing is a fast-moving sport. They have to understand the nature of skiing/snowboarding and be able to tell your story while incorporating intimate moments and the excitement on your faces.


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STEP 4: Planning

Well, you might ask, if you’ve got the date and location and a photographer, well duh, that’s all there is to it? Isn’t it?

Or is it not?

Those are the biggest factors most couples will have to decide on before everything else. Unless there’s some other specific vendors who are a must-have for you, such as catering, hair and make up, flower arrangements, day-of-coordinator etc…. Otherwise, these are things we can start planning after we figure out the date and location – which these other vendors will need to know too! And with all elopements, you can choose as much or as little to follow with traditional weddings. Think of the people you’ll need to invite, who do you want to attend, who do you want to absolutely be there and make sure the time and place works for them? What will you wear? All of these things I am happy to discuss with you and help guide you along, providing resources for you to make your ski elopement dream come true!

STEP 5: Elope!

Tada! Everything’s all planned out and it’s your big day! Relax, enjoy the time and leave the rest to me and your other vendors or people involved in making sure everything runs smooth. This is the day you’ve been waiting for and let’s make it epic!

A few more thoughts

And whichever you choose, I think it’s awesome to pair the ski elopement with a local AirBnB stay. From woodsy getting ready photos at an A-frame cabins to ending in a steamy, intimate hot tub evening under cute Edison lightbulbs, this is your sign to make your adventure elopement a local Washington getaway!

And obviously, I’d be so incredibly down to photograph your ski elopement! Combined with my experience photographing skiers and elopements for the past 5 years, I’m confident that I will be the best photographer for you! I mean what other photographer would be willing to ski anything for you??? Let’s get this ski party started!


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