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The Pass Life


Bryce Phillips looks over The Pass Life (in progress) at Snoqualmie, WA.

by Heather Hansman | photograph by Annie Marie Musselman

Bryce Phillips first skied the Summit at Snoqualmie as an 18-year-old college student—the resort is an hour’s drive from the Space Needle.  Quickly enamored with Alpental’s steep, rollicking terrain, Phillips eventually left for Whistler to establish a pro skiing career. He returned to Seattle in 2001 and launched action sports retailer evo. Since the Snoqualmie Pass offered skiing, backcountry access, mountain bike trails, and classic trad climbing, he bought a house there for evo employees to use. One problem: other than a few condos, there was no place for people to come together.

Enter the Pass Life, a mixed-use development near the base of Snoqualmie’s Summit West resort and a short shuttle ride from Alpental’s lifts. The development is the work of Evolution Projects, another Phillips venture that revitalizes urban real estate with an emphasis on local business, cultural events, and neighborhood hubs. “If there’s a higher-level consciousness around crafting and creating a space, people respond to it,” Phillips says. “But you don’t do it to sell stuff. You do it because you care.”

The first phase of the Pass Life calls for 52 open-plan homes near new businesses DruBru Brewery, Commonwealth Cafe, and a ski and snowboard museum. Custom home touches include a dual indoor-outdoor fireplace and The Perch, a quiet nook built for watching snow fall. A thousand square feet costs $335,000—and prices top out below $400,000. For perspective, 1,000 square feet slopeside in Vail starts at $1.5 million. If this sounds like nothing new to you, then you’re likely from Vermont or Colorado. Many PNW ski hills are hemmed in by National Forest land and lack bed space—entirely. The Pass Life marks the first slopeside development of its kind in Washington state. Ray Johnston, the Seattle architect behind the blueprints, will be among the new residents moving in this winter. “We taught our kids to ski there,” he says. “It’s the beginning of Snoqualmie Pass being what it can be.”

From the Winter 2014 issue. Learn more at thepasslife.com.

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