Top winter activities in Yakima Valley - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Top winter activities in Yakima Valley

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YAKIMA, WA - This winter season, tourists and locals alike are taking advantage of Yakima's resources for outdoor recreation.

Some of the most popular activities in the Yakima Valley during this time of year include skiing at White Pass, snowshoeing at the Chinook Pass Scenic Bi-Way, and elk and bighorn sheep watching at the Oak Creek Wildlife Feeding Station.

This week, White Pass is hosting its Winter Carnival with a featured snow castle and live music, is participating in the "World's Largest Lesson" for skiing and snowboarding along with other passes around North America, hoping to beat the Guinness World Record.

Jon Smith, President of Yakima County Development Association, says tourism growth in the area has skyrocketed, surpassing averages of all surrounding cities and states, and is largely due to activity at White Pass.

"When I first came to Central Washington in 2005, I went and skied White Pass, and it wasn't the same as it is today. It was a lot smaller," Smith said. "Since then, they've more than doubled their ski-able terrain, and I think that has a lot to do, also, with the growth inside the recreation industry in Yakima."

Smith also says that over the past fifteen years, outdoor recreation participation in Yakima has grown by over 142%, a huge boost to the local economy..

He considers this growth the telling of a story in what this community really has to offer.