Snoqualmie is the lowest of the Cascade mountain passes. You can avoid mountain passes only by traveling south to the Columbia River, through the Columbia Gorge, then back north once you're east of the Cascades. But it's worth noting that winter weather can make travel through the Gorge just as unpleasant (sometimes more so) than over the mountains - one can get freezing rain and "ice storms" in the Gorge that make Snoqualmie look like child's play.
Of course that route also takes a lot longer than using I-90.
Just check the weather forecast and road conditions before you start out. Most of the time, I-90 will be fine.
Snoqualmie is the easiest pass - the other one I use is closed in the winter and takes longer. Where you trying to avoid / worried about going across a pass? If you don't want to put chains on (there will be signs if the are required that day) there are places that will put them on for you for about $15 and places on the other side what will take them off.
Phil could you fly into Spokane instead of Seattle since you're coming here anyway. What is your itinerary for your trip? If staying in Seattle for a few days could you then just fly into Spokane it's so much better to do that in the dead of the winter.
ibgardyloo is right about taking the gorge route it can be bad too.
I use to drive to Seattle every month for 12 years for work but I'd hop the plane in the winter.
There's always Amtrak: either a bus leaving downtown Seattle in the morning and arriving in late afternoon, or the Empire Builder train, leaving in late afternoon and arriving a bit after midnight.
Alaska Airlines fares seem to be pretty low for that route, if you don't mind flying in the winter in a turboprop, like the Bombardier Q400 pt.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bombardier_Q_Series.Edited: 04 December 2013, 17:15
Sutter, they do have the bigger planes from time to time during the day which Alaska air operates, Horizon air operates the smaller ones. I always tried to fly one of Alaska's but the timing didn't always work so Horizon it was. It's an idea for the OP and if renting a car it's cheaper over here.
-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-
This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.
To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html
We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.