Friday, January 11, 2013

Northwest Skiing: Crystal Mountain Anytime

Why Crystal?  Crystal Mountain is an imperfect gem of a ski resort, which makes it so beloved amongst locals from around the Puget Sound region. Crystal boasts plenty of challenging double black-diamond terrain, hidden chutes, and private stashes to keep experts entertained. Avalanche-controlled backcountry for extra thrills. Decent intermediate runs to keep the family and relative newbies happy.  Bowl after bowl on the upper mountain and forest-lined runs on the lower mountain for all tastes and abilities.  Some of the best cookies in the world at the wonderful little Snorting Elk deli. The spectacular close-up view of Mount Rainier from the top of the mountain.  

Lots more reasons!

Imperfect? Getting freshies in the South Back or many other places on the mountain when temps stay low after a big snowfall is perfection.  But if it was always perfect, the sometimes hefty crowds would be overwhelming, right?  When it doesn't snow for a while, Iceberg (I just can't call it Ferk's) can get downright hard, scrapey, and unpleasant to ski, although they groom it better than in years past. Same for Lower Exterminator and a few other runs.  Best avoided.  Then there's the uneven lodge food, although it's truly getting lots better too. (For the best chow, fork out extra $$ for the Summit House or go all the way to the base to Snorting Elk deli.)  And who enjoys the long trudge up from the bottom of B, C, or D parking lots if you don't feel like waiting for the open-air shuttle?

Sidestepping, traversing, and hiking out to the South Backcountry
No doubt thousands of photos have been taken over the years of skiers up here atop Green Valley.

Mt. Rainier from top of Green Valley

Riding the Northway chairlift

Snow day skiing

 When You Go:  Most Northwest skiers know Crystal, but if you're new to the the region or will be visiting, come on up and make some turns. Be prepared to be shocked and awed by the view of Rainier on a bluebird day if you've never been.  Here are driving directions; give yourself close to two hours from central Seattle, an hour and a half from Tacoma.  Adult day lift tickets can be had for as little as $61 if you reload your Go Card (which you'll get the first time you buy a ticket at the mountain) on the Crystal website and don't pay extra for the gondola.


Suezy P said...

Your photography is stunning. I enjoyed the depth of this article and had fun clicking on all the links. Darn you anyway, I want a Snorting Elk's Deli's Crocodile Spice Cookie!

Joe Leeak said...

Brrr... and I thought it was cold hiking in 40 deg temps out at Lake Mead today.


Lisa Osse said...

Nice post, Jill. I'm glad we got to spend a day in your stomping grounds!

jill said...

Suezy, thanks so much for the feedback! Maybe I'll make you some mock croc spice cookies :)

joe, yup, much colder up north here, but in a dry spell.

Thanks Lisa!

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