There is a saying, that every cloud has a silver lining. Pretty much that there is always glimmer of something positive or good, even in a hopeless situation.
On April 3rd, 2014, the Washington State Department of Transportation opened Chinook and Cayuse Pass in what is historically early for both mountain passes, due to the warm winter of 2014/2015. News that may be viewed as symbolic for the lost season, has become a chance for opportunity. Crystal Mountain Resort and White Pass Ski area have teamed up to offer a first time experience for riders in the the evergreen state: 1 lift ticket, to ski both mountains, in 1 day.
Those that are not familiar with the area, when Chinook and Cayuse Pass are closed during the winter months, traveling to both ski resorts in one day is very unlikely due to the 3 1/2 it would take with alternate routes. With both passes opening, the travel time should be no more than 1 hour. Something that is pretty common with riders in the rocky mountain states.
Statements made by both resorts:
“This is a very fun and rare opportunity to have easy access between the two resorts while we are still open for skiing.The passes usually open well after each of our resorts close for the ski season.” – John Kircher Crystal Mountain GM
“While White Pass and Crystal are less than 25 miles apart as the crow flies, access between the two ski areas while both are operating has not occurred since the early 1970’s. We invite you to take advantage of this epic adventure and ski both resorts in one day. There are only 46 miles and a 1-hour drive between the two through majestic Mt. Rainier National Park.” – White Pass
On a personal level, this is an exciting opportunity for the area. Crystal Mountain is Washington’s largest and most popular ski resort, and White Pass is its sleeping giant. As much as this winter has seen historically low snowfall in the region, ski areas like Crystal and White Pass, mainly due to their higher elevation, have not given up their fight in trying to salvage this lost season. On a side note, to those of you that thought the Mt. Rainier Gondola over at Crystal was a bad idea, it has proven its worth this season, being able to drop people off at the summit where there was still decent snow.
It should also make for an interesting weekend on the mountain pass roads. As one Facebook poster commented, “It’ll be like dukes of hazard on the way between resorts, how about a contest to who has the most expensive speeding ticket gets a free seasons pass”. Now that’s not a bad idea for a follow up story to be honest. As the saying goes, in every cloud there’s a silver lining, and this rare opportunity may be that.
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