Brought to you by Crystal Mountain, WA
When you think of Crystal Mountain, WA, you probably think of the steep terrain, deep powder days, and athletes like Ingrid Backstrom, Tyler Ceccanti, Blair Habenicht, and Morgan Hebert that call this place home. What you might not think of is its community that fills the slopes and the motorhomes in Crystal’s B-Lot every weekend.
Ingrid Backstrom, a professional skier, actually grew up in B-lot on the weekends with her two brothers while her parents were volunteer patrollers. The mountain was literally her babysitter. Many families have been packing up their kids, skis, and dogs into motorhomes and pull-behind trailers for decades to come stay the weekends and holiday breaks up in Crystal’s B-lot. Many have become close friends over the years and join together at bonfires after Christmas dinners.
There are now 72 RV slots with power hookups along the right wall of B-Lot. The lot has changed since 1965, but the memories and relationships that are made there have not! Some may just see it as a parking lot, but in the winter it turns into a neighborhood of skiers and snowboarders waiting for the next big pow day. No need to reserve a spot, spots are first-come, first-serve, except during the Holiday period in December, in which you need to reserve a spot.
The community that fills B-lot every weekend is forever welcoming and at times, a bit rowdy, which we won’t complain about.
“One Christmas Eve when I was an instructor and my parents were up for the holidays, we were having dinner when someone knocked on the door. It was our neighbor inviting us out for drinks and a bonfire. My dad being the socialite that he is grabbed a bottle of Tequila and headed out to meet everyone. From the trailer, I could see the silhouettes of everyone around the fire. They were talking about the forecast and how they were going to “get pitted” in the days to come. When I finally joined them, I realized that our neighbors were my bosses, our freeride director and other rippin’ locals that I had been admiring for years out on the hill. They welcomed my parents and myself with open arms and open beers.” – Brianna
This is a common theme, the B-Lot community is full of powder hounds, ski-everyday-locals, families, and those looking for a weekend getaway in the mountains.
Kristen Kochevar, for example, has been a regular in B-lot with her parents since the day she was born. Her family has spent every weekend at Crystal since 1974 before B-lot was ever deemed the land of RV’s. During Kristin’s first winter, she was often spotted tucked into the coat of whichever parent was on “baby-duty” while skiing. Her second winter she was plopped in a backpack yelling; “Go faster!” At the age of two-and-a-half she refused to be carried and began her skiing career. She raced for 10 years before she decided that powder was better than race gates and she hasn’t looked back.
Kristen speaks of the B-Lot kid gang from her earlier years as if they were family. After skiing, they would be building huge snow forts and getting in trouble for trying (and sometimes failing) to jump the creek out back. They were all semi-professional snow-shovelers at a very young age, as that was the “chore” that most B lot kids had to do each day. They have celebrated holidays together and even hosted a Thanksgiving dinner for 23 people and an unknown number of dogs in her family’s RV a few seasons back, one of her favorite Thanksgiving to date.
Her and her parents, John and Cheryl Kochevar are still B-lot locals, but now with a more official title, B-Lot Hosts. They are there to make sure you are all cozy in your RV and to answer any questions but don’t count on them to be there at 9 am on a powder day. They are just like the rest of us powder junkies, we have to get our fix. Some things just never change.