The state of Washington is a truly unique place and has so much to offer every outdoor enthusiast. With jaw dropping coastlines and backdrops of snow capped volcanoes and mountain peaks its no wonder that Washington is a destination at the top of many bucket lists.
Crystal Mountain, located at the Northeast corner of Mt. Ranier National park, boasts some of the best Washington has to offer in the way of snow sports. With stunning views of Mt. Ranier, a snowfall total of 486 inches a year, and the largest skiable acreage in Washington at 2,600 acres it really stands out above the rest.
Crystal was purchase by Boyne Resorts in 1997 who has spent a whopping $30 million in the past decade alone improving the mountain immensely. One of their top priorities has been updating the outdated lift system, which enhances the skiing experience even further. To date, the average chairlift is less than 15 years old with only two remaining out of date lifts.
Lift Updates Since Boyne’s Takeover of Crystal Mountain Resort
- 1997 the Forest Queen Express high-speed detachable six passenger lift was built
- 1998 Chinook Express high-speed detachable six passenger lift installed and Quicksilver high-speed detachable quad shortened
- 2000 the Green Valley lift was upgraded from a fixed grip double to a high-speed fixed grip quad
- 2007 the Northway lift was installed opening up 1,000 acres of lift accessed terrain
- 2010 the eight passenger Mt. Ranier Gondola was installed and opened January 1, 2011
- 2014 Chair 6 was replaced after being destroyed by a large avalanche
- Future replacement for the Ranier Express and Discovery lifts are in the works as they are the last remaining outdated lifts
“There aren’t many ski areas this side of Europe with as modern a lift system as Crystal Mountain in the Washington Cascades.”
-Peter Landsman for liftblog.com
Boyne also has some new lift installments planned for the future. The Kelly’s Gap Express lift is planned to be built between existing Northway and Green Valley lifts and will improve skiers accessibility to the north side of the mountain. This lift will accompany a new base facility located in the current lower parking lots. A new lift called Park-N-Ride will be inserted between the current base and base of the gondola to substitute the use of pick-ups and trailers as skier transportation to the base area.
A new lift site has been proposed on the east side of the valley, opposite of Crystal Mountain, where Gold Hills existed from the years of 1974-1984. The lift was moved due to lack of snow since it is located on lower-elevation terrain and in order to make the new lift viable it would be partnered with modern snowmaking systems. Another expansion project, the East Peak lift, was submitted with the Master Development Plan in 2004 to the Forest Service to access high alpine terrain above Bullion Basin. The Forest Service rejected the suggested plan for East Peak. (To see more information about Boyne’s Master Plan for Crystal Mountain please see Crystal Mountain Master Development Plan)
The state of Washington and Pacific Northwest has followed a fairly consistent trend of good snowfall throughout the years. This upcoming year resembles a similar if not better outlook for snow predictions which, along with all the improvements to Crystal Mountain Resort, paints a pretty picture for a ski adventure.