Crystal Mountain Weekly Report: Epic Re-Opening + 118″ of Snow

Rachel Delacour | | Conditions ReportConditions Report
Mt. Rainier was basking in the sun all day long, providing gorgeous views for happy skiers.
Mt. Rainier from the Northeast.

Earlier this month, Crystal Mountain opened for a few days and closed soon after due to a deteriorating snowpack. A week ago, on December 22nd, Crystal was able to reopen the upper portion of the mountain, allowing hungry weekday skiers to enjoy deep, dry, bluebird powder turns.

At 7am that Monday morning some evo coworkers and I left Seattle in search of hot laps and heavy snow. None of us were expecting Crystal’s Green Valley to be so light, buffy and fun! After a rough, slow start to winter in Washington, making consecutive pow turns with good friends was sweet relief. When the sun popped out and revealed a stunning view of Mt. Rainier, it was impossible to keep us all from beaming.

Drew and Billy posing at the top of Elk Chutes at Crystal Mountain on December 22nd, 2014.
Drew Tabke and Billy Hansen are happy winter has finally found its way to Washington!
The steeper terrain in Crystal's upper mountain was still pretty exposed.
Looking down from the top of Elk Chutes.

Towards the middle of the day, the sun-baked southern slopes sent us searching for shaded, untracked terrain. After a quick boot pack we found ourselves staring down Elk Chutes: a series of steep, short chutes that funnel into Crystal’s infamous Snorting Elk Bowl. Having decided against the larger, thinly covered lines, we made some awesome turns in a nearby glade.

The glades near Elk Chutes were shaded for most of the day, allowing the snow to remain dry and light.
Ryan Toth making some great turns beneath Elk Chutes.

The rest of the day was spent making fast laps and attempting to destroy what little remained of my hamstrings and quads. The early season snowpack made for some large wind lips and poppy side hits that were easy favorites.

As the week progressed, Crystal received more and more snow, resulting in a 118” season total snowfall as of this evening. On Christmas Eve, the new Chair 6 and Quicksilver lifts were opened. Southback, Crystal’s backcountry terrain on the southern end of the resort, opened Christmas Day. Southback allows skier’s access to Silver King, a legendary peak topping out at just over 7,000 feet. This past weekend Crystal was also able to open the Northern-most part of the resort, an area of lift-accessible side-country known as Northway. The forecast for the rest of the week is dry and cold, providing for some awesome sunny days on skis!

Unskied trees in the afternoon light at Crystal.
There was plenty for everyone on re-opening day.
Crystal has received 118" of snow so far this winter, which has created nearly a 50" base at the top of the resort.
Crystal’s Snow Totals as of 8pm on Monday, 12/29.
NOAA's 7-day forecast for Crystal predicts some cold, dry days ahead.
Crystal’s NOAA 7-Day forecast (5,232 ft.) as of 8pm on Monday, 12/29.

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