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.
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 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!