Sleeper Pow Day | Crystal Mountain Conditions Report 3/28/14

Chaz Diamond | | Conditions ReportConditions Report

IMG_4796Northway Chair delivered today, minigolf and refills!

What is a sleeper pow day? You know, one of those days most people slept on and forgot about. With temperatures hovering just below freezing for the past few days, we heard Crystal was getting the goods, but who actually knew. Maybe it rained to 6000′, maybe it was pow? You don’t know unless you go, so we went.

IMG_4766Shanti finding the goods right under Rainier Express. Nope, that’s not hot pow.

Going was the wise choice. Arriving at the Crystal Parking lot to find snow in the trees was a awesome and set the mood for the day. Heading to the upper mountain took the stoke up a notch. Close to a foot had accumulated in the past 48 hours, and hardly anyone had touched it! On top of that, it was dumping on and off dishing out free refills. Sure the light was flat, but after a while you just get used to that in Washington, and go get it anyways.

Warmup laps under Rainier Express found the snow faster and drier than expected; drier snow on top of heavier snow and no crust underneath. With the resort looking like a ghost town at 10AM, we left Rainier Express and headed to Green Valley before bumping over to the Northway Chair.

IMG_4783Northway Chair. It may be up there for longest chair rides, but it gives the legs a rest after hot laps.

With Chair 6 gone, Northway may have earned a spot on the top 5 chairs in the PNW. Chair 6 is epic because it tops out on top of some steep, sustained, open pitches, several cliff bands. Northway is epic because it opens an insane amount of terrain with endless minigolf options and open bowls to choose from in the upper portions this place kept dishing out the goods. Yes, the snow was a bit heavy lower down (close to parking lot level, Northway has just under 1,900 vertical feet) but up top winter was in full effect. Laps on Northway never failed, every new zone we explored had more fresh snow and more minigolf options! While Chair Six was missed, the terrain available in Green Valley and Northway is stellar.

IMG_4791

IMG_4799Playing some minigolf in Northway Bowl. 

IMG_4813Chutes dropping in to Horseshoe Cliffs zone.

Zones like Horseshoe Cliffs and Northway Bowl delivered the goods. Short, steep sections that open onto minigolf options with open powder runouts. Take it as big as you like, it was definitely a choose your own adventure day. Throughout the day the temperatures did creep up and the snow got a bit heavy at lower elevations. Back up at higher elevation things stayed cool all day and the snow kept well, there were still faceshots and pow turns at 3pm. Surprisingly few people were on the mountain, so there was no need to worry about people poaching your lines or following you into zones.

With snow on the forecast the skiing will be phenomenal at Crystal this weekend. 10 inches are forecasted to fall by Sunday keeping conditions good into next week. The return of winter storms was welcome. The few people that we did find skiing Crystal all commented on what a strange winter the North West has been having. After a long strange winter, it’s good to ski powder at the end of March!


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