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14-15 PNW Gathering (WA/OR) - Page 3

post #61 of 82
Originally Posted by wuz a skier View Post

Hopefully NEXT year we can do a gathering @ Mission/Stevens.  This winter is pretty much a write off as far as I'm concerned.

I would agree.  Looks like this seasons lack of snow cancels the Mission/Stevens trip for this year.  I am up for next year though.

post #62 of 82

Still skiing north of the border. With exchange its a bargain. But it's a bit of a drive from Oregon.

post #63 of 82
Bachelor is skiing well. No need to leave OR really. smile.gif
post #64 of 82

I have determined that it is Washington that is having the worst year.  Mt. Baker is the epicenter which, I suppose, is only fair considering how much snow we usually get.  I'm in B.C. now, headed to Alberta tomorrow and the skiing here is not great because there hasn't been much precip lately, but at least there is enough snow.  I wold be all for a gathering in either Vernon or Bend, though I tend to like Vernon/Kelowna better because: 1. There are three good areas close at hand and, 2. it's closer to me.


However, on second thought, the beer in Bend is FAR superior in quality and more diverse than that found north of the border, or pretty much anywhere else in North America.  It's worth a drive.

post #65 of 82

In the past Bachelor has offered a very low price Spring Pass. So maybe waiting until April and maybe getting more snow between now and April might work.


The license and insurance on my truck-camper doesn't expire until May 9...just sayin I might make it.

post #66 of 82

Busy with JH, Tahoe, Aspen skiing till mid april.


SLIGHT chance of visiting Mt Bachelor late April into May.

Heck I have 2 free days there I can use this year or next.

post #67 of 82
I'll be around if the snow is.
post #68 of 82
Spring weekend in bend Oregon
With all that beer

What's not to like
post #69 of 82
I will be there this spring when they get some snow. i got a deal on 3 days o skiing for $109, I could not pass that up. There are lots of good places to eat and brew pubs in Bend.
post #70 of 82

I wold be all for a gathering in either Vernon or Bend, though I tend to like Vernon/Kelowna better because: 1. There are three good areas close at hand and, 2. it's closer to me.


However, on second thought, the beer in Bend is FAR superior in quality and more diverse than that found north of the border, or pretty much anywhere else in North America.  It's worth a drive.

I was in western Canada Feb. 19 - 28.  Everything west of Rogers' Pass had rain to the top on Feb. 8 and Feb. 14 with little new snow since then.  All we saw and heard from Big White and Revelstoke was that it's strictly groomer skiing even though base depths are ample.


So you're right to be heading for Alberta.  We skied Louise and Sunshine Feb. 25-26: north facing snow is good, south facing (front of Louise, Goat's Eye) is frozen granular from a mid-February warmup.  Kicking Horse was melt/frozen on the lower mountain from rain and on south facing even up higher. Panorama had the best conditions up there because:

1) It's mostly north facing

2) The steeps are all up high and got no rain

3) The lower groomers had intense snowmaking and grooming better than the other 3 places.


We drove past rained-upon Fernie and Whitefish to ski Lost Trail and Discovery in Montana, both of which were at least as good as anywhere we skied in Canada. TR's with pics from all of the above here:


I agree that Bachelor is the best bet for your get together.  The Summit has been hard-packed but the base is deep so the potential for great spring corn is good.  The only caveat is that Northwest had a serious mechanical failure and might be down for the rest of the season.

Edited by Tony Crocker - 3/4/15 at 10:32am
post #71 of 82

Saw this interesting "letter to our customers" from Crystal Mountain.



Letter To Our Customers – In Particular Season Pass Holders

Written by John Kircher, General Manager/Owner

If you had the feeling as a member of the skiing and snowboarding community that this ski season was a poor one, take it from all of us at Crystal Mountain who depend on snow for our livelihoods — it was a resounding bummer!  Being on the mountain each day trying to keep things going while the warm weather and rains melted hopes of fun conditions was like the slow squeak of dry chalk on a board. Layoffs, closed operations, short work hours and people on half pay–such as myself. Our lowest visitation day was 11 skiers!

Still, Crystal will have been open a lot of days. My guess is that we will have run 106 or more days when the season ends sometime in April. However that number is still open.  There have been some really good Aprils that have offered up great skiing and we’ve been mobbed with skiers and riders eager to get their days in.  So we will see what happens.


Green Valley 3/18/15

Being closed Mondays and Tuesdays cuts out the days where we just don’t come close to covering our expenses. But we will keep a solid schedule of Wednesday-Sunday until something changes. I had a lot of fun in the Green Valley this morning. After shoveling new snow, some early tracks on a few inches of dry snow were really fun. I realized that probably half of the ski areas in the U.S. are not as big in total area as Green Valley, and that I had only skied a small bit of it before going back to work.

Good skiers and good ski resort operators ask this question: How does a ski resort keep this season from happening again?  The solution is easier than you think.

While one remedy is better cooperation from Mother Nature, I can guarantee that we at Crystal have said every prayer and chant, built the biggest bonfires, burned skis and snowboards, shot pineapples in the air an on the ground, and anything else that might get attention and it did not work to make it snow or be cold.

But when heaven won’t help, hoses will. Snowmaking. With a decent snowmaking system in place here at Crystal it would have made all the difference in the world this past season. We could have offered an opening well before Thanksgiving Day and had continuous skiing on all of our lifts – with the exception of the Northway chair – through today’s date and until the end of the planned season in April.

kircher snowmaking

Everett Kircher – early 1950’s

Target for this project: under design now and install as soon as possible. We can make this happen. You will be happier for it.  Most importantly, you will be able to buy a season ski pass at Crystal Mountain and be able to have much more confidence in having more of what is already the longest ski season in Washington.

The company has been making snow since the 1950’s. My dad patented one type of machinery in the 60’s. Crystal has not invested in snowmaking mainly because we been putting every dollar into lifts and other improvements. For Northwest skiing, snowmaking was till now a little like making ice for Eskimos (sorry Inuit friends up north with your thousand different names for snow).   But it’s clear to everyone involved with Crystal that it’s time to insure that all of the facilities we’ve built can run, you can make plans and have good skiing, and people can come to work and be at your service on schedule.


New PistenBully 600E+

I can guarantee you that, while you are probably not totally happy with this past ski season, we at Crystal put 100% effort into doing the very best to not miss a minute of time getting the season going and maintaining slope conditions best we can. We invested heavily in the very best slope grooming equipment and they were driven by the very best of drivers. It made a big difference.


New Chair 6

We offer up a good credit on your next season pass — good but not huge because we did have a season and we don’t control the weather. If you feel bad about how much you used your pass this season, imagine us at Crystal- we spent over $2.5 million building two new lifts that barely ran.  But that’s the risk we all take when Mother Nature is in control.

My hope is that you’ll keep that excitement for the sport alive all summer and come back and see us next season. It truly is the best ski mountain in the region. We’ll be here next winter, same time, same place.

John Kircher

John Kircher
Owner, General Manager
Crystal Mountain Resort



  1. Karen Harrison March 18, 2015 at 6:16 pm

    Bravo John! You did an exceptional job keeping the mountain open for everyone who wanted to ski and snowboard.
    You worked with Mother Nature exceptionally well and we know it wasn’t easy.
    We should all be thanking you. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!
    Karen Harrison

  2. Juliet O.C March 18, 2015 at 6:22 pm

    Will see you next season Sir John!
    I am still kind of disappointed that i did not feel winter this year and even more disappointed that i only skied once this season. I had been working my ass long hours to save for ski lift tickets and then “No snow!”

  3. Mark Burns March 18, 2015 at 6:47 pm

    John, Is the Peak to Summit Pass no longer available? I ski Crystal and Alpental and purchased the Peak to Summit Pass the 2 years it was available (Dirt Bag King Sid Kurtz convinced me to ski Crystal). I did not get as many days this year but I think I got 25 ski days at Crystal despite people telling me that there was no snow in the mountains. I also spent time skiing in other states that had low snowpack but I never have been good at listening to people when they say things cannot be done.

    I also wonder who is in charge of guest relations as they don’t seem to be very understanding of my sweet wife Karie Burns who wanted to ski but could not fit her broken foot in a ski boot. This year I bought a Peak to Summit for Karie who broke her foot after just seven days of the ski season. Crystal Guest Relations has refused to give any credit for the fact that her foot was broken January 28, 2015 and has been unable ski as she cannot walk let alone ski. I am wondering about getting credit for her pass for 2015-2016.

    Please let me know about what can be done for Karie who has been a lifelong Season Pass holder at Stevens Pass and literally left her family at Stevens Pass to come ski Crystal Mountain with me. After 34 seasons at Stevens Pass, I was hoping to get her to fall in love with Crystal Mountain. Thanks Mark Burns

post #72 of 82

They've done a stellar job given the lack of snowfall and warm temps. It's been a challenge for sure. 

post #73 of 82

hope they install the new snow making system and  never have to use it. However it's a good back-up when the weather won't co-operate.

Whistler invested heavily for Olympic snow security. Thats the only reason you haven't had to download this year. 

post #74 of 82

I'm willing to bet there are several mountains in the PNW, B.C. and Alberta that are looking in to snow making and summer grooming.


Rumor has it that Sun Peaks will increase its snow making capacity by constructing a second reservoir this summer.

post #75 of 82
Whitefish has a water rights problem, I believe. They're only allowed to take so much, except for rainfall into the holding ponds. Somehow, I think building more holding ponds would take a lot of paperwork... They have the same drainage as the town water supply and most of the resort is on federal land. I noticed the ponds are way down, maybe close to empty.
post #76 of 82
Originally Posted by noncrazycanuck View Post

hope they install the new snow making system and  never have to use it. However it's a good back-up when the weather won't co-operate.

Whistler invested heavily for Olympic snow security. Thats the only reason you haven't had to download this year. 

Stevens Pass also had a bad snow year.  The night time temps were low enough to barely get by with very little snow.  The groomers get an A+ for doing so much with so little snow.  Stevens Pass is now waiting for more snow to open.  Sad but I am sure they are done for this year.  I am also a seasons pass holder there.  Having low temps at night would have been ideal for snow making.  If they would just install equipment on the front side they would have adequate snow for the day and night skiing.  I lost money on this years seasons pass.  They offered a good deal for next year with a Loyalty discount so I did buy again for my wife and myself.  I will only do that for so long if we have another season next year like this year.  I agree with this post in regards to Whistler that  "I hope they install the new snow making system and  never have to use it. However it's a good back-up when the weather won't co-operate."  Stevens Pass needs to evaluate snow making as well.

post #77 of 82
post #78 of 82

Very informative link.  I knew it was a bad snow year in the PNW this year but had no idea it was this bad.

post #79 of 82

Really wanted to go to PNW Gathering this year and meet some people.  WAIT TILL NEXT YEAR !!!!!!   The Inland was only a little better than the Cascades.  Every time it snowed it was followed by rain and warm temps.


Have to give Lookout Pass credit for managing the snow as well as they did.  One weekend in March the place was crawling with racers from the Seattle area.


Silver Mt. also did a great job staying open.  Snow bridges were hand built to get to the chair 3 and 4 terminals.  Silver is also going from 5 to 7 days operation next year, I like the optimism and look forward to Mon and tue powder skiing with NO people.


14-15 was a very poor snow winter for all of us.  However I do remember the winters of 73 & 74 in Tahoe as much worse.


2015-16 will be great ski season - hell I bought new skis.:ski 

post #80 of 82

My wife and I were also up for the PNW gathering this year. I skied Lookout Pass many years ago.  I also skied Silver Mountain years ago and remember when it was called Jackass Mountain.  I was actually born in Kellogg Idaho.  I am interested in Silver Mountain again especially if they go to 7 days a week.  We have seasons passes at Stevens Pass in Washington.  I bought new seasons passes through a Loyalty Program at Stevens Pass that gave existing pass holders a very good deal on next years passes. I also bought new skis and hope for the best next season.

post #81 of 82

4/16/15 Stevens Pass actually opened Skyline for the past few days.  I went up yesterday Wed. 4/15/15 and had a good time on pretty good snow.  Not much open but did not hit any rocks.  By 1pm it was getting pretty slushy halfway down and you could see the dirt starting to show through at the lift line.  I had a good time for my last day of the year.  Check out the Stevens Pass Loyalty program for existing pass holders on next years seasons passes.  They are great deals that kick a**.

post #82 of 82
Thread Starter 

For everyone who is subscribed to this thread from last year, I started a new thread for a 2016 PNW Gathering. I also linked a Survey Monkey poll for some options for locations (Epic's poll function blew up on me when I tried house it).  Hope to see you in the new thread.

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