I just spent the last two days exploring what has certainly become a new favorite of mine. Crystal Mountain in Washington. All I can say is wow. I'm sure any of the regulars who frequent the place and are lucky enough to call it their home Resort will know what I'm talking about. And I couldn't even cover the entire place in two days.
After receiving over 12 feet of snow in the month of March and a couple more feet of powder in April, I came here hoping for some of the fresh snow but the deep powder that everyone skied here Saturday, was replaced by bright sunshine, blue skis and tempertatures in the 50's on the mountain. Which fits into my theory that if you can't ski fresh powder, bluebird skis and sunshine is the next best thing.
What I found was the vista of Mt. Rainier as well as being able to see for 100 miles in all directions. Headed over to Snorting Elk Bowl for a few short steep runs for a warm up hoping to get to Northway but it wasn't running so I decided to head over to High Campbell for some double black runs in Powder Bowl. Powder Bowl was nice and soft with plenty of moguls to turn on which made it feel much easier to ski that it's steepness looked from a distance.
It was so nice, I decided to do it again. Heading back up Campbell, I met a couple Patrollers. One of whom I rode up with. explaining that I was new to the mountain, he suggested I follow them to Silver King and Avalanche Basin, but it was a hike if i was up for it. 45 minutes later, I was standing atop what seemed to be the top of the world, staring down some steep chutes with countless moguls and sluff, I picked a line they said was called "Brain Damage" After killing that, we hiked it again to go from the top on a run called "Hour Glass". After a short break, lots of water and a few granola snacks, hiked and traversed to Silver Basin for some unskied lines there in some of the gnarliest snow condition I ever skied. 3 feet of powder with two days of 50 degree snow melt on the top made for turns I didn't know I could muster. If it hadn't been so steep, I would have straightlined as much as possible. But the trees down low still had some softer snow that was nice on the legs, enough to let me find the base and a break for some water, food and rest.
The rest of the day found me cruising around the upper parts of the mountain, looking for shaded areas that still held good snow.
Today was another story. Other than a few runs off Silver Queen, I spent the day cruising around the Blues with my Wife as she wasn't up for any Blacks or moguls. But during lunch, I did a hike to the King for one run. Did a few action shots on some lower stuff,
All in all, it was a fun two days and a new found love of a ski mountain. This place has more skiable lines, more steeps, more bump runs, many without names than most places i've skied in my life. Believe me, if you haven't skied here, you should.
I'm definitly adding this trip as an annual. I'll be back again next Winter for sure.