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Washington Trip Crystal Mountain

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

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.

 

My day started heading up the Rainier Express taking in the vistas and the expanse of this beautiful Mountain.

 

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.

post #2 of 17

 

 

I like the smiles. Glad you had a good time! 

post #3 of 17

Glad you had fun Lars, maybe next time we can make some runs together.  Did they take you out to three-way peak?  Too bad the North backcountry was closed.  There are some great runs there including Fly'n Floyd (middle finger of the fingers chutes)

The last picture is the top of the King with the skier going down Brain Damage.

post #4 of 17
Thread Starter 

For sure Lucky. Brain Damage was my first run down and hourglass the second. The next peak over, whatever that one was was very gnarly. Was exhausted from the hike there. Awesome place Lucky. a real skiers mountain and maybe one of the best days of skiing I can remember. There's lines all over this place. You can ride a lift and pick countless places to ski down whether it's bumps or what. Hiking at 7,000 ft. instead of 13,000 is so much kinder on an old fart like me.

 

Notice the smile on my face anyhow. I'll be back next year, you can count on it.

post #5 of 17
Thread Starter 

I'm suprised nobody noticed that I had K2's on my feet instead of Rossi's.

post #6 of 17
Thread Starter 

Just looked at my trail map Lucky, ya, it was three way peak. Some of the toughest snow conditions i've ever skied. Deep snow with sunpack from three days of temps in the 50's. Took all my skills to ski that. Everything else was like creamed corn and whipped cream with bumps.

 

post #7 of 17

Nice Trip Lars!

 

post #8 of 17

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lars View Post

 

 

Sounds like a cool trip!  Thanks for the report.  Hey, I like that color combo!

 

Oh, and I noticed the K2s =)

post #9 of 17

Yeah, what's up with the chinese boards?

post #10 of 17
Thread Starter 

Traveled without my skis. Demoed some Rossi Phantom 80's on Monday. I'll write a report on them when I get a chance. Went to a different shop in Enumclaw for demos tuesday. Apaches, nice boards actually. Very nice.

 

The Fate pants are the coolest pants I own, by that I mean temperature wise. Full of vents as well as the Marmot Precip jacket. Lots of vent zips and lightweight. I stripped down to a tshirt for the hikes. tuff going in spots. Had to keep up with the Patrollers I was with  and i didn't want them to think i was a gaper or something. Proved that when i jumped in Brain Damage. They have new found respect for an old guy from NY on demos. I think they thought I was bullshitting them, or maybe it was my outfit.

post #11 of 17
Thread Starter 

I gotta tell you though, the picture Lucky put up of Silver King and the first run I did Brain Damage, it really doesn't look that steep when you are standing there.

post #12 of 17

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lars View Post

I gotta tell you though, the picture Lucky put up of Silver King and the first run I did Brain Damage, it really doesn't look that steep when you are standing there.


I was wondering about that, because that pic looks really steep.  I've never been out there 'cause I've never been skiing with anyone that knows their way around out there.  Glad to see you had a good time here.  Crystal when it's good can be really, really good. 

post #13 of 17
Thread Starter 

 

This is what I was talking about, standing from a distance, it doesn't look that steep, until you are standing up there looking for a line to ski down.

 

It is darn steep but I don't know what the pitch is. I've skied steeper. Some in Squaw and some sections of the East Wall at ABasin. Anyone know?

post #14 of 17
post #15 of 17
Thread Starter 

 


That's an awesome picture. Ya, my Brother in Law called me a few days after we got home telling me they were getting pounded. I missed the pow by a few days  but that warm sunshine and blue sky wasn't too bad. I really enjoyed the mountain and the people that showed me the hike to stuff were gracious as well as good skiers. (couple patrollers) Sorry about your job.
 

 

Crystal is one hell of a skiers mountain with a multitude of lines off every lift as well as some of the nicest hiking terrain I've ever skied. Period. You are lucky.

post #16 of 17

Nice stuff. I've only skied Crystal once, but I left thinking that it was one of the best mountains I'd ever seen in terms of terrain. I'm sure snow/weather can be another story, but man there's some great skiing there.

post #17 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lars View Post

 

This is what I was talking about, standing from a distance, it doesn't look that steep, until you are standing up there looking for a line to ski down.

 

It is darn steep but I don't know what the pitch is. I've skied steeper. Some in Squaw and some sections of the East Wall at ABasin. Anyone know?


You're right. What's pictured here isn't all that steep. That's because here you were looking at threeway peak. Brain damage, pin ball, hourglass, etc. are on the Silver King, a peak that's obscured in this picture (which I'm willing to bet was taken at the Cambell Basin Lodge, at the top of the Forest Queen Express/ just up from Chair 6 (High Campbell-- the chair you took in order to hike out to the King). Just look at this picture vs. the other picture you posted of the frontside of the King-- clearly not the same Mtn. at all. Hope this clears up the confusion. I think E.Wall at A-Basin is a little steeper, but if the snow conditions pictured are what you had for skiing the King, you can bet that it's a lot dicier with a little less coverage.
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