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Feb 2010 22

Day 46
Location: Enumclaw, WA
Resorts: 22 out of 50

Crystal Mountain in Washington might be the best kept secret on the West Coast. It’s massive, the terrain is endless, and everywhere you turn there are epic views of Mt. Rainier.

Good morning Mt. Rainier

Good morning Mt. Rainier

Started up in the sixties, Boyne Resorts acquired Crystal in the late nineties. Because it’s located on national forest land, Boyne took all the money they would have spent on massive hotels and instead put it into the lift system. The result is easily accessible terrain — and lots of it.

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We made it to Washington!

Even Santa loves Crystal Mountain

Even Santa loves Crystal Mountain

Take for instance the Northway Chair, opened during the 07-08 season (see the map at the bottom). This modest double gets you to the top of an insane amount of terrain. There’s bowls, there’s trees, there’s cliffs…there’s really a little bit of everything to keep you busy for a week. And that’s just off of one chair lift.

If you’re not ready to jump out through the gates to Northway, check out the Green Valley chair which is a smaller version of the terrain you would find to the north. For those seeking out the steeps, grab a ride up the High Campbell double to the top of Silver Queen.

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Top of Silver Queen and another sunny day

From right to left: Silver Queen, Silver Queen, Three Way Peak (I think)

From right to left: Silver Queen, Silver King, Three Way Peak (I think)

All this would be more than enough to qualify as a sick hill, but Crystal’s stand out terrain are the multiple basins: Campbell, Avalanche, and Silver. You can get to these through a combination of hiking and traversing. The ridge lines reminded us of Big Sky back in Montana which happens to be another Boyne mountain.

Crystal Mountain Ski Resort

Taking a break at the Campbell Basin Lodge

Taking a break at the Campbell Basin Lodge

The sun was blasting again which meant t-shirts under our coats. As I heard one patroller comment: “If you can’t enjoy the snow, then enjoy the sun.” It was that kind of day where it feels more like April than late February. The southern facing slopes even softened up enough for slushy bumps. We took a long tour of the mountain, sometimes poking onto rock hard icy steeps, but mostly enjoying the groomers.

Click to see a Larger Map

Click to see a Larger Map

Here is our random picture of the day taken in the town of Snoqualmie in front of some giant tree trunk.

Look at the size of that trunk

Look at the size of that trunk

The Cheat Sheet:

Crystal Mountain
33914 Crystal Mountain Boulevard
Enumclaw, WA

Mountain Stats

Snowfall 380 in (965 cm)
Top Elevation 7,012 ft (2,137 m)
Bottom Elevation 4,400 ft (1,341 m)
Vertical Drop 3,100 ft (945 m)
Area Size 11 lifts | 57 trails | 2,600 acres (1,053 ha) acres

4 comments so far...

  1. Michelle says:

    Ofosho! Crystal is legit. From Seattle, Snoqualmie is closer and easier to get to but Crystal is definitely worth it. It’s magical.

  2. It sure is magic. I hope we can get back there when there’s more snow.

  3. Great to see you guys made it out to Crystal and Snoqualmie for some NW classics. Thanks for checking us out! Next year, hit me back and we’ll make some runs together. I’ll be getting the new combined “Peak to Summit” pass which allows unlimited Crystal, Snoqualmie and Alpental. Hit me back! John @ http://riders-union.com.

  4. Crystal is insane. Really need to work in a trip next season with some more snow. Love Alpental too…a hidden treasure close to Seattle. Would love to get into that backcountry off the top. Way too icy and chopped up when we were there.

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