Related Regions: Washington, Seattle, North America, United States

Crystal Mountain Resort Reviews

by: skigypsy - 21st March 2010

  • 4
  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Expert
  • 4All-Mtn. Terrain
  • 4Family Friendly
  • 1Aprés Ski
  • Terrain Park
  • Overall Value
Superb out of area terrain. In area is OK.
For lack of a better word,

Full review

I have been able to ski the mountain for two years - one had good snow, one marginal (this year). Altitude is key to skiing all of WA State. Ski life here literally begins at 4,800 ft. Anything less and expect goopy schnee. This hill has a quickly accessed skiable vert of well over 2000 ft. - a bare minimum for all good US Ski Areas. In addition, some excellent out of area and peripheral terrain that makes it truly special ... the equal of, say, Alta or Snowbird (areas I know well). A big plus is that the patrol actually tries to get this terrain open quickly. They get tired of being yowled at by the powder frenzied locals I think. This terrain is accessible from an old upper mountain double chair that has the feel wierdness. There ain't noplace like it . In area shots include some decent steep faces - 800 ft. vertical at best. Beware white-out conditions in bowl areas. One drawback, as others have noted, are some flats. The mountain consists of a series of platforms that can drive boarders nuts. The absence of a terrain park also contributes to their disappointment. The hill works in two conditions - ice and powder. A big plus is that the cat operators really know how to groom well.On weekdays you can go insanely fast because the hill is empty - it quite literally does not have a life. Empty. A few dozen retirees and unemployed locals lucky enough to afford a pass. Weekends can occasionally be trying because of mountain proximity to major population centers. But for the most part, this place is "Sleepy Hollow", a little negected trasure amidst dead end logging towns where most prime house lots lost their charm because the hillsides were clear cut. This will probably be the very last destination resort in America - to be considered only after every last house lot in Deer Valley,Beaver Creek and Teluride is sold off. The Lodge is funky, the personnel on the hill is funkier. Lifties, patrol, ski/boad school ...none of them ski. The place has no energy whatsoever. Inbreeding?? Snowparks in Washington are a pain. They are prone to melting and dumps of 3 feet of cement. Snowparks also consume tons of petrodollars in their creation (WA does have a green consciousness). Using this tactic to build business is not a good idea. Management occasionally runs night skiing. They actually lit up a lot of the lower hill, but because there is no active race program, there is no magnet to draw business. The area would benefit from a race program that is open to the public, but the mountain management is either highly insular ... or simply absent. The same people for many years ... Sleepy Hollow. Other reviews mentioned high prices. Yup ... expect to spend $20 on a half decent lunch with an acceptable merlot(I recommend a little cave called the "Snorting Elk". .See if the bartender cares enough to pour more than half a glass.) Expect long lines for any food service. Mountain management just doesn't "get" that they have charged their patron a small fortune to ski, and then they waste their valuable time forcing them to wait for service. Oftentimes this is not caused by an arrogant staff, but archaic planning. The facilities can't handle a crowd because crowds happen only occasionally. Why plan for something that might happen three times a month? Ski rental equipment is basically do-it-yourself. They can't afford to have enough staff on hand at peak periods. Same for the ski school. Expect pleasant staff but frequent impediments and waiting. Watch for season pass deals. Last year was pretty good. But it is still sobering to note that for the amount you pay for a season pass here you could be skiing Sankt Anton, Kitzbuehl, or Cortina. However, if you must live in this godforsaken sodden part of the world, try to spend a significant amount of time up here skiing this hill ... if they can manage to stay in business.

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