Rock_Doc wrote:Harris wrote:Haven't been to Crystal yet this year . . . Are you in the area?
I'm down in Oregon but got up to Crystal in early January for three days of skiing. While still pretty low tide conditions, we enjoyed a nice spring like day, a high clouds but warmish day, and a very soft (and of course rainy) day. I really liked that mountain and was quite impressed with the diversity of terrain - very spicy looking in many spots. The first day we did lots of laps on Rainer Express hitting the east facing slopes under that lift (Sunnyside-Memorial Forest area). On the second day, we checked out Northway and had a super long adventurous run in the afternoon, but could only get one run in over there before they closed the area. Did not make it up Chair 6 on this trip, but I that looks like it accesses some interesting terrain. Definitely want to get back to Crystal again in the near future - FUN mountain!
Crystal is great when it is good but can be a horror show if you hit it wrong (refrozen bullet-proof snow off the groomers; especially if it has been windy). I actually like it when it is super warm. If you ski the steeper runs (like chair six when it is t-shirt temps) the snow starts to flow and the bumps disappear. It is rarely corn, but if you brought your Dominator "Butter" wax it is a blast of something very unique to the upper PNW; water pow. On pow days there are some good, easy gotten to long hits a lot of folks bypass, working their butts off to hit the runs everyone is working their butt's off to get to. If you look up the line of Chair 6 you'll notice everyone gets off the lift and turns to the left, skiing skier's right, working their way down the ridge bumps to eventually end up skiing that which to me is "Meh..." Or they ski pretty directly under the lift through the rocks, which is pretty cool but usually skied out, but if you duck under the lift and head skier's left (far right side looking up) and traverse over to the tree line, about half way down where it opens up you are almost guaranteed a long run of fresh. You're like, "Why is this untracked? It is so frickin' good!" " Also, when Northway is either open or closed, ski the rope line border between the main mountain and Northway down "Left Angle/Iver's Trees." It is a double black, but it isn't really so much of a tree run. Although narrowish and steep, it will usually not get skied out and can be stupid deep. It is a long, long run of wonderful solitude and great, albeit challenging turns.