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Crystal Mountain Skiing & Snowboarding Resort Guide

Crystal Mountain Resort is one of the premier ski and snowboard resorts in Washington state. Ride the Crystal Mountain gondola on a clear day and you’ll be greeted with a stunning view of Mt. Rainier, with your choice of 2,600 skiable acres to get you back down to the base. With the top of the ski area reaching over 6,800’ Crystal’s high elevation brings the light snow that Washington skiers and snowboarders chase. The 468” of annual snow falls on a diverse range of terrain, ranging from competition venues for big mountain skiers and boarders, to beginners and family friendly slopes. Crystal has one of the most developed ski & snowboard areas in Washington state. You still won’t find giant lodges and hotels at the base area like you might in Colorado or Utah, but there is certainly everything you could need, from snacks to gear to incredible terrain.

Mountain Overview

With eleven total lifts skiers and boarders have a huge variety of riding options to choose from. Northway chair has some of the best glade skiing and snowboarding in Washington.These glades are awesome on powder days when there is low visibility, with trees helping you see, although all the powder may have you wishing for your snorkel!. For those skiers and snowboarders still polishing their powder prowess, the Green Valley chairlift has some more mellow intermediate and advanced terrain that will help prepare for the steep and deep.

Chair 6 has those steep runs, chutes, and plenty of snow to keep them in great skiing condition longer after a storm. Those who are willing to make the extra effort for their powder turns can hike up the ridge off of Chair 6. This terrain, off Silver King Peak gives skiers and snowboarders their choice of chutes and spines to drop into on the way into the wide open Campbell Basin and Avalanche Basin.

Following big storms, make sure to keep an eye on the chairlift status, as it takes ski patrol some time to make sure these more extreme areas are safe for skiers and snowboarders. If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to catch the opening of Northway, then be able to make it back over to the other side of the mountain for some freshies on Chair 6. Once spring skiing rolls around, these chutes soften up with the sunshine and make for some all-time corn slush skiing and snowboarding. The lower chairlifts such as the Quicksilver and Discovery chairs are awesome for beginners, with plenty of room to learn at your own pace.

Mountain Stats & Crystal Mountain Trail Map

 Total Skiable Acres 2,600 Beginner Terrain 11%
 Base Elevation 4,400' Intermeidate Terrain 54%
 Summit Elevation 
(Top of gondola)
 6,872' Advanced/Expert Terrain 35%
 Vertical Drop 3,100' Terrain Park Yes
Total Lifts11  

Travel Information & Directions

Crystal Mountain Resort is located on Highway 410 just about an hour and a half southeast of Seattle (and evo Seattle). The highway is closed past the Crystal Mountain access road in the winter, so the turn is hard to miss! These aren’t huge highways like I-90 here in Washington, or I-70 in Colorado, so make sure you have your route planned or GPS set. If you are driving, make sure that your car can handle the snow, things can get slippery on the access road, so be prepared. If your car isn’t up to the task, or you just don’t feel like driving, there are also bus services to Crystal Mountain that let you leave the car behind and hitch a ride directly from Seattle or Tacoma. There are a handful of groups in the Crystal Mountain ski and snowboard community that organize group rides and shuttles. These are a great way to meet other powder hounds, hitch a ride and go green with a carpool or bus.
Travel Resources:

Travel Directions to Crystal Mountian
Weekend Bus Transportation to Crystal Mountian

Crystal Mountain Lodging Information

There are several options for Crystal Mountain lodging, including three hotels at the base of the mountain. Driving from Seattle to Crystal Mountain is also less than two hours, making for easy, manageable day trips. Without huge hotels and base area villages, a unique RV culture has evolved at multiple Washington’s ski and snowboard areas. Crystal Mountain offers RV parking in only one of its parking lots, Lot B. If you don’t have a dialled in winter camping setup like the Lot B locals, you can check out the other lodging options below:
Crystal Mountain Lodging Overview

Our Favorite Snowboards For Crystal
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Local Food Picks

Skiing and snowboarding all day is a great way to work up an appetite. There are several on mountain dining options, including the upscale Summit House Restaurant, which sits atop the ski area near the gondola. Aside from the Summit House there are also other on-mountain dining options including the Campbell Basin Lodge and the Bullwheel Restaurant and Bar. If eating on the mountain isn’t your thing, there are some great local spots on the way to and from Crystal Mountain. Check out Charlie’s Cafe in Enumclaw for a nice old-school diner feel, this is a great breakfast stop on those spring days when you’re waiting for the sun to soften up the snow. Wally’s Drive-In is a great, quick burger joint a little farther down Highway 410 in Buckley. A burger, fries and a milkshake are a yummy way to cap off those powder days.
Crystal Mountain Dining:

On Mountain Dining
Charlie's Cafe
Wally's Drive-In

Our Favorite Skis For Crystal Mountain
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Where to Find Lift Tickets to Crystal?

Crystal mountain ski and snowboard lift tickets can be found at the mountain directly at the base area. Lift tickets are pretty reasonable priced here, but are definitely not the cheapest in Washington. Given the quality and quantity of snow, however, they are a good value. Be ready for a full day to make the most of it. Reloadable 5 Packs can are a great deal and can be purchased online at the link below. These are transferrable, so they make great gifts, or can be a nice way to get a group of friends on the mountain for a deal.Crystal offers discounts for seniors (70+) and youth (11-15). Children 10 years old and younger ski for free, just ask at the lift ticket kiosk at the base of the ski area.
Crystal Mountain Lift Tickets

Crystal Mountain Weather Information

With 468” of average annual snowfall, it goes without saying, but it snows a lot at Crystal Mountain Resort. January and February are the prime months for those big snowstorms, however, it can still snow late into the spring. While sunny days come in plenty in the spring, most of the winter the mountain stays pretty cloudy, so be ready for goggles for flat light. Washington tends to be warmer than more inland skiing states, but that’s not to say it can’t get chilly here, bring good layers and expect temperatures in the mid twenties. Crystal Mountain’s Earliest opening date came on October 1st, 2013 and the latest the ski and snowboard area has stayed open is July 16th, 2011. Once the sun starts shining in March and April, Crystal has some of the best spring skiing and snowboarding in Washington state.
Crystal Mountain Weather Resources

Crystal Mountain Ski Report
Crystal Mountain Webcams
An inside look a Crystal's weather reporting
Crystal Mountain truly has it all, beginner and family friendly infrastructure, gnarly terrain, and plenty of snowfall to cover it all up, Crystal is a must hit for those skiers and snowboarders planning a trip to the PNW. It may be a bit harder to get to from Seattle than some ski areas, but the quality of the snow and the terrain it falls on makes Crystal Mountain a premier Pacific Northwest destination, and a largely underrated ski area in the nation as a whole.

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