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Visitor reviews for Crystal Mountain Ski Resort
February 25, 2015
Aaron from United States
Crystal is a skiers mountain. The amenities, the access to the hill, the parking, are all pretty mediocre. If you want to take 3 laps, complain about the lines, go get lunch for 90 minutes, take 4 more laps and call it a day, Crystal is not a great place for that. But if what you like to do is ski, a lot, especially on rowdy terrain, then Crystal is for you. The snow is plentiful, there is significantly more alpine and sub-alpine than anywhere else in Washington, and a lot of exciting, challenging terrain.
Crystal Mountain Ratings
Overall: 2.9. Based on 14 votes and 8 reviews. Vote
(1) At least one overnight stop, (2) requires a whole day, (3) requires more than half a day – you may have time for a few turns (4) arrive by lunchtime and ski all afternoon, (5) there is a main airport within an hour of Crystal Mountain.
Public Transport: 2.3
(1) There are no buses or taxis to Crystal Mountain, (3) there are slow or infrequent buses / trains available, (5) getting to the resort is easy with frequent bus / train connections.
(1) An ugly resort in a bland setting, (3) average mountain views and resort, (5) a spectacular setting and a beautiful / historic resort town.
(1) No places to stay in/near Crystal Mountain, (3) a few places to stay in the resort, (5) a wide variety of accommodation suitable to suit all budgets.
Cheap Rooms: 1.7
(1) No budget accommodation available, (3) just one or two hostels so book ahead, (5) several cheap hostels and pensions available.
Luxury Hotels: 1.4
(1) No luxury accommodation available, (3) just one or two luxury hotels so book ahead, (5) several up-market hotels in Crystal Mountain.
Ski in/Ski out: 3.4
(1) The ski area is located far from any accommodation, (3) a free ski bus takes you to the ski area in a short trip, (5) Ski-in ski-out accommodation is available.
(1) There are no child care facilities at Crystal Mountain, (5) the resort has excellent child-care facilities including at least one reasonably priced creche.
(1) Occasionally gets enough snow for skiing, (2) is often closed due to a lack of snow, (3) occasionally suffers from a lack of snow, (4) rarely suffers from a lack of snow, (5) Crystal Mountain is snowsure even in the poorest seasons.
(1) Crystal Mountain relies entirely on natural snow, (3) there are just a few snow cannons, (5) there are snowmaking facilities on all pistes.
Snow Grooming: 3.9
(1) There are no snow groomers at Crystal Mountain, (3) occasionally some pistes are left ungroomed and in a poor state, (5) all the runs at Crystal Mountain are groomed daily.
(1) there is nowhere to ski when it is windy or visibility is bad and lifts often shut, (3) there are some trees for poor visibility but main lifts sometimes close, (5) Crystal Mountain is mostly in forest where you can ski in flat-light and windy days, lifts rarely close.
Nearby options: 1.8
(1) If snow conditions are poor at Crystal Mountain, it will be poor everywhere nearby, (3) there are good alternatives within an hours drive, (5) other locations on the same lift pass provide a rich variety of snowsure ski conditions.
Regional rating: 3.9
(1) Crystal Mountain usually has poor snow conditions compared to other resorts in region, (3) has average conditions for the region, (5) usually has the best snow conditions in the region.
Lift Staff: 3.3
(1) The staff at Crystal Mountain are rude or unhelpful, (5) lift staff at Crystal Mountain are pleasant, cheerful and eager to help.
(1) the resort is always busy and there are usually long lift queues, (3) it is quiet apart from occasional weekends and school holidays, (5) it is uncrowded and lift queues are very rare.
Ski Schools: 3.6
(1) No ski schools available, (2) one or two ski schools but local language only, (3) a few ski schools but book early for multi-lingual instructors, (4) plenty of ski schools and multi-lingual instructors available, (5) excellent ski schools with friendly multi-lingual ski instructors.
Hire and Repairs: 4.0
(1) Nothing can be sourced, not even ski-wax or ptex. (3) there are some ski shops but rentals need to be booked in advance, (5) good quality ski equipment can be purchased or hired and overnight repairs are possible.
Variety of pistes: 4.3
(1) The ski runs are featureless and unvaried, (3) the ski runs are varied but not extensive enough for a week, (5) Crystal Mountain has diverse and interesting pistes including forests and high alpine terrain.
(1) Beginners can only watch others ski and snowboard, (3) a few gentle slopes but beginners will get bored in less than a week, (3) Vast areas of gentle terrain.
(1) No intermediate terrain at Crystal Mountain, (3) intermediate skiers will get bored after a few days, (5) vast areas of cruising runs.
(1) Nothing for advanced skiers and snowboarders, (3) enough steep terrain for a few days with some good offpiste, (5) Enough steep terrain and offpiste areas to entertain advanced skiers for at least a week.
Snow Park: 2.2
(1) Not even a kicker at Crystal Mountain, (3) average sized park quite well looked after, (5) huge park area and expertly crafted pipes, jumps and boardercross trails.
(1) No off-piste worth mentioning, (2) off piste is out-of-bounds, (3) some varied offpiste that stays fresh for one or two days, (5) a vast array of off-piste routes that can stay untracked for several days.
(1) There is nowhere to go for cross-country skiing around Crystal Mountain, (3) there are some cross country trails available, (5) the area features many spectacular and well maintained cross-country trails.
(1) No designated luge or toboggan runs, (3) there are toboggan runs that open quite often, (5) Crystal Mountain has long and well maintained luge / toboggan facilities suitable for all ages.
Mountain Dining: 3.3
(1) Nowhere to buy food by the pistes, (3) some places to eat up on the mountain but they are often busy and expensive, (5) there is a variety of excellent mountain eateries right next to the slopes to suit all budgets.
(1) Bring your own food, there isn't even a shop. (5) A wide variety of places to eat and drink in the resort, from fast food to fancy restaurants.
(1) Nothing to do, not even a bar, (3) there are a few bars in the resort but nothing special, (5) clubs and bars stay open until very late and have a friendly atmosphere.
Other Sports: 1.6
(1) No sports facilities at all apart from ski lifts, (3) resort has just a small public swimming pool, (5) resort has all kinds of sports facilities, including a full-size swimming pool.
(1) Besides the snow and walking there is nothing to do here, (3) the non-skier will find things to do for few days but may become bored after a week, (5) the resort area is a fascinating place to visit, regardless of winter sports.
Winter Walks: 1.5
(1) Very limited walking and no snowshoe trails, (3) a couple of designated scenic walking/snowshoe trails, (5) extensive and diverse winter walking trails for all abilities.
Ski Pass Value: 3.5
(1) A 1 week ski pass is overpriced compared to the number of lifts available, (3) the ski pass is averagely priced and covers a reasonable number of lifts, (5) ski passes are excellent value for money and cover a lot of lifts spanning a big area.
Value (National): 3.2
(1) Overall, Crystal Mountain is one of the most expensive ski resorts in the country and not worth the money, (3) overall represents average value for money, (5) overall offers the best value resort in the country.
Value (Global): 3.4
(1) Overall, Crystal Mountain is one of the most expensive ski resorts in the world, (3) overall it offers pretty average value for money compared to resorts from other countries, (5) internationally the resort offers excellent value for money.
March 19, 2013
owen from United States
If you live in the Seattle area and can ski when the storms hit, there is no need to ski anywhere else. Because each winter you'll catch 20-30 primo powder days. And if those days are mid-week it's like having your own private resort area. Also Crystal has lots and lots of terrain for all levels.
The only drawback is that more and more people are discovering this jewel. Oh well.
March 17, 2011
Hopps from United States
Mt. Baker is better
November 11, 2010
Jeffrey from United States
Crystal Mountain fancies itself to be the best "resort" in Washington state. As they like to say in Texas, that claim is all hat and no cattle.
The Boyne Corporation that owns Crystal has had big plans for years. Give them credit for persevering against the forces of No and the National Forest Service to get the Campbell Basin lodge and High Campbell chair, the Northway chair and now the gondola built. While the latter does nothing really to improve uphill capacity (it was built more with an eye to summer tourism). Even if Boyne can build it's proposed hotel, Crystal still won't be a ski "resort" and will never be a four season resort (if you don't like to hike, there's nothing else to do there in the summer). What lodging they have now is no better than motels you find adjacent to interstate highways.
I've been skiing off and on at Crystal for about 35 years. It can be an enjoyable mountain on the rare sunny days if you ski midweek, with an unsurpassed view of Mt. Rainier from the top of the Rainier Express. But because West Side Cascade snow is so marginal, because the mountain is full of traffic choke points and never properly/sufficiently groomed, it's pretensions of being a serious ski resort are just that. It will always remain a favorite with the side/back country enthusiasts, and the new Northway chair has opened more of that up to those of us who don't want to spend most of our day hiking for 600' of vertical. But otherwise, it will never be a destination for people outside the PNW or even a vacation resort for locals.
Crystal veered a bit further into the ditch this off season by building a new terrain park under the Forest Queen 6-pack. Doing this has assured that this part of the mountain, already the most crowded, will be that much more so as a couple hundred acres is given over to a relative handful of customers. At the same time, Crystal has an aged, rarely used double chairlift in a more or less sequestered area that would have been much more suitable for a park and better served the needs of the majority of the area's customers.
I wish them luck because there is still untapped potential, but I have faith that they have management to realize this and so I, again, won't be making the 90-minute trek many times this season unless I can somehow do so weekdays.
December 15, 2009
Jim from United States
Crystal Mountain is world class. While it is a mid-sized resort, it has myriad different aspects and terrain features. I have skied there, hard, for 15 years and I am still learning new hidden powder stashes. Crystal is all about powder. The groomed runs are fine if you are into that, but it is the ungroomed steep terrain that makes Crystal special. The only place that has a feel like it, that I have been to, is Jackson Hole. It is very possible to get seriously hurt falling off things at both resorts. On the other hand, don't get too worked up about coming to Crystal Mountain if you want a nightlife. The Snorting Elk bar is an old-school classic, and the attached restaurant is great but not cheap. Otherwise, best to bring an RV and your family and just ski hard.
November 06, 2008
Ron from United States
Good terrain and operations. That's the end of the good for Crystal. I only ride the west coast so I can't speak for everywhere else but, if you take the worst 10% (for whatever reason) of the people from W-B and stack 'em deep thats how just about everyone is here. I'll never go back, it's absolutely surreal lameness.
February 03, 2004
David Rubin from United States
I don't know why I am telling u all this but Crystal is the on of the best resorts I have ever skied at. I make an annual pilgrimage to Crystal after watching the snowfall. On a decent powder day the skiing is reminiscent of Alta or Sugar Bowl. Lots of off-piste skiing. bowls, chutes, cliffs, trees, steeps, Hike to backcountry and bowls. It was recently ranked the number 12 ski resort in North America. The only reason why it was ranked low was because of the low elevation pacific northwest snow and its lack of nightlife.
But if you really could care less about nightlife then Crystal is the best. I rank it in my top five favorite places to ski. And I've been around.
September 11, 2003
Jeffrey Knecht from United States
Crystal Mountain has the most potential for being a world class resort in Washington State. The things that stand out about Crystal are that the lifts are now up to date thanks to the new owners (Boyne Usa) and the terrain they have. The terrain is awesome because it has runs for all levels of skill and the backcountry is amazing when they get new snow and you find a perfect run to the base. The snow at Crystal is usually better than the other Washington resorts due to its base elevation of 4,500 ft and top elevation of 7,000 feet. The lodge is alright too but isn't even close to be as good as the Whistler lodges or the Mt.Baker lodge. The lifts are pretty up to date but I'd really like to see the Green Valley chair be updated because its still a little rickidy double chair that holds access to best runs on the mountain. I'd advise beginners to go straight to the Forest Queens lift that has the best beginner run 'Queens.' The other beginner lift is Discovery which is way to flat to really learn since you can hardly get going. The Forest Queen lift holds the best intermediate runs like Mr.Magoo and CMAC. The Rainer Express lift has a lot of good terrain and has a Summit House on top so you can eat and not have to go all the way down to the base. Rainer Express has a few intermediate runs and a few expert runs which are pretty good. The High Campbell lift is a lift only for experts and can be quite difficult in early and late season runs because there are a ton of rocks all over the place and since its mostly wind blown snow you can get in some pretty bad situations up there. Those are the only bad things about it though There are a lot of good things about it like steeps, good snow and theres always some virgin snow that no ones gone through. Those are my favorite lifts and you should really check them out.