Crystal Mountain (Washington)

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Crystal Mountain
Crystal Mountain in March 2015

Crystal Mountain in March 2015

height 2129  m (GNIS)
location Pierce County , Washington , USA
Mountains Cascade chain
Notch height 702 m
Coordinates 46 ° 55 ′ 41 ″  N , 121 ° 30 ′ 16 ″  W.
Crystal Mountain (Washington) (Washington)
Crystal Mountain (Washington)
Crystal Mountain Resort
Size of the ski area 2,600 acres (10.5 km²)
accessible from lifts: 2,300 acres (9.3 km²)
not accessible from lifts: 300 acres (1.2 km²) km²
place Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest
Pierce County , Washington (USA)
Coordinates 46 ° 55 '48 "  N , 121 ° 28' 48"  W Coordinates: 46 ° 55 '48 "  N , 121 ° 28' 48"  W.
Lifts 1 cable car
10 chair lift
1 drag lift
20,760 / h

57 slopes
Ski trail rating symbol-green circle.svg11% easy
Ski trail rating symbol-blue square.svg54% rather difficult
Ski trail rating symbol-black diamond.svg35% highest difficulty

Website Crystal Mountain Resort
Route length 2.5 mi (4 km)
begin 7,012 ft (2,137 m)
target 3,912 ft (1,192 m)
Height difference 3,100 ft (945 m)
Maximum (lifts)
begin 7,002 ft (2,134 m)
target 4,400 ft (1,341 m)
Height difference 2,602 ft (793 m)

With Crystal Mountain is a mountain and alpine skiing - area in the Cascade Range in the State of Washington , southeast of Seattle called.

Located in the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest , Crystal Mountain is the largest ski area in Washington; It is easily accessible from the Seattle - Tacoma metropolitan area on Washington State Route 410 via Enumclaw (approx. 65 km northwest). The ski area is primarily designed for daytime use and includes nine chair lifts , several restaurants and a variety of hotels. Crystal Mountain is the base of the Mt. Rainier Gondola; Since it was installed in 2010, it offers year-round access to the summit and is the only high-speed gondola in Washington.

The annual snowfall is up to 8.9 meters. Since 2015, there have been opportunities to prepare the slopes with artificial snow. Depending on the season, night runs are possible until 6 or 8 p.m. at the Discovery, Gold Hills and Quicksilver ski lifts.


From Enumclaw you drive straight to the sunrise entrance of Mount Rainier National Park via the small town of Greenwater .

The ski area is located in the valley of Silver Creek, a tributary of the White River , and on the east and north slopes of Crystal Mountain. Crystal Mountain's main summit, also known as the Silver King , is 7,002 ft (2,134 m) high (North American Vertical Date of 1988) and the highest point within a 5 mi (8 km) radius. Subordinate peaks on the north ridge of the Silver King are The Throne (6,861 ft (2,091 m)), Silver Queen (approx. 6,990 ft (2,131 m)), Grubstake Point (approx. 6,875 ft (2,096 m)) and North Way Peak (6,780 ft (2,067 m)). The last three can be reached via ski lifts and the resort maintains a Summit House on the south shoulder of the Grubstake. The peaks offer unobstructed views of Mount Rainier , which is less than 13 mi (21 km) west southwest.



The Crystal Mountain Resort opened in December 1962 with two double chair lifts. The first of these lifts, Miner's Basin , was shut down in the summer of 2011. His route was near the new gondola lift and ended at the top of the Exterminator and Deerfly descent. The other original lift (Iceberg Ridge) was dismantled when the new Rainier Express chairlift was built. The location, immediately northeast of Mount Rainier National Park , was chosen after some Tacoma skiers were unable to open a resort within the national park.

The following summer, the Green Valley Lift was built as a two-seater chairlift, and the Quicksilver Lift followed in 1964.

In late March 1965, the College Ski Championships were held at Crystal Mountain and the following week the US Alpine Ski Championships, which featured well-known racers such as Karl Schranz from Austria , the Olympic medalists Jimmy Heuga and Billy Kidd from the USA, and the later three-time gold medalist Jean-Claude Killy from France and later gold medalist Nancy Greene from Canada . Crystal Mountain hosted the national championships again in 1968, a few weeks after the Winter Olympics . Kidd, Heuga and Greene were at the start again, as was Spider Sabich . Back from the Olympics and the World Cup tour, local hero Judy Nagel won the slalom and the women's combination at the age of 16. Five years earlier, Sports magazine wrote about her father Jack Nagel (1926-2004) and his ski racing school on Crystal Mountain Illustrated reports with her older sister Cathy, then 14, on the cover.


The Campbell Basin chair lift opened in 1970 and made it possible to ski in the Campbell Basin for the first time; it led from the base area to the site of today's Campbell Basin Lodge.

Two weeks after the 1972 Winter Olympics , Crystal Mountain hosted the Alpine Skiing World Cup at the end of February 1972 with two downhill races for men and women; the start took place above the Campbell Basin. The weather forced a low starting point, the men's winning time was less than 90 seconds. The newly crowned Olympic champion Bernhard Russi from Switzerland won the Saturday and Sunday races. The American Mike Lafferty from Eugene (Oregon) finished second and fourth in the two runs. A women's slalom scheduled for Sunday was canceled due to the weather.

In 1974 the first triple ski lift was built on Crystal Mountain, the Bullion Basin . High Campbell , the longest lift in the Crystal, was added in 1976. He was brought here from the disused Yodelin Ski Area near Stevens Pass . High Campbell serves the summit of the Silver Queen and provides access to The Throne, Silver King, Campbell Basin, Avalanche Basin, and Silver Basin.


In 1984 the Bullion Basin exit was relocated to its current location on the Gold Hills Lift. In the same year, the triple chairlifts Rendezvous and Discovery were installed.

Washington's first high-speed chairlift, the Rainier Express, was installed in the summer of 1988, replacing the original Lift 2. A four-seater lift, the Midway Shuttle, was installed to link the base to the Rainier Express. The two-seater Campbell Basin was shortened because the lower half was no longer necessary. These extensions were financed by private investors, who in return received discounts on lift tickets and season passes. Today this group of investors operates under the name Crystal Mountain Founder's Club .


In the mid-1990s, Crystal Mountain went deep into the red and was unable to fund further improvements such as new lifts or accommodations. The original investors sold the area to Boyne Resorts in March 1997. The purchase agreement required Boyne to invest at least $ 15 million in the equity increase over the first ten years. In the first two years Boyne bought two high-speed six-passenger lifts ( Chinook and Forest Queen Express ) to replace the Midway Shuttle and Rendezvous Lift . Boyne also introduced other improvements, such as: As new rentals, secured parking and five new Bombardier - snow cats .


The Green Valley two-seater chairlift was replaced by a high-speed four-seater in the summer of 2000. In the summer of 2007, Crystal Mountain experienced a major expansion when the Northway chairlift was built in the former North Backcountry. This expanded the developed area by 70% to 2,300 acres (9.3 km²). The restaurant in the Summit House was also remodeled.


Crystal Mountain near the Summit House

During the summer of 2010 a terrain park was built for snowboarders and the Mt. Rainier gondola lift installed, which connects the base station directly with the Summit House. It went into operation on January 1, 2011. During an extremely dangerous avalanche season, the ski patrol triggered an avalanche on March 10, 2014. During the usual inspection, the High Campbell chairlift was destroyed. In the summer of 2014, work began on replacing the High Campbell and Quicksilver chairlifts . The High Campbell Chair , now renamed Chair 6 , opened in the 2014/15 season. The Quicksilver Chair has been expanded from a two-seater to a four-seater. The top station was relocated 250 ft (76 m) down to cut off the steep uppermost section of the Quicksilver slope; the classification is now represented by a green circle ("easy") over a blue square ("increased difficulty"). The grand opening of both lifts took place on January 8, 2015, at 9 a.m. for the Quicksilver and at 10 a.m. for Chair 6 .

Crystal Mountain was acquired by John Kircher on March 31, 2017.

Alpine ski racers at World Cup races on Crystal Mountain

General development plan

In the wake of the acquisition by Boyne Resorts, Crystal Mountain submitted a Master Development Plan (MDP) to the United States Forest Service , which contained six possible options for the further development of the resort. The draft environmental impact assessment was drawn up in 2001 and the assessment was completed in August 2004. John Phipps, head of Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest , selected option 6 with modifications from the environmental impact assessment for implementation. It advocates new buildings including an aerial tramway to the summit, a new chairlift in the northback, a drag lift, the expansion of existing chairlifts, building renovations at the base, accommodation for employees and facilities for wastewater treatment. The plan is the largest in Washington history and costs Boyne an estimated $ 40 million.

Completed projects

  • Northway (C-12) - provided direct lift access to the north of the original area. Previously called the North Backcountry , this area required a long traverse or shuttle to get back to base. The new lift is a fixed, double-seat chairlift from Doppelmayr USA , which was installed in the summer of 2007 with a mountain station on Northway Peak.
  • Mt. Rainier Gondola - provides year-round direct access from the base to the summit. Visitors, skiers, hikers and restaurant visitors can use the gondola lift. This Doppelmayr lift for 8 passengers was completed in 2010 and opened on January 1, 2011.
  • High Campbell “Chair 6” Replacement (C-2) - provided direct access to the area around the Silver Queen and the Southback area. Previously, this area was accessed by a fixed two-seater lift ( High Campbell ). The old chairlift was destroyed in an avalanche in March 2014 and was unusable. The new lift is a fixed two-seater chair lift company HTM Skytrac ft in summer 2014 with a mountain station on the Silver Queen on 7002 (2,134 m) in height was installed and also access to the Powder Bowl , the South back area and Campbell Basin offers . The new chairlift is less susceptible to wind than the old one.
  • Quicksilver Replacement (C-4) - offers access to the easy Quicksilver slope and the boondoggle slope (highest difficulty) and is reached via the Discovery lift. Previously, this chairlift consisted of a fixed two-seater, which was installed but had not been used since 1964. Crystal Mountain wanted to make the site more beginner-friendly and relocated the top station downhill 250 ft (76 m) to avoid the steep stretch at the beginning. The Quicksilver slope was originally classified as "increased difficulty", but the classification was changed to "easy". The valley station is equipped with an entry carpet to make the approach easier. The new lift is a fixed four-seater from HTM Skytrac that was installed in summer 2014. The mountain station is about 5,200 ft (1,580 m) above sea level. The new chairlift has twice the capacity.

Proposed and approved

  • Kelly's Gap Express (C-13) - will ascend westward from the new Bullion Base and end at the top of the Green Valley Express.
  • Bullion Basin (C15) - will ascend in the same valley on the opposite side east of Bullion Base to an area that previously had a lift that was abandoned in 1983 (the remnants and trails can be seen from the Rainier Express). This lift will also allow access to the East Peak Backcountry, which is designated for experts. Rumor has it that this elevator, although included in the decision file, is unlikely to be built. In July 2007, the Millicent two-seater from the Brighton Ski Resort in Utah reached Crystal Mountain, possibly for future installation as a Bullion Basin Chair.
  • Park N 'Ride (C12) - will create a connection between the new Bullion valley station and the current base.
  • two new drag lifts at the old valley station ( Ptarmagin , S1) and at the new Bullion Base ( Pika , S2)
  • the replacement of the Quicksilver and Discovery chairlifts with high-speed lifts without any additional path expansion

Rejected by the Forest Service

  • Silver King Lift - This lift would have started on Queen's Run and reached the summit of the Silver King.

Individual evidence

  1. Crystal Mountain ( English ) In: Geographic Names Information System . United States Geological Survey . Retrieved June 13, 2018.
  2. Ski news . United States Forest Service. Retrieved February 22, 2016.
  3. Crystal Mountain, Washington . Retrieved June 13, 2018.
  4. Untitled: Map of the Crystal Mountain ski area . Retrieved June 13, 2018.
  5. ^ History . Crystal Mountain Resort. Retrieved June 13, 2018.
  6. 1963 Chairlift Installations - North America . Retrieved June 13, 2018.
  7. ^ Collegians get short rest before next ski tourney . In: Spokesman Review , March 29, 1965, p. 11. 
  8. Swiss in alpine meet . In: Spokemsan Review , March 1, 1965. 
  9. Miss Greene adds slalom ski crown . In: Spokesman-Review , April 4, 1965, p. 3-sports. 
  10. ^ Canadians win titles in skiing . In: Leader-Post , April 5, 1965, p. 5. 
  11. Nagels, Greene, head field . In: Spokesman Review , March 8, 1968, p. 23. 
  12. Ann Black wins downhill . In: Spokesman Review , March 9, 1968, p. 11. 
  13. Vermont girl wins slalom . In: Spokesman Review , March 10, p. 7. 
  14. Judy Nagel wins US slalom title . In: Spokesman Review , March 11, 1968, p. 12. 
  15. ^ Gordy Holt: Jack Nagel, 1926–2004: Ski pioneer 'bubbled' with energy . In: Seattle Post-Intelligencer , March 23, 2004. 
  16. A maestro tunes his teen ski stars . In: Sports Illustrated . February 11, 1963, p. 24.
  17. 1970 Chairlift Installations - North America . Retrieved June 13, 2018.
  18. Guide to Ski Terrain . Retrieved June 13, 2018.
  19. British gal goes first in downhill . In: Spokesman Review , February 25, 1972, p. 23. 
  20. Skiers aim at repeats . In: Spokane Daily Chronicle , Feb. 26, 1972, p. 12. 
  21. Eugenean takes second as Russi takes World Cup event . In: Eugene Register-Guard , February 26, 1972, p. 1B. 
  22. ^ Crystal Mountain - World Cup . FIS. Archived from the original on February 14, 2012. Retrieved on December 17, 2012.
  23. Swiss star is winner in ski cup . In: Spokesman-Review , February 27, 1972, p. 3-sports. 
  24. slalom? No . In: Spokesman Review , February 28, 1972, p. 12. 
  25. 1984 Chairlift Installations - North America . Retrieved June 13, 2018.
  26. 1988 Chairlift Installations - North America . Retrieved June 13, 2018.
  27. publisher = The Incredible Flying Machine Rainier Express . Retrieved June 14, 2018.
  28. ^ WELCOME to the Crystal Mountain Founders Club website . Crystal Mountain Founder's Club. Retrieved June 14, 2018.
  29. ^ A b The Crystal Mountain Founders Club . Retrieved June 14, 2014.
  30. 1998 Chairlift Installations - North America . Retrieved June 14, 2018.
  31. 1997 Chairlift Installations - North America . Retrieved June 14, 2018.
  32. 2000 Chairlift Installations - North America . Retrieved June 14, 2018.
  33. 2007 Chairlift Installations - North America . Retrieved June 14, 2018.
  34. a b Whats-New . Archived from the original on February 13, 2012. Retrieved December 5, 2011.
  35. ^ New gondola opens at Crystal Mountain . In: Seattle Times , Jan. 1, 2011. 
  36. Crystal Mountain chairlift destroyed in avalanche intentionally set by ski patrol . March 11, 2014. Accessed June 14, 2018.
  37. ^ Tiana Anderson: John Kircher Acquires Crystal Mountain . Crystal Mountain. Retrieved May 13, 2017.
  38. Archived copy . Archived from the original on May 27, 2010. Retrieved December 25, 2010.
  39. a b c d Crystal Mountain Ski Resort . Government of British Columbia. Retrieved June 14, 2018.

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