Take A Ski Vacation In The Crystal Mountain
By Mike Singh
Voted number seven of the top mountains in North America by SKIING Magazine, Crystal Mountain Ski Resort has invested millions of dollars in its "top of the line high-speed lifts", the Chinook and Forest Queen Express. With a summit of 7,012 feet and a vertical drop of 3,100 feet, it is easy to see why Crystal Mountain is considered the largest ski area in Washington, with over 2,300 acres and 50 named runs. In addition, the mountain has 1,300 acres of lift service, and 1,000 acres of back country. The ten lift service has 2 high speed six-passenger, 2 high speed quads, 2 triple chairs, 3 double chairs, and 1 children's surface lift, with a capacity of 19,110 passengers per hour.
Considered the best ski area in Washington, novice skiers are offered gently winding cruisers, such as Queens Run, while the more seasoned experts use the narrow chutes in the 1,000 acre backcountry. The in-bound area of skiing is broken into four major sections: the main basic area of the mountain, including chairlifts Chinook Express, Discovery, Miner's Basin, and Quicksilver; Rainier Express, or "Rex", which includes the Rainier Express chair lift, accessing Green Valley; the valley below Silver Queen Peak, with the Forest Queen Express Chair, is an "intermediate's paradise"; and Silver Queen, the most advanced terrain accessed only by an old-double chairlift, High Campbell, from the early 50s.
The Chinook and Rainier Express chairlifts rise 2,500 vertical feet to the top of Crystal Mountain, also a site for Olympian training for Scott McCarthy and Libby Ludlow. During the summer, the chairlifts are used for mountain biking, scenic rides, summer skiing in Green valley, and dining at the Summit House Restaurant. While at the top, Mt. Rainier, Mt. Hood, Mt. Adams, Mt. St. Helens, and Mt. Baker can all be seen, along with fantastic scenery.
Crystal Mountain now has a children's daycare and skiing/snowboarding lessons for parents who are busy skiing, yet need someone to help with the kids while they are on the slopes. The Kid's Club is open from 8 am to 4 pm daily: for children who are ages 4 to 11-they are allowed to ski, and ages 7 to 11 are allowed to snowboarding. First come, first serve to register, with morning registration ending at 9:30 am and afternoon registration ending at 12:30 pm. A full day registration includes a four-hour lesson which starts at 10 am, lift ticket, lunch, and supervision, from 8 am to 4 pm. Skis, snowboards, and boats can be rented.
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