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Washington State Skiing on Crystal Mountain

Skiing in Washington State during the winter months creates the perfect opportunity to visit the ski resort Crystal Mountain. If you are in or near Washington State, you should definitely pay a visit. With a top elevation of 7012 feet (2137m) and a vertical drop of 3100 feet (940m), Crystal Mountain sits below Mount Rainier, which has a top elevation of 14,408 feet.

The months of November to April bring several feet of fresh powder snow to Crystal Mountain, this being a reliable happening thanks to the cold Cascade storms common to this area. This factor alone makes a compelling reason to visit this first class Washington State ski area.

Mount Rainier looks down 7,000 feet to the summit of Crystal Mountain and from this vantage point Mount Rainier can be enjoyed in all its magnitude. From Crystal Mountain an expansive pasture of 2,300 acres of all manner of skiing makes for what is undeniably the largest area of skiing in Washington State.

Expert skiers are attracted to the area for its rugged terrain and deep snow; however, less advanced skiers should not be intimidated. Crystal Mountain, offers a wide variety of skiing for every level of ability. There are 53 runs, 30% suitable for advanced skiers, 57% for intermediates and 13% for the relatively inexperienced. The longest run is known as Northway and boasts a stretch of 2.5 miles (4km).

There is a lift capacity of over 20,000 passengers per hour with 2 high speed six-passenger lifts, 2 high speed quads, 2 triple chairs, 4 double chairs and a child’s surface lift. This is challenging terrain and therefore there is less on offer for beginners as this area really caters for the more advanced skier. Despite this bias towards the more experienced skier, lessons are available and there is rental available for skis and other equipment.

For children aged four to eleven years old there is a Kids Club which opens from 8am to 4pm daily. This allows more advanced skiers in a family group to enjoy the rest of the resort and tackle trails that would not be sensible to undertake with younger members of the family in tow. For slightly older children in the 7 to 11 age bracket snowboarding is available should they wish to take part. This provision means that children are able to learn and have fun in a safe and supervised environment while older members of their party are able to partake in the more challenging skiing available.

For those who enjoy back country skiing, Crystal Mountain has two back country areas which can only be reached by hiking. This is extreme and unforgiving terrain and the ski patrol has specific rules for those looking to ski in these areas. Covered mainly in thick woodland, North Backcountry does have some trails which have been cut through the trees.

The season runs from the middle of November to the middle of April, when the best snow fall is experienced. There are many places to choose for lodging, meals and evening entertainment. After a day of skiing, you should definitely head over to East Peak Massage & Fitness to take advantage of the hot tub, sauna, showers and even the games room. Massages are available with a reservation. In the summer of 2004, Crystal built the Campbell Basin Lodge, a Cascade-style lodge serving pasta, pizza, soups, teriyaki, burgers, salads, Mexican food and more.

The whole family will be able to enjoy a great skiing vacation in Washington State. Although the slopes are more suited to skiers of intermediate and advanced abilities, beginners can still enjoy themselves providing care is taken to choose a trail which is not beyond their capabilities.

Kerry Devere thoroughly enjoys skiing holidays and specifically skiing through knee-deep powder. Before your next winter sports holiday, take a look at more of her ski resort reviews .

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