Ski Washington Challenge - David's Diary

Blog documenting my progress on the Ski Washington Challenge

Monday, December 24, 2007

Crystal Mountain

Crystal Mountain was one area that I had a very disappointing visit to last season, when I made the trip too early in the year and found rain and rocks with only the lower mountain open. This year was the polar opposite - a perfect fresh powder dump, a brand new lift, and every chair running all day long. I started by attempting to cruise to the far right to score some powder, not realizing that I was needing to make it to a gated entrance. Visibility was poor for the first few runs, and I managed to end up in a depression, forced to hike out through thigh deep powder on my first run. I learned my lesson, and headed back to the base to start again.

This time, I headed to the top, riding the High Campbell chair to access the southern bowl, where I traversed to find incredible powder - and experienced my first true face-shots of powder. Plumes of the fine white stuff enveloped me as I turned cleanly down the face, and it was a most exhilarating feeling to be cutting fresh tracks on such a perfect slope, with the trees spaced just right, and the snow flying. Unfortunately the sheer volume of snow blocked the lens on my helmet cam, leaving me with no permanent record of the turns - but my memory is vivid.

After cruising Campbell, and a few laps in Green Valley, I made my way to the Northway traverse, and boot-packed up the ridge, only to find a helpful ski patroller at the top advising folks to cut back away from the north bowl, due to somewhat thin cover. She gave us the goods, and described the ideal line to take off the nose of the ridge, and down through some well spaced and untracked trees to the bottom. More powder turns in tighter trees, and then a convoluted runout led to the bottom of the chairlift, the new Northway double which was on its third day of operation.

A quick run back to the car (parked in the front row), and I was on the road again, headed south to Oregon, and half-way through the Washington challenge to boot.


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