Informal Names Part II….Northway

Continuing on from a while back…The patrol has a name for most every one of the 300 or so avalanche paths at Crystal.  But more importantly, we have lots of names for landmarks and terrain features that help us find folks when rescue is necessary.  And we know that lot’s of different groups of "regulars" have their favorite names too.  So let’s share!

We’d like customers to know "our" names for times they need our help in odd places.  And we’d like to know "your" names so we can sort out confusion in emergencies.  For example, we know a lot of people use "Last Chance" as a name for an area we call "Last Scream" because our "Last Chance" is somewhere else. 

So what follows are names, followed by location descriptions, in the area we call Northway, the areas accessed primarily by the Northway Chairlift.  I’ll soon be posting lists for Campbell Basin (Forest Queen, High Campbell, Quicksilver & Gold Hills chairlifts) and South Backcountry.

  • The bold names refer to other definitions on the charts. 
  • The non-bold names are shown on the current Trail Map
  • Left and right refer to SKIER’S left and right.



For safety, we recommend you stay on groomed trails.  If you make the choice to venture off the beaten path, please keep the following in mind (and spread the word)

  • The places listed below are NOT designated Trails or Runs.  Unmarked hazards, including pockets of avalanche hazard, can exist at any time.  These areas may not be patrolled on a regular basis. 
  • Some terrain features are deceptive and visibility can deteriorate within minutes.  Travel with someone familiar with the area until you know your way around.  Keep each other in sight and steer clear of  tree wells.  Make a plan about when/where to rendevous if you get separated, and stick to it.  Keep cell phones & radios with you, keep them turned on or make a plan to check-in with each other at pre-established times, and save each others’ frequencies / phone numbers.   Keep the Ski Patrol Emergencies Only number, (360) 663-3064 with you.
  • The snow surface may not be continuous and walking may be required.   
  • In steep icy terrain, taking off metal edged skis & boards may increase your risk of long uncontrolled slides into places from which you cannot extricate yourself. 

Northway Infromal Place Names

4-Snags Pucker’s Right

Half-way down and left of Glory Days


Wide junction that accesses Otto Bahn, Northway, and Spook Hill Trail

5 Trees

The SIX trees at the avi path left of the BX Tram, just before the BX Exit Chute

Ball’s Up

Narrow slot off the Northwest nose of Guntower Ridge

Boundary Gates

A-Upper entrance across flat ridge past Morning Glory;  

B-S-chutes on far skier’s right side of Valley of the Cliffs

CShelbyville, where the boundary line flattens out, just above Lower BX Cliffs

D-Last cliff band skier’s left of Brand X

Brand X Exit Chute

Left of 5 trees

Brand X Tram

Chute and aerial cable right of 5 trees

Buff Trail

Northway Bowl egress, designated as Spook Hill Trail & I-5


In between Horseshoe Cliffs and Spook Hill

Five Corners

Wide junction that accesses Otto Bahn, Northway, and Spook Hill Trail

Finger Chutes

Chutes under the upper part of the Northway chair

Finger Ridge

The ridge perpendicular below Bruce’s Bowl, leading out to the Nose.

Flush Gap

Prominent gully skier’s right and below Pucker’s Gulch, down to a bench


Dilapadated structure at the north end of Guntower Ridge

Hidden Finger Chute

2 chutes left of Northway chair, near the top


Traverse to Penny Dawg’s that becomes a bench, starting just past Northway Notch

Johnson’s Chute

2nd chute left of trees, on the right-hand side of Niagras.  Left of Old Faithful chute

“M”, The

Rock prominence skier’s right side of Brand X, at same elevation as the Narwhale

Middle Finger Chute

Chute right under chair, runs diagonally toward skier’s left

Mike’s Face

Steep face at the start of the Scree field, below Niagras


Leaning Snag that looks like a Narwhal whale’s tusk, left of Pucker’s on the right edge of Brand X.

Northway Gates

#1-Elk Pass

#2-Near top of road up Northway; accesses hike to Northway Peak summit & ski down to the road to Northway Notch

#3-Northway chair offload area into Bruce’s Bowl

#4-Top Paradise Bowl gate—don’t confuse with “upper paradise” avi control route which it enters mid-slope

#5-Lower Paradise gate, right where Otto Bahn veer’s left

#6-Horseshoe Cliffs gate,

#7-Spook Hill Gate

#8-Just inside Spook Hill gate, enters field above the Old Faithful part of Niagras

#9Shakers Right part of Niagras

#10-O Meadows

Northway Creek

The “flats” of Northway trail

Nose (the)

End of finger ridge, below Bruce’s Bowl.  (There’s also a “nose” on Silver King)

Old Faithful Chute

Chute next to trees, skier’s right side of Niagras

OttoBahn/I-5 Diverge

“Gate” to area below Spook Hill, where you bear right toward Lower Spook Trail & I-5

Pucker’s Gulch

Prominent depression between Penny Dawg’s and Brand X; above and skier’s left of Flush Gap

Sand Flats

Flat area North of Lower Northway vehicle access;

Scree Field

Open area below Niagras and above lower spook runout to Lot “E”.

Shaker’s Left & Right

High skier’s left of Niagras, either side of rocky cliffs, respectively.


Area around where the North boundary line flattens out, just above Lower BX Cliffs

Shop Face/Shop Chutes

Below Right Angle, right of Left Angle Trees, left of the Waterfall Permanent Closure

Stump Patch

Narrow run starting @ right turn in Lower Spook Trail with “To Base Area” sign; Crappy skiing to Crystal Mtn. Blvd. where Lower Northway road turns off

Teddy Bear Chute

Not the big chute right inside Gate 6, but the smaller chute to the right.

Tower 10 Cliff’s

2 bands of large rocks (or small cliffs) near tower 10

Upper Paradise

Skier’s right of Bruce’s Bowl; Skier’s left of Paradise Bowl & above Paradise gates

Valley of the Cliffs

Forest Service land past Crystal’s northern boundary; 100+’ cliffs with no skiable paths thru

White Dragon

Northern-most Low BX cliffs from which one can still traverse back to the lift.

2 thoughts on “Informal Names Part II….Northway

  1. Ken aka Kkz

    Thanks for posting these lists. As you know, my gang over the years has named many runs ourselves when we couldn’t find a name on the trail or backcountry maps. I’ve posted some of these on my blog at if anyone wants to comment.
    A couple comments on CM run names.
    Renaming a run never works well, especially after 40 years. Ferk’s will always be Iceberg and Lower Bull Run in my book. I wonder how much the marketing department got into that one not wanting to market a run called Iceberg.
    I’ve got a new name on my list per some of the previous discussion here as I’ve know it as all three names mentioned. How ’bout Ho-Chi-I-5-Buf-Min-Trail?
    I noticed a new gate at the top of the Northway chair to do the short climb to the top of Northway Peak. Nice not needing to tangle through the rope for the short walk up. Gonna number it 2a? Good addition, thanks.
    Ken aka Kkz


  2. Joe

    “•The non-bold names are shown on the current Trail Map. ”
    Am I missing something? How do I see these names on the trail map?
    Corey Responds:
    Hmmm…very good question. You found a glitch! Sorry to have misled you.
    The PDF version (on the website) is not the current year map, but it shows the trail names referred to in the Blog. Please note that some of the Northway names & difficulty designations, as well as the Avalanche Basin gates, have changed for the current year. If you can pick up a print version from the ski area, that would be your best bet.
    The PDF can be found by selecting The Mountain from the red drop down bar, then selecting Mountain Stats. It’s about 1/2-way down. The url is:
    I see the “interactive” version isn’t cooperating. Looks like a Summer project! Thanks for the head’s up!


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