Now that Daylight Savings has smacked us in the patootie, we are trying–WHEN FEASIBLE–to keep Northway terrain open until the last chair loads at 3:30pm.
At about 3:15 we’re flipping gates 1-7 to say "Northway Lift Closed–No Shuttle–Return to Base via I-5". Guests are free to ski back to the base area or to make it to the bottom of the lift or ski out Lower Northway or Lower Spook Hill Trail. The last chair loads at 3:30pm. Anyone coming to the bottom after that won’t be able to load the lift. Instead, you’ll have 2 options:
Ski down Lower Northway to the turnaround, and walk out (I think it’s about a 1/4 mile–but remember skiers: you’re in ski boots!) to Crystal Mountain Boulevard. On weekdays, and when the shuttle isn’t running to Parking Lot "F" on weekends, the whole walk back to a shuttle stop is about a mile, I believe. The Lower Northway road may not always be plowed.
Walk out the trail we call 13-F, from the bottom of the lift to Parking Lot "E". (It shows as "Lower Spook Hill Trail" on the Trail Map, but don’t let that fool ya’ if you’re an old-timer here and you think of "Lower Spook" as dropping down to Parking Lot "E". This is a whole different deal!) Pleased be warned it’s a LONG walk with a steep sidehill. Late in the day when the sun doesn’t hit it, it can get icy. I’ve yet to find anyone who describes the experience as pleasant, and we do not recommend it for snowboarders. But if you’re used to I-5 and think it’s a piece of cake, it’s pretty similar. Traveling with a partner is recommended!
The Ski Patrol will start their closing "sweep" run on Northway at about the same time as Rainier Express: starting about 3:42 or later. Keep in mind that any assistance you need may be delayed since the Patrol is conducting closing runs. We’re experimenting with this change to serve Expert skiers & boarders who won’t be challenged by end-of-day conditions as the sun sinks low, tempertures cool and the soft snow starts setting up.
Let us know if you like this change. It’s a little "staff-intensive" so we may not continue if it doesn’t seem to be serving many customers!