Ski Industry Myth of Early Closure

I don’t want to steal Corey’s thunder here (he mentioned that he soon wanted to address ski industry myths) so I will be brief.  Crystal Mt. isn’t the only area that come closing time the customers simply shrug and say too bad the Forest Service won’t let them operate anymore.  That myth is industry-wide.  We usually close down because people stop coming up.  It starts happening in March, when all of our skiers seem to go to Whistler and Sun Valley.  Did you know that Washington state exports more skiers than it keeps?  In other words more people from WA ski out of state than in.  Or they ski more days out of state than in.  By April, there are more employees than skiers, and it doesn’t take a genius to know that can’t last.  With the gondola, sightseers, diners and skiers can fill those cabins and keep the bullwheel turning. 


7 thoughts on “Ski Industry Myth of Early Closure

  1. Peter

    I read on the Seattle-PI website ( that the gondola is only going to have 18 cabins. That seems like a very small number for a 6,400′ lift. Is this a fixed grip “pulse” gondola or a regular detachable one?
    Kim responds: It is a regular detachable one. We will start with 18 cabins with the opportunity to add more as we go. If the Gondola is a big hit (which I imagine it will be) than more cabins can easily be added.


  2. Sara

    I find this blog so incredibly fascinating. I’ve learned so much reading the posts here. Thanks mucho and keep up the great work!!


  3. Mark

    It seems so lame that you advertise the largest ski area in washington, yet we do not get to ski the north back country. I surely can tell you that all the locals feel it is unfair to close the gates to the north when the northway lift is not going to be running on mondays and tuesday. We all know how to get back to the base area without the northway lift.
    Kim responds: Mark, you have a good point. Let me explain our opening procedures for north. It is closed during high avalance conditions and during avalanche control. This is no different from way back before the lift was in. We also close it due to bad conditions (again no change from pre-lift days). When the lift does not run, we can keep “short north” open, with a return on I-5, only when that trail is skiable. All year, we have had low snow conditions on I-5, and several times this season we have kept that trail, as welll as skiable terrain, such as Shaker’s that uses the trail as an exit, closed. For now, that would be the only reason to keep north closed on days when the lift doesn’t run.
    Hopefully with this new snow and the hopeful forecast, this discussion will become a moot point!


  4. Greg Halverson

    For the new gondola, how about B2P (base-to-peak since Whistler has Peak-to-Peak) or BTS (Base-to-Summit). Of course you could call it G-string (G for gondola, string for the cable). Go ahead, stick your necks out there a little!!


  5. bizweasel

    Boy, I don’t know if you have successfully debunked the myth. Here is what I am pretty sure is factual:
    * At least as far as I can tell based on statements as recent as 2008, CM actually does have a federally mandated restriction on its operating season, having to do with elk calving season in the upper meadows. In years where there was a summer season up in GV (like 10 years ago), that restriction affected when that GV summer season could start.
    * Employee retention into an extended season is a problem at other areas at least. 2 years ago, when there was great late season snow, the Snoq Pass resorts had several days where they stated that they could not open one of the hills, or particular lifts, because their seasonal employees had already left.
    * There has to be an insurance consequence too, right? I’m not quite sure how this would work, but my guess would be – CM has insurance to a certain date. Extending that date would take getting on the phone with the carrier, adding a rider, and probably paying $$$.
    So sure, lack of skiers factors in. But I think skier traffic really is just one leg of a triangle (or even a square if the elk calving restriction is still in play) that is part of the business decision making.
    Care to debunk that?


  6. Nudibranch

    I thought ski resorts closed in April due to insurance limitations? Nice to see Crystal consistently improve under the direction of the Kircher family! What’s next? I hear Whistler’s for sale!


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