What?! This is a CLOSED AREA? and Other Bad Questions

Ski patrollers really don’t like taking people’s tickets.  We really don’t.  But we’ve had to do just that these past few days.  We still have many closed areas, including Exterminator, Bull Run and Kelly’s Gap, not to mention Bear Pits, Brand X, etc, etc.  We are trying to get as much terrain open as possible. However, Lower Exterminator and Kelly’s Gap will remain closed while the Gondola construction crew completes the cable splice.  


Here’s a Quiz.  What’s the difference between this:


And this?

And the answer is…Nothing.  There is NO DIFFERENCE between a rope line and a closed rope line. Do yourself a favor.  Do not ski or ride under any rope lines.   All ropes are there because we don’t want you to ski or ride there.  

Repeat after me now, ANY ROPE LiNE IS A CLOSURE.  

For a short time today the Kelly’s Gap rope was on the ground and several people skied OVER it, and then tried to tell the patrollers at the bottom that the Gap was open.  Please people.   Don’t try this.  It just makes us angry.  

There is a big, thick cable hanging in the snow at the bottom of the Gap.  You ski over it, and chances are, you might leave big chunks of yourself behind.  We don’t want this.  You don’t want this.  The Gondola crew REALLY doesn’t want this.  I think we are all on the same page here.  


12 thoughts on “What?! This is a CLOSED AREA? and Other Bad Questions

  1. Snow Boarder

    This is great! I’m new to Crystal and was following some dudes and they went down a run that lead to the bottom. I ended up pointing it about half down and then there was one of you guys (ski patrol). He tried to wave me down but I just pointed it even more. I ended up getting out of my binders at lighting speed tore off my hat and boogied to the ticket counter area. what do you know there was the ski patroller that was looking for me. I was standing next to him laughing in side that he was so slow on his sticks and had no clue who he was looking for, Most likely my green hat I took off. He was looking for me for about 5 minutes as me and my friends were laughing at him. I hope the guy I ran from reads this! Poor performance on his part.


  2. Dear Snow Boarder,
    Not sure how to respond. Are you bragging that you ducked a rope line and outran a ski patroller? What are you hoping for here? That others will line up to pat you on the back and women will want to run their fingers through your chest hair?
    The area you poached was closed because of the very heavily-tensioned cable that lay across the snow. It was dangerous, and we needed to keep it closed so the Gondola crew could do their work.
    This isn’t supposed to be a game of cat and mouse. If you want to play out your juvenile video-game fantasies of outrunning patrollers and sticking it to “the man” I suggest you take your game elsewhere. Crystal Mountain doesn’t need your business.


  3. SoftCheese

    I love skiing Crsytal Mountain. The reason? Safety? Well, yea I like safety, but it isn’t that. Terrain? Nice, too, but that is still not the reason. The definitive reason why I love Crystal Mountain is: we don’t want you.
    Crystal Mountain doesn’t need park skiers and snowboarders (so much for that, eh?), we don’t need smart riders, we don’t need ski bums. We want class.


  4. jerry

    Crystal made a very irresponsible decision opening early, they almost always do. Simply not enough coverage to be safe.
    John Kircher responds: If the coverage was so low and the opening decision so irresponsible, why were you here? Real mountain people read the reports, see the low snow conditions signage plastered all over the area and use rock gear. I wouldn’t want you running MY ski area!


  5. jerry

    I have not gone to Crystal this year. I understand that early season conditions exist, and I do use older equipment this time of year.
    I feel Stevens made a more rational choice to open after the dump a couple days ago. Also, their choice to open midweek allows patrol to get out there and mark the creek holes/shrubs/boulders that become exposed.
    That being said, I feel that Crystal puts being the first resort open over favorable base snow conditions.


  6. Peter

    Contrary to the above comments, I would like to say thank you to John Kircher for consistently pushing the envelope and letting those of us who love to ski in any conditions get out early in the season. With the gondola construction going on, I thought it would be later this year but you made it happen!


  7. jeff

    I also applaud the resort for pushing the envelope and getting us die hards out their sooner so we can finally put our rock boards out of their misery in a manner that honors their service. Jerry aned people like him are the same ones that are driving up to the resort @25mph on a powder day with their Volvo XC or some other urban assault vehicle that they don’t know how to operate. Do the rest of us favor if thats all you can muster in the way of courage either come to the mt late on powder days and later in the year so that conditions are more sutible to your lack of personal accountabilty and ability to mmanage and accept risk.
    As for the closed areas I do have two questions.
    1. In Christina’s blog on chair 6 she stated that the boundary w/ the Mt Rainier Wilderness was open with the exception of Kempers. Isn’t that boundary roped in most places and how does that rope compare to ropes in area?
    2. What is the policy for walking/skinning up into N Back, Silver or A Basins on days they are closed or the upper Mt is closed due to weather or wind?


  8. Jeff,
    Good questions, here’s my answers:
    1. The only rope at Crystal that does not signify a closure is our boundary with Mt. Rainier Natl. Park. That rope extends from the top of the Throne along all the ridges to Gate A in far Northway. We have it roped because if we didn’t, people would end up dropping down into the park and getting lost. The exemption along that ropeline is the Kempers area. That slide path is permanently closed, since its too dangerous. Having said all that, it is okay to go under the boundary rope (and only the boundary rope) as long as you know where you are going and have the proper equipment.
    2. The uphill policy at Crystal is this: when the avalanche conditions or other situations warrant, we close uphill traffic by posting “No Hiking Above This Point” signs. These signs are found at the bottom of Rex and around the top of Forest Queen/Bottom of 6. Earlier this season, a bunch of people were hiking up into Hamburger to ski powder before the chair opened for the season. The avalanche conditions were stable, and we allowed this. But it is important to note that if someone got hurt up there, it would be difficult to get to the them. The chair wasn’t running, nor were there toboggans set up to use. Bear in mind that when hiking above our lifts (on days that we allow it) consider it much like backcountry terrain. Also, if you hike into Southback when it is closed, be sure to check in with patrol before heading out. We could be doing avalanche control that day (in which case you would not want to be there).


  9. John D

    Kims post today made me re-read this thread. 2 thoughts for Jerry –
    1. I grew up skiing in So Cal. This is my second full season at Crystal. I was peeved at how long Crystal WAITED before opening this year. In So Cal and many many resorts nationwide, resorts open long before it even snows once usually with one white stripe and way more brown under the lift than white. I hiked and ski’d powder bowl on Nov 12, over a week BEFORE opening day – we would have died for those kind of pre season conditions in So Cal! And Crystal (which I will call “conservative Crystal” relatively speaking) was still waiting to open.
    2. I crushed my Fischer Watea’s on a rock hiking/skiing near the Throne on opening day, and spent most of my Thanksgiving epoxying and ptexing between turkey bites. I also have a huge bruise on my thigh still. Heck, I almost had a season ender on opening day. Do I blame Crystal? Heck no!! I thank Crystal. Having Chinook Express and Forest Queen open saved me the hike up to that elevation I did the week prior. As an anxious season pass holder and avid skier I’d have been pissed if Crystal made the choice Stevens did and waited.
    Thank you Crystal, Ski Patrol, gondola crew, etc for opening early. If anything, please open earlier with less snow next year – you could never open with less than my Snow Valley did some years !!! lol…..


  10. Ben O'Leary

    @Snow Boarder- I really hope that you tripped in the parking lot or got pulled over by Ian our awesome USFS Officer for driving 45 in the 20mph parking lot. Either way karma will come around and get back at ya.
    @Kim- I applaud your well worded response to this character, Crystal does not need to have this guy’s $60 and have to risk spending 100 times that or more should he have been snapped in half by a gondola tension cable or run over by a cat on the closed gap road.
    The point I want to make here is that there is a place at Crystal Mountain or any resort for that matter in which any guest must remember to bring something; they must pack along their common sense. It is probably the most crucial piece of equipment you can pack with you. Everything else will come together if you remember to think before you act on something. Whenever I am on the hill I always double check the cut overs, the entrances and exits of runs and the blind spots before I shoot over the top of something or someone. In case “Snow Boarder” didn’t catch on while he was visiting Crystal, there are slow banners, rope lines, caution disks on bamboo, and patrollers out on the hill to educate you for a reason. Learn something before you send yourself or someone else away in a AMR unit, Airlift, or the M.E.’s van.
    That is my rant.


  11. Freed-
    Sheesh. Take a chill pill, man. Also, don’t forget spelling and punctuation. When trying to sound scary and intimidating, a few well-placed periods and commas can really do the trick for emphasis.


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