Skiers vs Snowboarders: An Invitation

Howdya’ like that controversial title?   I did that to sucker-in the folks who might not normally read this blog, muah-ha-ha-ha.


Actually, those of us who live and work at Crystal are not too down with that whole silly conflict that recently crept up on the CM Facebook page.  So just knock it off, OK?  There are lots of ways to get around in the mountains and all of ’em have advantages and disadvantages at different times. When you live in a harsh environment (ya’ know, like here in Greenwater where there’s not even a Taco Bell fergodsakes!) you never know when you’re going to need to count on your neighbors.  So everybody has to just be nice to each other!  


So whether you snowboard, alpine ski, telemark, skate/blade-ski, cross-country, split-board, snowshoe, mono-ski, randonee, sit-ski or skibike, it doesn’t matter what you wear on your feet (or I guess kinda’ on your butt in the case of sit-skiers and skibikers) as long as you’re having fun.


DISCLAIMER:  The only exception is sledding.  Sledding is prohibited everywhere at Crystal Mountain and it’s actually not allowed anywhere around here…not enough long runouts and too many tragic accidents.  The only place it’s actually allowed is at the Summit Tubing Center at Snoqualmie Pass and sometimes at Paradise on the south side of Mt. Rainier.


But I’m getting a bit off topic….

I’ve gotten a few questions and comments from people about the best ways to maneuver long traverse/ascent trails like we have going to Southback, up into Bullion Basin–even coming back into the area on the I-5 trail returning from Northway.   I don’t know of any great rules-of-thumb, so I thought I’d throw it out to y’all to invite comments and ideas.  


I know that when the trail is wide enough, it makes it easier for everybody if snowboarders boot on one side of the trail and skiers stay on the other.  Does it matter who’s on the uphill or downhill side?  I’ve seen skiers track over a perfectly good boot-pack leaving it slicker ‘n snot–particularly cruel when there’s a steep sidehill.  And I’ve seen boarders meander along a traverse, leaving an awfully rattly ride for skiers who come along behind them, though theoretically the skiers in those areas should be experts who don’t find this kind of thing too daunting.  But it does make the trip a bit less pleasant.  


Got any great ideas?  Been to other places where they have unwritten norms for this kind of situation?  Share your opinions and we’ll post ’em if you’re civil.  If anybody sees Corey Peterson, or any other multi-sport experts, get them to weigh in on this, too!


7 thoughts on “Skiers vs Snowboarders: An Invitation

  1. Derek

    Are snowscooters allowed? Not a traditional bike attached to a snowboard snowscoot, but an actual Razor kick scooter with paddles attached instead of wheels. My friend just purchased one & we wanted to bring it up, but didn’t know if we would be allowed to ride it? It has a leash and is completely safe.
    Corey Responds:
    The criteria we look at include:
    1) Does the device require any additional attention (or cause distraction) for Lift Operators?
    2) Is there some kind of “runaway” restraint that prevents the device from getting away from the user and injuring other guests, or from dangling from the chairlift and tangling with things below if dropped?
    3) Will the device distract or otherwise interfere with other guests’ enjoyment?
    We usually get asked to see “new” devices in action before passing on to the lift staff to allow lift access. But from your description is sounds very likely so I’ll encourage you to drop by sometime we’re not real busy (not the day the Gondola opens, please!) to give us a demonstration!
    (Keep in mind that nothing done on a snowy slope is “completely safe”. You can always fall down and get hurt. That challenge is part of what makes things fun, but remember you gotta watch out for your own safety!)


  2. Jeff

    Funny you should say something about this…. Just Wednesday we were talking about it. Our main point of conversation was about that bottom of Northway to base trail…. (Guess you call it I-5?) I supose if there were a way to get to a lower lot that would be sweet. The last time we got stuck was a 2 hour waist deep hike. That was 3 years ago, or whenever they opened northway. So, if changes have been made and I’m talking out my keister please let me know. Our biggest problem was the width of it and the “no grade” aspect. So we thought maybe having it enter the trail higher up the mountain. Seems easy enough but I’m sure there are some obstacles preventing that from happening. On a side note: Much appreciated to the ski patrol for there quick and professional response to my buddie who was “lost”… Of course he was fine and just didn’t wait for us at the bottom like planned. You guys rock and make it safer for all of us. My wife thanks you very much. =)


  3. Corey

    Thanks for the thanks, Jeff. We’re happy to help!
    If you’re on I-5 and cut left when you get to Niagras, it’ll take you down to Parking Lot E where you can catch the shuttle bus. (Some slower weekdays it only runs to C or D, so check with guest services if that distance is of concern)
    There are also ways out from the bottom of the Northway chair, but they’re less friendly and right now (Dec.17) they’re closed. Lower Northway takes you down to a road which–if plowed–is about a 10 minute walk back to a place on the boulevard that the shuttle doesn’t go, so you have another 10 minute walk to F Lot (which may not have shuttle service if it’s not in use. Trail 13-F is similar to I-5 but with a steep sidehill. If it opened tomorrow I wouldn’t recommend it for snowboarders, but we’ll have to re-evaluate it after the snowback deepens and we can set a track. After some development it’ll be a sweet get-back!


  4. Daniel

    It would be nice to have ski only runs, at least a few, so that they can mogul up properly and be good mogul runs that are not ruined by inexperienced snow boarders.
    Just like boarders and other snow riders have parks, some of us skiers would like to have a proper mogul area, with properly shaped moguls, like the old school.
    You can’t find a good mogul run to save your life these days. Except at Alta I guess.


  5. Corey

    I share your pain…sweetly shaped moguls are pretty fun, huh? But are you sure it’s only snowboarders who ruin ’em? ‘Cuz there were plenty of non-“properly” shaped moguls back before there were snowboards. I think sketched-out high-end beginner skiers form them too, scraping off the fronts leaving a big drop into the troughs. And with today’s new-fangled dad-burn shaped skis, it’s easier than ever for people to get into terrain that challenges them beyond their ability level.
    Exterminator, Bull Run and Lower Ferk’s don’t see nearly as much snowboard traffic as other places,due to the traversing required to get there, but the moguls that form there get just as wacky. Also places in Northway that I shall not mention lest I get lynched by those who want to keep them a secret.
    That said, it makes sense that boards probably have a larger turn radius, at least than mogul skis, so they’d shape moguls differently, right? But wouldn’t the moguls just be larger?
    I’m not convinced….I think more scientific study is needed before we can blame snowboards rather than novices! Anybody need a topic to study for their PhD.?


  6. Jennifer Irwin

    A little biased here, since a snowboarder was seen colliding into me Sunday on Queen run, knocking me unconscious and then they did not even stop. Taken to ER for CAT scan. No memory of event. 40 years of hard skiing and narry an injury until this.


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