A Very Lucky Ski Season Comes to an End

One of the luckiest ski seasons in history ended at Crystal this past weekend. Lucky because of the fortunate timing of our weather events. Usually when it rains here we shrug our collective shoulders in disgust. We wonder why our ski areas can’t be 1000′ higher. We envy the cold temps of the Rockies and marvel at the light snow of the Wasatch. We know that with just a bit of luck, we could have the best skiing in the world. But alas, this is the Pacific Northwest–home of Cascade concrete and plastic-bag wearing locals and the birthplace of Gore-tex. We don’t expect perfect snow.

King_Chair6
The King getting filled in

But then we have a season like this one. We anticipated an El Niño; our imaginations were primed for groomers. Narrow-under-foot ski sales were up. Goggles sales were down. Everyone was picking out a good pair of sunglasses. And dusting off their foul weather gear.

 

We never knew that this season the stars would align for us. The ocean currents would fall into sync and we would get very, very lucky.

morning_meeting
Not a bad spot for a morning meeting

That’s not to say it didn’t rain this season. It rained like crazy. And that’s where we got lucky. It rained on Wednesdays. (I know this because Wednesdays are my day off.) In fact it rained eight Wednesdays in a row (I was counting). But each subsequent Friday, right before the weekend crowds arrived, it snowed deep and light and repaired the rain-soaked slopes with a glorious quilt of powder. Every Saturday for two months was a powder day.

As most of you know, when conditions at Crystal are good there’s no ski area like it. By March, the north-facing slopes were filled in like I haven’t seen in over a decade. Pinball resembled a fairway, just a slight undulation where normally a deep, narrow gash splits the north face of the King. At its prime this season, the upper mountain held over 10 feet of snow in places.

middle_ferks
Middle Ferk’s groomed to perfection

As winter turned the spring, the weather continued to cooperate. The last three weekends were legitimate spring conditions. The corn developed into large isothermal grains, creating slush bombs along the frontside and into Middle Ferk’s. The cat crew groomed these bumps every night back into corduroy, and the snow bar at the Summit House was a huge hit. We all came away with awesome goggle tans and bruised livers. The past few weeks were one long party, and the final closing was a little sad.

Now it looks like next season might be a La Niña, which means colder and wetter than usual. What do you all say? Isn’t it time for two lucky seasons in a row?

peter_dale
Peter Dale getting some well-deserved pow

As the Most Interesting Skier in the World would say, stay powder-hungry my friends.

2 thoughts on “A Very Lucky Ski Season Comes to an End

  1. Jeff Matson

    Thanks to the entire patrol (whether you were working, or trying to enjoy a day off on those soggy Wednesdays) for helping to make this a great season!

    Like

  2. Congrats on another season. I really enjoy the fact that you’ve banded together to tell some of the stories that many of us common ski folk would never hear.

    I’m building a blog right now about an older ski resort that has closed down – I hope the same fate doesn’t ever happen to Crystal Mountain but if it ever did the regular skier and customers would be thrilled to find this blog.

    Keep up the good work and keep us updated on your summer time activities as well!

    Like

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