Going beyond the Designated Ski Area Boundary
“Ducking” Rope lines is Prohibited!
At Crystal Mountain, rope lines are placed to obstruct skier & snowboarder traffic – ducking under & jumping over them is prohibited; violators may lose privileges.
- In some cases rope lines are placed to promote merging and reduce collisions
- In some cases rope lines are placed to direct traffic towards gates that may contain essential safety warning signage or may be closed to indicated closed terrain
- In some cases they are placed to indicate the boundaries of uniquely dangerous and potentially deadly areas—our Permanently Closed Areas
EAST of Crystal: U.S. Forest Service Land
Crystal Mountain has no rules restricting travel East of the developed ski area base, but Backcountry Safety considerations apply. Heavy machinery may be in use without warning at any time.
NORTH of Crystal: U.S. Forest Service Land
Skiers are able to access lands outside of Crystal’s designated ski area boundary via access gates along the North boundary with some Backcountry Safety considerations. Exiting other than through these gates is prohibited; Violators will lose skiing privileges.
Don’t confuse the North Boundary exit gates with the Northway gates, which access the drainage served by the Northway Chairlift. These gates numbered 1-10 have yellow & orange octagonal signs indicating when the terrain is closed due to extreme weather and avalanche instability, and whether the lift is running. At times the terrain may be open but the lift not operating; hiking or a long traverse is required to return to the Base area.
WEST of Crystal: Mt. Rainier National Park
The Mount Rainier National Park boundary is defined by SKI AREABOUNDARY and MT. RAINIERWILDERNESS signs and a single rope line with designated exit points. People have died after deciding to enter the Park to ski one of the several large un-controlled avalanche paths running down from the Crystal Mountain ridge. These areas are similar to Kemper’s and should not be considered any safer to ski. Those entering the Park are to leave no trace other than ski tracks, which includes not improving trails by breaking tree branches, flagging trails, or any other method. Dogs are prohibited in the park. Return to the ski area, if possible, is arduous.
Kemper’s Permanent Closure
There is a localized permanent boundary closure for the “Kemper’s” avalanche path which lies entirely within the designated wilderness of Mount Rainier National Park. This localized closure, requested by Crystal Mountain, is authorized and supported by the U.S. Forest Service and Mount Rainier National Park because Kemper’s presents a significant unique avalanche hazard to skiers. Explanation. Violators ascending or descending in this area—whether or not in possession of a lift ticket—will lose skiing privileges at Crystal Mountain for at least one year.
SOUTH of Crystal: Southback
“Southback” is hike-to terrain within the designated ski area boundary. When access gates are open, explosives use and skier compaction reduces avalanche danger, though “avalanche prone conditions” exist at all times and avalanche transceivers, probes, snow shovels—along with formal training and practice in their use—are always recommended here . Gates must be entered to access this area and signs indicate when it is closed;—violators will lose skiing privileges. Avalanche control may be in-progress at any time and heavy machinery may be in use without warning.
Past Silver Basin lies backcountry with much less skier compaction and no avalanche mitigation. The boundary is always “open” at designated exit points, and is indicated by Ski Area Boundary NOPATROL signs. Keep in mind that Three-Way Peak is visually deceptive—the “gap” you see when passing behind it leads not back to Crystal, but to the East side of the Cascades—and Yakima! Return is arduous! Crystal Lakes is in Mount Rainier National Park so dogs are not allowed there.