After a Great Year, Time to Buy the Next Season Pass

Should you buy a season pass? SkiZer always asks himself this question.

It’s a tough one: Season passes are by far the most economical way to get your ski days in. On the down side, the pass ties you to one ski area.

And then there’s the gamble. Will next year be worth a pass? SkiZer has lived through some lousy seasons where the pass wasn’t worth it.

But this time, it seems like buying the pass is a no-brainer. As a great season slowly ends, passes for next year are on sale and SkiZer decided to pony up at Crystal Mountain. Bonus: the pass is good for the rest of this stellar season, which continues for another month.

After scoring as many end-of-season days as possible this year, SkiZer will maximize the value next year. That’s the plan anyway.

As for Day 1 of the season pass: It was excellent. About 10 inches of new snow had fallen. It was a bit warm and wet — hey it’s spring, after all — but nothing the K2 Pinnacle 105s couldn’t handle. Fresh turns were found on Northway and about midway through the day, the Southback opened, offering more freshies.

Time to make that pass start paying.

Day 36: Crystal Mountain

  • Vertical: 30,000
  • Vertical for the year: 622,000
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Skiers turn at the top of High Campbell at Crystal Mountain.
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A snowboarder rides Chair 6.
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K2 Pinnacle 105s handle the heavy snow with ease.
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Hiking to the Southback at Crystal Mountain.

Last Day of Winter: Still Time to Skate

It was a rough ski week in the Northwest. Torrential rain hit the mountains for several days causing avalanches and floods.

Then it got cold and froze all the soggy snow. Not exactly a great recipe for hitting the slopes — but we do what we can.

SkiZer decided the last day of winter was best spent skate-skiing. The firm snow was melting under a very spring-like sun, turning any ice into a forgiving track at Hyak, along the John Wayne Trail.

The snow was fast and fun. Onto spring skiing!

Day 35: Hyak

  • Distance skied: 28K
  • Distance for the year: 116K
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SkiZer takes a break in the sunshine.
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Skaters and classic Nordic skiers hit the tracks on the John Wayne Trail.

 

 

We Can Dream: A Powder Day Without Dudes

SkiZer had women on his mind on day 34 of the season.

It was International Women’s Day, and SkiZer found himself on the slopes of Crystal Mountain around a bunch of men. Dudes, really.

But that didn’t stop some interesting thoughts. Such as, why on a powder day, are dudes such assholes?

First of all, the day was incredible. It was probably the best powder day of the year, with a cold storm dropping eight inches, and it dumped another five during the day. That’s over a foot, my friends, on top of two feet that have fallen in recent days.

Soft? Yes, incredibly so, with every turn feeling effortless. SkiZer never took a break, skied uncut lines for most of the day and scored his biggest vertical of the season (40,000 feet).

Back to Women’s Day.

Powder days are dude-fests, there’s no getting around it. The lineup in the morning for first chairlift ride was a testosterone-filled sh*t show. Maybe one or two women were in line with the 80 or so dudes waiting, but SkiZer never saw them.

So when you find yourself in the company of men, you’re bound to see bad behavior. Line-cutters. Stupid braggarts. More stupid braggarts. Aggressive shoving.

Now, if this was a lineup of women who were waiting on a powder day, you’d see none of these bad social characteristics. There would be no line-cutters. Instead of braggarts, you’d see conversationalists. Instead of aggressive shoving, you’d see polite, “After yous.”

Wouldn’t it be nice.

Day 34: Crystal Mountain

  • Vertical: 40,000
  • Vertical for the year: 592,000
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It’s a Dude-fest waiting for the opening of an epic powder day at Crystal
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First run: Hitting it hard.
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Powder run in Avalanche Basin.

 

 

When You’re Feeling Blue, Go for Big Vertical

It was quiet — a little too quiet — on the slopes of Crystal Mountain.

Crystal had five inches of new snow, on top of seven the day before, and it was dumping for much of the day. Temps were cold, and the skiing was fantastic.

Yet nobody was there, and the vibe at the resort was that the end is near. The SkiZer couldn’t help feeling a little melancholy, thinking it’s almost over.

The best cure for that is to ski hard. SkiZer went for vertical, racking up 36,000 feet. Every run was good, with untracked turns aplenty on Rainier Express, Northway and High Campbell. Best turns of the day were found on Campbell, where the snow was cold, and the sun peeked out from time to time.

Day 33: Crystal Mountain

  • Vertical: 36,000
  • Vertical for the year: 552,000
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SkiZer riding the High Campbell lift.
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A skier turns near the top of High Campbell.
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Skiers traverse past Snorting Elk Bowl at Crystal Mountain.

Such a Deal: Mt. Baker Offers Deep Powder at a Discount

Finally, old age is paying off.

On day 32 of the season, The SkiZer scored his first senior citizen ticket ever. At Mt. Baker, tickets are just $42 for those older than 60, and the SkiZer now qualifies. Score!

To make things even better, it was a powder day. Eight inches new had fallen overnight on top of about six inches the day before.

Thanks to the new K2 Pinnacle 105s, it was a great day. We’re into March now, and the snow isn’t exactly Champagne powder. Last year at this time, the SkiZer struggled mightily in similar conditions with his old Volkls.

It’s amazing what a legit powder ski will do for you on a day with deep, wet snow. Untracked snow was a dream, and broken snow was great too, with the Pinnacles busting through anything in their path.

It ended up being an excellent, big vertical day.

Day 32: Mt. Baker Ski Area

  • Vertical: 31,000
  • Vertical for the year: 516,000
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The storm rages on March 1 at Mt. Baker.
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SkiZer about to drop in on Pan Face, one of his favorites at Mt. Baker.