Backcountry Skiing at Crystal Mountain

Crystal Mountain | Washington
Trip Highlights

Top three reasons to go skiing at Crystal Mountain

  • Trip Highlight

    Spectacular views of the 14er Mount Rainier

  • Trip Highlight

    Abundant powder with 486″ of snowfall per season

  • Trip Highlight

    Incredible diversity of terrain for the different abilities

Crystal Mountain is a first-rate all-rounder for all ski levels—with excellent views. Here you’ll have an opportunity to ski in incredibly diverse terrains blessed with loads of fresh powder—with Mt Rainier as your backdrop. With over 3000 feet of verticals, easy access to the snowy mountain tops, and the terrain that covers half a dozen peaks and basins, there’s very little you can’t do in the area. Explore Crystal Mountain’s lovely steeps, chutes, cliffs, trees, and bowls—all with a guide who will tailor the day according to your wishes and abilities. Whether you’re only just finding out about the delights of backcountry, or are eager to improve your off-piste skills—Crystal Mountain awaits you open-armed.

Season

December through April

Nearest city

Seattle, WA, is only 2 hours away

Duration

1 day

Skill level

Beginner to advanced

Itineraries

Choose how you spend your day

Private Intro to Backcountry Skiing

Full-day

Still trying to figure out all the quirks of backcountry skiing? Let the guide show you all the tips and tricks, and learn about backcountry safety from a friendly expert guide. The amazingly diverse terrain of Crystal Mountain offers plenty of options for all skill levels! Let your guide plan out the perfect day, and fall in love with the freedom and adventure the backcountry provides.

A Customized Day of Private Guided Backcountry Skiing

Full-day

The endless amount of ski tours will make you wonder where to start, so the best choice would be to go with a local guide and let them guide the way. Discover the beautiful chutes and tree skiing, and try out destinations like Cement Basin, East Peak, Sheep Lake and beyond. Whether you are looking to upgrade your skills or explore the exciting runs that Crystal Mountain offers, the guide will tailor the day according to your wishes and get you to the best places in the area. Make the most of your day in this snow-perfect destination!

Lift Accessed Backcountry Skiing

Full-day

Crystal Mountain is the perfect getaway destination for all those who don’t prefer skinning up the mountain, as it offers a total of 11 lifts leading to 57 named trails. Join your guide and head off to the boundless backcountry terrain with various runs well suited for all abilities. Put your goals for the day in your guide’s hands and let them plan out the perfect adventure, taking into consideration both your safety and fun.

Advanced Tours & Ski Mountaineering

Full-day

Arguably the steepest terrain for expert skiers in the Northwest will provide you with an epic day of adventure on the slopes. Let your guide take you to the best powder stashes and steepest chutes that would satisfy even the most adventurous appetite. Crystal Mountain offers terrain for advanced, expert, and even extreme backcountry skiing with open alpine and sub-alpine terrain, tree skiing, and various features that make it even more epic. Go out with a guide and make the most of your day on this challenging but extremely rewarding mountain!

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Things to know

Things to know

Covid measures in Washington

57hours is committed to providing safe outdoor adventure experiences. We require all guides using our platform to have a COVID-19 safety plan and to make the details of that plan accessible to travelers. In most cases, group sizes will be reduced, guides will avoid overcrowded locations, and other safety measures will be met depending on the location and activity.

We also expect clients to respect local regulations and take measures to protect themselves, guides and the communities they’re traveling to. For more information on COVID-19 measures at Crystal Mountain, please refer to the official Washington State website.

Please contact us if you have any questions or require further information. We are happy to provide you with the most up-to-date information!

What’s included?

What you get in this adventure: 

    • An experienced, certified ski guide with extensive knowledge of the area
    • A full day of backcountry ski touring

What’s not included:

    • Technical backcountry ski touring equipment
    • Trip insurance
    • Food and snacks
    • Transportation
    • Lift tickets

How fit do I need to be?

In order to enjoy this backcountry adventure, you need to have a moderate level of fitness. You will be on your feet for a full day. While there is terrain for all skill levels at Crystal Mountain, you will need to manage controlled descents in variable conditions. All participants should feel comfortable on challenging blur or black level resort runs and be able to carry a loaded daypack while skinning up variable degrees of terrain.

What if I’ve never backcountry skied before?

Backcountry skiing isn’t just for pros looking for the ultimate thrill ride, it’s also beginner friendly, meaning anyone with challenging blue or black level resort experience can have fun in the backcountry. If you’ve never backcountry skied before, heading out with a guide is your best bet. They’ll take care of the planning, introduce you to the basics, like skinning uphill, and teach you how to manage the terrain. They also have the experience and avalanche training to keep you safe.

What equipment do I need to bring?

For technical backcountry ski touring gear, you will need to bring:

    • Alpine touring skis, telemark skis or splitboard with skins (can be rented)
    • Touring boots and poles (can be rented)
    • Avalanche safety equipment (can be rented):
      • Digital, 3-antenna avalanche transceiver or beacon
      • Lightweight snow shovel
      • Avalanche probe

For personal items, we recommend bringing:

    • Helmet
    • Sunglasses or ski goggles
    • Gloves and hat
    • Wind and waterproof shell jacket with hood (Gore-Tex recommended)
    • Ski pants (Gore-Tex recommended)
    • Down jacket or vest
    • Synthetic or wool base layers, underwear and socks
    • One triple-action locking carabiner or two conventional locking carabiners
    • Repair kit and Leatherman for your equipment (can be shared between several people)
    • Water bottle and 1L of water
    • Thermos with a warm beverage — optional
    • Food you can eat on-the-go
    • First-aid kit
    • Sunscreen
    • Daypack large enough to carry all items listed (around a 30-40L backpack)
    • Camera — optional

Can I rent equipment?

All mandatory gear can be rented if you don’t have your own. You can rent: 

    • Avalanche safety pack, including backpack, beacon, shovel and probe from REI
    • Alpine touring or telemark skis, touring boots and poles can be rented from Crystal Mountain Resort or REI
    • Splitboards can be rented from REI

REI is in Seattle and Crystal Mountain Resort is at Crystal Mountain, WA. Rentals should be picked up the night prior to your outing. If you need to rent gear, let us know and we can help make arrangements.

What about group sizes and pricing?

Group sizes and pricing:

    • For this adventure, the max client-to-guide ratio is 4:1. All prices are per person.
    • Costs per person decrease as the group grows for private lessons, so it’s the perfect opportunity to ski with friends and family.

Ski touring at Crystal Mountain, WA can be arranged for larger groups. Contact us to make arrangements.

Min. age requirements:

    • If you are older than 18, you’re good to go.
    • Minors may be permitted to join private tours on a case-by-case basis.

If your group has skiers under the age of 18, contact us prior to booking to make arrangements.

Getting there and meeting location

To get to Crystal Mountain, most people fly into Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. From there, you can rent a car or take a shuttle service. Crystal Mountain is only two hours away.

Once you and your guide agree on the details of your itinerary, your guide will suggest the best place to meet, whether that’s at the guide shop or a predetermined location. From there, you’ll head to your tour. The guide will choose the appropriate terrain dependent on conditions and the ski ability of the group.

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