Pow and Yeti and Crystal Mountain

January 14th, 2008 by

The Northwest ski scene sometimes seems like its own universe. With the exception of Whistler, the scene is pretty self contained. There are the resorts you always hear are epic but don’t get much attention – Crystal, Alpental, Mt. Baker. And athletes – like Pep, Pollard, Andy Mahre, Bryce Phillips – who are always on their own program. Even photographers, like Chase Jarvis who shot for Freeskier for years, seem to just do their own thing.

So last week, while were in Seatte for the
release party
for the Seven Artistic Sins skis, we took a day off for a guided tour of Seattle’s local mecca Crystal Mountain by a man in the know: Gary Winberg. Gary is the Independent Business Manager for the new film from Pep, Pollard, Andy and Chris Benchetler,
Hunting Yeti
, released under the company name, Nimbus.

We’re going to be working with Nimbus on Hunting Yeti this winter, and we have a bunch of edit coming up over the next seven days. We’re going to spend some time talking with the crew about the project and what makes it so unique. And Freeskier Editor Matt harvey will be traveling the Northwest (including a likely return to Crystal) with the Nimbus team starting Wednesday.

First off, Crystal is amazing – great terrain in all directions, 3,100 feet of vertical, and a lift system that doesn’t escort the gapers to all the goods. The ski area sprawls back across several ridges and peaks from the small base, and it’s the kind of area that is epic with a good local hook-up but would be tricky to figure out on your own. But with a little traversing and a good guide, there’s so much killer terrain to be found: tree lines, alpine-feeling peaks, tight chutes and high-speed open terrain. And, we got the best of the snow: cold, rain-free and deep. Crystal has gotten nearly 100 inches in the last two weeks!

The highlight was a 45-minute hike to Silver King peak, and some seriously steep turns on the way down. We kicked off a big in-bounds slide on the way down (really scary, a good reminder to keep your head on even in bounds) and scored face shots on the lower half. And I don’t score a lot of face shots at 6’3”.

Unfortunately, it was puking snow most of the time, so no action photos. Fortunately for us, that made for great skiing. The Northwest is going off right now.

Thanks to Tiana Enger at Crystal for helping out.

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