Backcountry Skiing Crystal Mountain

Beacon Guidebooks has partnered with onX Backcountry. Find guidebook quality content for backcountry adventures in Crystal Mountain. Crystal Mountain has 22 zones to explore and 104 routes.

Total Zones
22

Publisher

Beacon Guidebooks

Crystal Mountain Overview

Like the skiers and boarders today, in the 1800's traces of gold brought prospectors seeking their fortune to Silver Creek, known as the Summit Mining District. By 1949 all that was left of mining's legacy was the colorful names for the landmarks we hike and ride today. Like the miners, skiers were looking for another place to ski and build a ski area after the failure to start one at Mt Rainier. Initial exploration included several ski touring trips to Corral Pass and Silver Creek to assess the terrain, experiencing the first avalanche accident (no one died.) By 1955 a proposal was made and the lifts started spinning in 1962. In 1965 Crystal Mountain received national attention hosting the National Alpine Championships which drew legendary skiers: Jimmie Heuga, Billy Kidd and Jean Claude Killy. Crystal after Killy was like Tatooine in Star Wars; sitting at the outer edge of the ski media galaxy, oppressed by neglectful owners which resulted in a ski area with lifts that often left large amounts of skiers at the bottom of a broken down tower on a powder day. As a result, many locals of Planet Crystal shifted their pow mining beyond the boundary via backcountry touring. At the time, Crystal boasted nearly five miles of boundary with few rules. So skiers came to mine the rich ski terrain and deep snow despite a desolate, almost decrepit lift system. Largely ignored by the ski media and the rest of the country, Crystal gained the notice of the Great Corporate Ski Empires during the 1st Great Corporate Shopping Spree when Boyne bought Crystal with the promise to bring them from Outer Rim of the Ski Galaxy, and they did. New lifts and improved staffing accessed the often-closed North and South back areas. Before long, images of steep, deep untracked pow drew attention to the place. Despite decades of touring and exploring, the sense of finding a run for the first time continues with the tradition of not naming every rock, chute and open face.

Zones Covered

Bullion Basin
Routes
7
ATES Level
2
General Aspect
S,SW,W,NW,N
Whether a dawn patrol, evening lap or a way to bigger lines, Bullion Basin is the tour of fame.
Routes
  • Bullion Approach
  • Club House Bowl
  • Ted's Buttress
  • Solar Slab
  • BBQ Trees
  • BB Bowl
  • BBBB Bowl
Castle Mountain East
Routes
5
ATES Level
2
General Aspect
NE
With rugged terrain to the west and wide open slopes to the east, Castle Mountain offers an amazing variety of tours for the price of skinning Corral Pass Road. Castle Mountain feels like a piece of the Canadian Rockies. From low angle snow to steep chutes emptying out into fun bowls, Castle Mountain East offers a wide range of riding.
Routes
  • Castle Mountain Approach (Crystal/Coral Pass)
  • North Bowl
  • North Chutes
  • Central Bowl
  • South Bowl
Castle Mountain West
Routes
4
ATES Level
3
General Aspect
SW
Castle Mountain feels like a piece of the Canadian Rockies. A handful of narrow chutes cut through the cliffs that line the west side.
Routes
  • Castle Mountain West Approach (Crystal/Coral Pass)
  • West Chutes
  • West Central Chute
  • SW Chute
Cement Basin
Routes
3
ATES Level
2
General Aspect
N,NE,E,SE,S
Easy and quick access make Cement Basin one of the most popular tours. Enjoy the good company while sharing the slope.
Routes
  • Wall of Pow
  • Henry's Bowl
  • Walker's Bowl
Crow Basin
Routes
6
ATES Level
2
General Aspect
N,NE,E
Big and Little Crow Basins perch on Odin’s shoulder offering wisdom for the sacrifice made to ride open bowls, long glades and hidden chutes, caw!
Routes
  • Norse Peak Approach
  • Charlotte's Web
  • Little Crow North
  • Big Crow
  • Norse Crow
  • Crow Chutes
Crystal Peak
Routes
1
ATES Level
3
General Aspect
W,NW,N
Home to the iconic Crystal Peak with the legendary Shoe String and G String calling to you from the top of Chair 6.
Routes
  • G-String and Shoe String
Deadwood Lakes Bowl
Routes
3
ATES Level
2
General Aspect
S,SW,W,NW,N
Elusive and remote, Deadwood Bowl seems like a quest for Eldorado with a treasure trove of open terrain waiting to be discovered.
Routes
  • Yakima/Deadwood Approach
  • Deadsheep Bowl
  • Deadpak Face
Farther South
Routes
8
ATES Level
2
General Aspect
W,NW,N
A backcountry zone that tempts all riders in Crystal’s Southback. It sits just over the invisible line of control work under 3 Way Peak.
Routes
  • Bear Gap Summer Trail Approach
  • Boondoggle Face
  • Bear Gap Bowl
  • Super Bowl
  • Dog Leg Chute
  • Henskin Trees
  • Gunbarrel
  • Chicken Head
F*%K'N Fine Forest
Routes
10
ATES Level
2
General Aspect
W,NW,N
A backcountry zone that tempts all riders in Crystal’s Southback. It sits just over the invisible line of control work under 3-Way Peak.
Routes
  • Bear Gap Summer Trail Approach
  • Joe's Badass Shoulder
  • Eagle Bowl (aka Speed Control)
  • Sparkle Party (aka Slippery Slope)
  • Eagle's Notch (aka Speed Bump)
  • Boundary Basin
  • 3 Way Chutes
  • 2 Easy Turns
  • FF Forest
  • Party Knoll Trees
Goat Lake
Routes
6
ATES Level
2
General Aspect
NW,N
Solitude and gratitude lay in the center of this range at Goat Lake. Variety of terrain makes this zone stand out, with trees to steep chutes, the odds are good you will find what you came for.
Routes
  • Goat Lake Approach
  • Norse Peak Approach
  • Goat Trees
  • Little Goat
  • Big Goat Chutes
  • Charlotte's Web
Lake Basin
Routes
5
ATES Level
3
General Aspect
N,NE,E
One of the most diverse zones with long flowing runs and the chuting gallery. A long approach keeps the crowds down giving you more fresh tracks and mind blowing descents.Whether a dawn patrol, evening lap or a way to bigger lines, Bullion Basin is the tour of fame.
Routes
  • Lake Basin Approach
  • Norse Lake
  • Upper Lake Basin Bowl
  • Scout Chutes
  • Saddle Chutes
Morse Creek Crown Point South
Routes
5
ATES Level
2
General Aspect
E,SE,S
Long glades on sunny slopes wait for those willing to put in the effort to top out on Crown or Pickhandle Point.
Routes
  • Crown Point South Face
  • PH Gap East
  • PHP East
  • PHP South
  • Bear Gap East
Northback Gates
Routes
4
ATES Level
2
General Aspect
W,NW,N
Ride the Gondola or Rainier Express and head north along the northbound cat track and pick your gate! Gates E3 through E8 begin next to the trail map behind the Green Valley Chair and continue traversing along the top of Morning Glory Bowl to the boundary. From here, access Brand Y and Valley of the Cliffs by Northway Peak, Morning Glory then along the northern edge of Crystal.
Routes
  • E5-Sand Flats - Goat Chutes
  • E6-Swoop Chutes
  • E7-Valley of the Cliffs
  • E8-Brand Y
Packa + Bowla Bowl
Routes
6
ATES Level
2
General Aspect
W,NW,N
With 5 distinct chutes and small tree runs near the mouth of the zone, this bowl means business.
Routes
  • Packa Bowl Approach
  • Packa Divide
  • Packa East Chutes
  • Packa West Chutes
  • Bowla Bowl
  • Crystal Bowla
Pickhandle Basin
Routes
6
ATES Level
2
General Aspect
W,NW,N,NE,E
Bullion’s little sibling. Quick in and out makes Pickhandle one of the most popular tours. Striking chutes off Bullion Peak to less open terrain makes Pickhandle a chess match of linking glades and open slopes.
Routes
  • AC/DC
  • Guns 'N Roses
  • Blue Bell Bowl
  • Pickhandle Gap
  • Pickhandle Bowl
  • Pickhandle Ridge
Sheep Lake Bowl
Routes
5
ATES Level
2
General Aspect
N,NE,E,SE,S
The Sheep Lake Couloir stands proud above Sheep Lake commanding your attention with its unbroken fall line from the summit to the Lake. Many other fine runs cover the Bowl from Packa Shoulder to 410 Face.
Routes
  • Sheep Lake Bowl
  • Smoka Shoulder
  • Smoka Divide South
  • Sheep Lake Couloir
  • 410 Face
Smoka Bowl
Routes
5
ATES Level
2
General Aspect
S,SW,W
3 Way crowns Smoka Bowl as the entrance to Crystal Lakes.
Routes
  • Beach Front
  • Upper Smoka Bowl
  • Smoka Slim
  • Smoka Jacket
  • Smoka Divide North
Sourdough Bowl
Routes
5
ATES Level
2
General Aspect
N,NE,E
Iconic access to Sheep Lake Bowl and 410.
Routes
  • Boundary Glade
  • Crystal Gap
  • Sourdough Bowl
  • Cupalo Rocks
  • Shane's
Southback Gates
Routes
3
ATES Level
2
General Aspect
NW,N
Open terrain and high elevation snow grant you sublime tours to explore bowls, chutes and trees in a seldom visited part of Mount Rainier National Park.
Routes
  • Beach Front
  • Southback/Lift Approach
  • Little Richard E2
Taco Peak
Routes
2
ATES Level
2
General Aspect
NW,N,NE
Go the distance, reap the rewards! 1,500+’ make this face worthy of passing up Naches or try to combine a run down the North Face and traverse over.
Routes
  • Naches Approach
  • White Stallion aka NW Face
Union Creek + Crown Point
Routes
4
ATES Level
3
General Aspect
N,NE,E
King and queen lines scatter across Crown Point ranging from steep glades to summit chutes.
Routes
  • Union Rules
  • Big Daddy
  • Crown Chutes
  • East Union
Yakima + Naches
Routes
7
ATES Level
3
General Aspect
ALL
When the road melts out Chinook Pass comes alive with the sounds of boards gliding on spring snow.
Routes
  • Yakima/Deadwood Approach
  • Naches Approach
  • Chinook Rising
  • Yakima East Face
  • Naches West Shoulder & Face
  • Naches South Face
  • Naches North Face