Nobody said much on the gondola ride up. There wasn't much to say; we could see the snow below us. There were no skiers, and there were no tracks. Avie bombs rattled the windows. As we approached the top, everybody adjusted their cuffs, their hoods, their goggles. Dialed. When we stepped out of the box, the snow was still pounding, the wind howling.
When POWDER editors arrived in a Rainier-littered short bus from Seattle last Sunday, Washington's Crystal Mountain was in mid-season form. We came for our annual edit conference to talk about what we've done well and what we can improve upon, and to plan volume 42. But as we trudged through a foot of fresh—the snow still pouring from the night sky—our priorities may have shifted a bit.
On Monday, most of the staff's first day of the year, we skied knee-deep powder under bluebird skies. And conditions only got better. By Friday, most of the staff had left, but a handful of us still lingered to ski the 30-plus new inches of snow that fell throughout the week. One staff member simply chose to miss her flight to capitalize on the snow.
That morning, after we stepped off the gondola, heads down to avoid eye contact with the weather, we skied out to Memorial, off Crystal's Rainier Express. It was just us with a fresh face of waist-deep snow to ski. We submerged one by one. I could see my colleagues in my peripherals, burying themselves in their turns. I was wide-eyed, my hood and patchy facial hair full of snow. Each time I stopped, all I could manage was a breathless, "holy f*ck."
Lift Ticket: $74
Annual Snowfall: 486 inches
How to get there: Greg's short bus (Seattle Ski Shuttle). Also, check out his ski shop, Mountain Sound Outfitters
Where to stay: Silver Skis Chalets
Where to eat: The Bullwheel
Where to drink: The Snorting Elk