Crystal

Two and a half hours from Seattle, Crystal Mountain is 2,600 acres of pure possibility. With a base at 4,400 feet, the area’s snow falls lighter and drier than anywhere west of the Cascadian crest, making its 462 annual inches a whole lot more fun to play with than some of its stickier Cascadian compadres.

While some Washingtonians grovel that the area’s eight-person gondola and pair of six-pack chairs are signs of Crystal’s corporate motives, skiers will be hard pressed to find Colorado lift lines—even on a pow day. In fact, as a drive up evergreen 410 to the area’s yet unpaved parking lots can attest, Crystal still bleeds Northwest. Lacking a true destination hotel or fancy base services beyond basic dining and rentals (per the U.S. Forest Service’s strict regulations on ski areas throughout the region), Crystal’s RV Lot is a powder hound Petri dish, a collection of PNW eclecticism, and ripping skiers that gave birth to many a local legend, including Ingrid Backstrom. Read more here. —Kade Krichko

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