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Crystal Mountain and The King

The great thing about snowboarding is that every single run is its own adventure, right? Whether you’re lapping the chairlift or conquering a few hikes out of bounds, every time you drop in there’s a new mission at hand: Find the line. Find the pow stashes that will deliver the most feathery face shots. Find the approaches that drop quickly, swoop, dip, roll and fall away again into ripping straight-lines back to the cat track. Find the chute that channels into trees that wade up to their waists in a deep powdery sea. You can ride the same chairs, hike the same hikes and drop into the same zones over and over and the adventure is always a new one—the mission always refreshed.

Not that we did that last weekend–rode the same zones over and over. No, we rode all over that mountain: Crystal Mountain. We revisited a few spots, sure, but more, we found new adventures in every nook and cranny, pow field and chute we could ferret out. I spent the day led around by my friend Justus, who works at Crystal, and Jake, who’s a snowboarding beast unto his own.

Mid-day we hiked The King, the pinnacle of the resort—that peak that you see there—which is reached by hiking the Throne, that spine. It’s a nice jaunt; some traversing, some boot-packing. But the rewards begin at the start: Mt Rainier National Park off to your right, the whole of Crystal Mountain Resort and the valley to your left; mountain ridges upon mountain ridges to beckoning before you. That’s when you get that feeling: There is only so much time, only so many weekends in which to explore. So you return to the mission at hand. The sun-breaks illuminate the journey.

Justus, Jake and their buddies have hiked this route many times before, but I made them take the summit picture because it was my first time, and well, you have to have the summit proof. And you have to pause up there for a bit if it is your first time, because the views are incredible and because on a good day, the run down is something to savor: light, deep and long-lasting. Our boards never touched the earth’s surface from peak to spit-out point.

We were surfing the mountain side forever, then ducking into the trees, until we shot out into the flat and pushed back along the cat track far, far below the summit and a million miles from reality, though we were in it and ready for a new adventure—ready to calculate a new mission.

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25 Comments Post a comment
  1. Wow! Looks like an amazing place. 🙂

    April 19, 2012
  2. That is so awesome! I am an avid Colorado skier who tried snowboarding a couple of years ago, but got my bell rung. There are two weekends left at Breckenridge, so maybe I will give it a try again!
    Congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

    April 19, 2012
  3. Outstanding beauty!

    April 19, 2012
  4. Amazing pics! Looks like great fun.

    April 19, 2012
  5. Looks cold. And fun. But did I mention: cold?

    😉

    Gorgeous pix…

    April 19, 2012
  6. once, long ago when i was fit and young…..i felt that the sky was no reach for me. i am now 77, diseased w/copd and tremendously envious of all of you. GOD love you and bless you.

    April 19, 2012
  7. No obligatory shot of Rainier? Hiding as usual I suppose. Nice pics. Congrats on FP and BTW, I like that winter shot of Shuksan on your header. Were you boarding at Baker for that?

    April 19, 2012
  8. That last picture is gorgeous! And I love the one with the snow and mountains reflected in the goggles. Nice post!

    April 19, 2012
  9. I really like your blog. I was wondering if you could check mine out. Come and see an 11 year old’s view on all things baseball. Please feel free to offer any advice.
    -David
    http://bleacherboy.wordpress.com/

    April 19, 2012
  10. That is just awesome 🙂

    April 19, 2012
  11. Beautiful! Such lovely part of the country…!

    April 19, 2012
  12. Killer Shots. I want to be up getting these 🙂 I just want to say congrats for being freshly pressed today. This was my first time in that club and want to shout out to all of you who share this great day with me.

    April 19, 2012
  13. As a early teen, I went on a field trip to Crystal Mountain with other kids. I wore sandals. Getting to up to where we wanted to be was easy. But the plan was to hike back down.I didn’t know that. My sandals broke hiking down the mountain and I was barefoot with cut and bleeding feet once I finished. Thanks for bringing back the memories. Beautiful photos. Connie
    http://7thandvine.wordpress.com/

    April 19, 2012
  14. EzraWontShutUp #

    Wow. That view is breathtaking. I summitted Gannet Peak in Wyoming this past summer. It was my first time doing anything like that, and I’ll never forget what it feels like to look out over the snowy expanse. Love the way this is written. I was enthralled, and I don’t even snowboard. Keep up the good work & congrats on being freshly pressed!

    April 19, 2012
  15. I want to hike to that same peak, only in summertime, in shorts and a tee. Nice photos of scenes rarely seen by old guys like me.

    April 19, 2012
  16. Adrienne #

    Thanks for all the thoughts and memories everyone! It’s thrilling to share the excitement the mountains bring to everyone! Cheers!
    -Adrienne

    April 19, 2012
  17. lijiujiu #

    Amazing. I like snow, I like winter. Thanks for sharing.

    April 20, 2012
  18. Roopaushree #

    Stunning.

    April 20, 2012
  19. Wonderful photos. I can almost feel the cold! Congrats on being Freshly Pressed.

    April 20, 2012
  20. I love the place like this a lot. Thank you for sharing beautiful photos and story to us.

    April 20, 2012
  21. Awesome pics! Full of revitalising fresh air! Thanks for sharing.

    April 20, 2012
  22. Great post – wonderfully written and the photos are amazing! The scenery looks incredible and really breathtaking. Thanks for sharing and congrats on being freshly pressed!

    April 20, 2012
  23. so beautiful. Must be freezing though

    April 20, 2012
  24. Good stuff!

    April 20, 2012
  25. Oh man, I miss boarding!

    April 20, 2012

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