Buy-outs and make-overs lead the news for Washington ski areas.
Boyne USA bought Crystal Mountain, which joins Big Sky, Montana, Brighton, Utah, and Boyne Highlands and Boyne Mountain, Michigan, to the Boyne family.
There’s a changing of the guard at Mount Spokane (see related story).
New lifts and fresh paint adorn other areas which together see some 2 million skier visits a year in the Evergreen State.
With the 14,411-foot Mount Rainier in the background, Crystal Mountain has one of the best views in the West. Crystal is popular with the deep-snow lovers who snowboard and ski the varying natural terrain of Crystal.
Crystal joined forces with Boyne USA, which assumed the assets and liabilities - $5 million in debts - of Crystal. Boyne USA promises to invest $15 million over the next 10 years, $8 million of that to be spent in the first five years on capital improvements.
Upgrades for the 1997/98 ski season include the installation of the Northwest’s first six-passenger high-speed chairlift. Other improvements include the recontouring of several runs, the expansion of the rental shop, an improved daycare facility and a general facelift of the base area.
Information: Off Highway 410, 76 miles east of Seattle. Tickets: adult $35; teens (11-17) $30; children 10 and under free with adult who purchases ticket; seniors 70+ free. Crystal Mountain offers discount lift tickets in coupon books available by mail order only - 5 for $150 or 10 for $300 by mail order only. Daycare: call for information and reservations. Lessons: group lesson $25; private $50 an hour (last year’s rates). Nordic: none. Phone: (360) 663-2265. Reservations: condos (360) 663-2558; hotels (888) SKI-6400. Snowphone: (888) SKI-6199. E-mail: email@example.com; Web site crystalmt.com
The Summit at Snoqualmie
The Snoqualmie Pass Ski Areas were purchased by Booth Creek Ski Holdings Inc., the fourth largest ski resort operator in the country. New owners plan to transform Alpental, Ski Acres, Snoqualmie and Hyak into a unified, state-of-the-art winter recreation area.
The first change implemented was a new name: The Summit at Snoqualmie. Different base facilities become Alpental at The Summit, The Summit West (Snoqualmie), The Summit Central (Ski Acres), and The Summit East (Hyak).
With an average snowfall of 350 inches, skiers find a wide variety of terrain, conditions and night skiing. One lift ticket covers all four areas - that’s 1,916 total skiable acres, and includes the 900 acres lit for night skiing. Yet to come will be $30 million in improvements, including 4 high-speed detachables and connector trails between base areas.
Information: Snoqualmie Pass on Interstate 90 is 47 miles east of Seattle. Tickets: adult (12 to 64) $32; youth (7-11) $22; 6 and under $8; seniors (65+) $15; midweek discounts available. Daycare: Slide City available for 4- to 11-year olds, $30 half day, $50 full; reservations (206) 236-7277, ext 3242. Lessons: group $25; private $45. Nordic: 55k groomed trail for $8 adults, $7 kids, and 5 and under free. Tickets good for both upper and lower trail systems. Phone: (206) 236-PASS. Reservations: (800) 557-STAY. Snowphone:(206) 236-1600. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Web site email@example.com
An astonishing 590 inches of snow falls on Mount Baker annually, which makes for a long ski season and great skiing. With eight lifts and two rope tows, Mount Baker skiers find scads of trails in bowls, in trees and in the open.
Although no lodging is available at the ski area, overnight camper parking is available for self-contained vehicles. Lodging is available 17 miles down the mountain.
New at Baker this year is the Performance Rental Test Center, where skiers and boarders can test gear. Additionally, all 5th grader school kids ski for free, all year long. They must enroll in the Happy Trails to the Next Generation program (no fee, but must be accompanied by adult).
Information: On the Mount Baker Highway (U.S. 542) 56 miles east of Bellingham. Tickets: adult $29.50; youth 7-15 and senior 60-69, $22; “super senior” (70+) $5; 6 and under free; midweek discounts available. Daycare: children must at least 2 years old and potty trained (call for rates). Lessons: group $18; private $50 for 1 hours. Nordic: 4k at Heather Meadows, donation. Phone: (360) 734-6771. Reservations: (360) 734-6771. Snowphone: (360) 671-0211 or (206) 634-0200. Internet: mtbakerskiarea.com
Celebrating 60 years of skiing, Stevens Pass opens this winter with a long-established heritage of good prices, abundant and frequent snow and the only high-speed quad in the state open for night skiing.
The snowboard park at Stevens Pass is a big draw, especially the half-pipe where boarders catch air. The terrain at Stevens Pass is mostly intermediate slope, although 35 percent of the slopes are designated advanced skiing.
Lodging facilities are located in Leavenworth and Skykomish. Lighted skiing every night.
Information: On U.S. 2, 37 miles west of Leavenworth. Tickets: adult $35 (9 a.m.-10 p.m.); child (7-12) $24; children 6 and under $5; seniors (62-69) $26, 70+ $5. Daycare: children must be out of diapers. Lessons: Stevens has 26 different ski schools with a variety of options. Call for a brochure (206) 812-4510. Nordic: The 25k track is groomed Friday through Sunday and holidays. Trail fee is $7.50 for adults, $6.50 junior and senior. The Nordic center is 5 miles east of Stevens Pass on U.S. 2. Phone: (206) 812-4510. Reservations: (206) 812-4510. Snowphone: (206) 634-1645. Web site: stevenspass.com
On the east slope of the North Cascades is the light and dry powder of Mission Ridge Ski Area. Of the over 2,000 skiable acres, 60 percent is for intermediates who vary between snowboarders, skiers and telemarkers.
Some days it seems that skiers at Mission Ridge have the runs entirely to themselves. It’s quiet and quaint, and that allows for lots of personal attention from the ski school, the lift attendants and the snack bar.
Improvements at the Ridge include trail work over the summer. Most of the trail work occurred on the upper mountain terrain serviced by Chair No. 2, where trail crews cleared debris or widened areas on Bomber Bowl, Hidden Valley and Ka-Wham ski trail. Crews also worked on the Tumwater ski trail and a new beginning to the Sunspot trail into the upper basin from the top of Chair No. 2. The intermediate run Tumwater has been widened, as has Tumwater Face as it drops out of the upper basin.
Information: 13 miles from Wenatchee, 165 miles from Spokane. Tickets: adult $32; senior 65+/junior (7-15) $17; young adult (16-20) $26; midweek discounts available. Daycare: 3 months to 6 years, $35 all day; $20 half day. Lessons: group $35; private $45. Nordic: none. Phone: (509) 663-6543. Reservations: (509) 663-6543 for referrals. Snowphone: (800) 374-1693. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com; Web site missionridge.com
Fresh snow and blue sky are abundant at this Cascade Mountain paradise. With the 300 inches annual snowfall and 1,500 vertical feet, White Pass is known for great skiing during the days and at night until 10 p.m.
This is an east-slope mountain that features the highest base area on the Cascade Crest. Although it’s not the closest to the large metro areas, White Pass attracts those skiers looking for less-crowded slopes and a relaxed atmosphere.
Information: 52 miles west of Yakima on U.S. 12. Tickets: adults $31; junior/senior 6-12 $21; under 5 free. Day care: ages 2-6 (call (509) 672-3106 for reservations and pricing). Lessons: group $19; private $38 an hour. Nordic: 18k groomed trails for $7. Phone: (509) 672-3100. Reservations: (509) 672-3131 for slopeside accommodations. Snowphone: (509) 672-3100. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Web site skiwhitepass.com
Tucked away in southeast Washington near Dayton, Ski Bluewood is locally known for great tree skiing and light snow. The Terrain Garden for snowboarders and half pipe attracts skiers, snowboarders and spectators.
Ski Bluewood averages over 300 inches snowfall each year. It has the second highest base elevation in Washington, so it tends to receive cold, dry snow. Border-Cross Race is Dec. 7. A ski race in Sumo-suits is scheduled for Feb. 28, Mar. 1, Mar. 7 and finals Mar. 8.
Information: 22 miles southeast of Dayton. Tickets: adult $26; child (grades 1-8)/senior (65+) $20; high school and college students $22; preschoolers ski free. Day care: none. Lessons: group $17; private $34. Free beginner lessons for first timers. Nordic: available on the snowmobile trails in Umatilla National Forest. Phone: (509) 382-4725. Reservations: (509) 382-4725. Snowphone: (509) 382-2877. E-mail: email@example.com.
MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: GOOD DEALS IN WASHINGTON: Most Washington state ski areas offer great deals on midweek lift tickets. At Crystal Mountain, children 10 and under ski free if accompanied by an adult who purchases ticket. Mission Ridge’s RidgeBear Ski Weeks allow kids 12 and under to ski free when accompanied by their Teddy Bear or other stuffed animal and an adult who purchases a two-or three-day midweek lift ticket. Dates are Monday-Friday Jan. 5-9, Feb. 9-13, and Mar. 9-13. At Mount Baker, all 5th graders ski for free all season long. They must enroll in the Happy Trails to the Next Generation program, at no cost but must be accompanying an adult. At Bluewood, for $37, skiers can get lifts, lodging and continental breakfast in nearby Dayton, per adult. Students and kids pay less. Two-for-Tuesdays at Bluewood gets skiers two lift tickets for $25 (except Dec. 24 and 31). The “Washington Winter Magazine” is a free publication by Sports Media that gives information on all the state’s alpine and Nordic ski areas. Call (206) 522-4283 for a copy. At Stevens Pass, night skiing Sunday through Thursday is only $12 except during holiday periods. On Mondays and Tuesdays, tickets are $18 to ski from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. The Pass at Snoqualmie offers a great midweek ticket price of $20 per day.