25 Top Spots: # 25 Crystal, WA

25 Top Spots: #25 Crystal, WA

Crystal's base lacks a village, the snow lacks loft, and the après lacks a scene, which means this Cascade resort cracked the Top 25 because of sheer size and terrain. With eight bowls, jagged steeps, and treed gullies spread over seven peaks, the trail map glitters with black diamonds. The inbounds is bookended by a thousand acres of backcountry: North Back and South Back.

The Vitals

Top elevation: 7,200 feet
Vertical drop: 3,100 feet
Snowfall: 376 inches (6,100')
Skiable Acres: 2,750
Phone: 360-663-2265
Web: skicrystal.com

Hop off the High Campbell chair straight into wide-open Powder Bowl and then drop skier's right into Bear Pits. Or hike the Ho Chi Minh trail into the OB South Back to Brain Damage, one of Silver King's chute-to-basin-to-glade lines.

"Powder" means something different in the Northwest. With a high water content, the snow comes in sheets, sticks like mortar, and makes you work-and locals are just fine with that.

Ski from the bottom of Exterminator to the doors of the Snorting Elk Cellar, a rathskeller below the Alpine Inn, and grab a stein. It's the best-if not only-nightspot.