Crystal Underground

Luxury accommodations at Crystal, Washington, always meant a Winnebago in the parking lot, and an après beer required a sketchy hike up a slippery slope. Thankfully for purists, not much has changed. A new master plan is in the works, though-go now and see what a ski area built by skiers for skiers looks like before it's gone.

The Joe
Get your jolt at Market Espresso, a little window in the wall across from the ticket office at the base. (360-263-2265)

Tramp down the back stairs of the base lodge into the Snorting Elk Cellar. The gingerbread wainscoting and a hand-painted mural of Kitzbühel will make you long for a hefeweizen, but try a pint of locally brewed Rogue Brutal Bitter instead. If the bitter is too brutal, a 20-ounce Kokanee draft should do. Use it to chase a giant shot from a glass glued onto a K2 AK Launcher. (360-663-2262)

Just the Calories: Create your own omelette from 7,600 combinations of ingredients at Buzzy's Greenwater Café. You won't need a maà®tre d' to seat you at one of the four picnic tables. And don't bother asking them to hurry it up; you'll get your food when it's done. (In Greenwater, 360-663-2421)
Put Some Sauce on That: Given the Hansel and Gretl atmosphere at the Bavaria, the Wiener schnitzel is the obvious entrée choice. Can't handle the Germanic calorie load? Try the cedar plank-roasted salmon. (At the base, 888-754-6400)
Bust Out The Plastic: A logging camp turned bistro, the Greenwater Lodge and Coffee Shop features "Cascade cuisine," such as smoked trout and wild game, and only serves Washington wines in the $15 to $35 range. (In Greenwater, 360-663-0290)

Up All Night
Suds: Raise an icy Rainier to the gabled ceiling of the slopeside Bullwheel Bar. The place rings with boisterous babble at the end of every Crystal ski day. (At the base, 360-663-3094)
Live Music & Dance: Bust out a guitar and dance in the muddy parking lot as you tailgate; otherwise, you're out of luck.

Hitchhiker: The Alpine Inn sits amid massive pines and hasn't changed much in 50 years. The rooms are small and don't have phones or televisions, but there are board games in the common area. A mere $118 gets you a room, lift ticket, breakfast, and dinner (midweek). (At the base, 888-754-6400)
Workin' Stiff: The Quicksilver Lodge does have a television and phone in every room, whichis why they call it a "contemporary lodge." ($115-$170, at the base, 888-754-6400)
Bank Robber: How big is your RV?

For the Boys Back Home
Pick up a made-to-order fleece hat at Wapiti Woolies. (In Greenwater, 360-663-2268)

The Must Stop
A sign over the door at Naches reads No Calks Allowed. Polite inquiry reveals that calks are spiked boots used by loggers, but a glance at the pockmarked floor lets you know that Naches is not big on rules. Roast hot dogs over the fire and don't order anything fancier than a Miller draft unless you want to suffer the stink eye. (In Greenwater, 360-663-2267)


25 Top Spots: #25 Crystal, WA

Crystal Mountain

There’s no park scene at Crystal, so go for the backcountry access, limitless terrain, and the views of Mount Ranier, which most of the time you’ll have all to yourself.