Crystal Mountain is a ski resort built in the shadow of Mount Rainier in Washington, near Seattle. It is now owned by Alterra so it is part of the IKON pass program. It also has some of the most incredible views in the country with it’s amazing backdrop.
There is a small town called Crystal Mountain, and it has a few lodging and dining options. However it is not a super big town and doesn’t have a ton in the way of options.
Parking + Staying at Crystal Mountain Resort
Overnight Parking – You can park at the mountain but it’s too damn expensive. Like $35 per night for a van. If you have an RV and want hookups, then it makes sense but if you don’t have a huge rig then it’s a waste of money. We actually were able to camp at the base of the mountain in the federal forest lands, and there wasn’t enough snow to prevent driving in with an AWD w/snow tires. If you don’t have that you can park in the Safeway parking lot in Enumclaw even though it explicitly says you cannot. This is a case of asking for forgivness rather than permission. If you have a nervous Nancy partner then you can technically park on the neighborhood streets overnight though most cities technically forbid “camping” which is what sleeping in your car is. Just be inconspicuous and no one will notice.
Bathing – There is an anytime fitness in Enumclaw that would work. We went to a YMCA in Auburn because I have a membership there.
Happy Hours – There are some happy hours downtown at the Rainier Bar and Grill or The Historic Mint but they weren’t great. Naches Tavern outside of Enumclaw is another option, and the resort itself has a few dining options but nothing really in the way of affordable drinks.
Coffee – There is a McDonald’s on the way out of town that gets a little busy in the mornings but has $1 coffee.
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Miscellaneous – Crystal Mountain can get some good dumps but it’s not a super big mountain and you really don’t stay at the mountain that much. It’s fun for a few days though and worth checking out, especially for the views of Mt. Rainer. I always thought it was strange they named a mountain after a cheap beer but I guess it makes sense.
Overall it is a nice resort. If you are more beginner level skier than you proably will end up sticking to the lower bowl, which can get busy in peak season. If you are more into shredding the gnar you can enjoy the upper part of the mountain with relatively small crowds. If you are planning an IKON trip this is definitely worth a stop.
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Van Living Tips
If you are dreaming of fresh pow and the freedom of the road then you might need to buy a van and head to the mountains. We want to be a resource for anyone looking to bum it at ski resorts across North America. Van living tips, destination guides and experienced recommendations. Live the Ski Bum/Van Life