Crystal Mountain is the largest ski area in Washington and the one with the highest elevation in the state. I grew up skiing here, and it is an awesome mountain with a vertical rise of over 3,000 feet. It has many challenging runs and gets lighter snow than other Washington resorts because Mt. Rainier blocks the wet precipitation. It doesn't get the same hype as resorts in California, Utah, Colorado, Idaho and Wyoming, and maybe that's a good thing.
I just returned from a trip to Crystal Mountain, and we were treated to powder snow, 20-30 degrees F, and blue skies. Doesn't get much better than that!!
One reason why there is no hype about this ski area is it just isn't a resort. There's no village, no designer shops, no wine bars. Just a plain and simple (but large) ski area with a small number of motel-ish inns that were there many eons ago when I was a little girl snowplowing down the Skidroad run. It makes for a good day trip, but quite honestly not for a place where you would stay for a week. If you're in Washington, and want to great skiing - this is the place to go for a day or two.
On weekends, plan to arrive by 9:00 am. When the parking lot fills up, park rangers turn people away at the turnoff. Which means you could spend an hour or so driving to the turnoff only to be told you need to turn around.
Go skiing at Steven's Pass or at the Summit at Snoqualmie.
1. Stevens Pass, Summit Stevens Pass, US Highway 2, Skykomish
2. The Summit at Snoqualmie
1001 SR 906, Snoqualmie Pass
I started skiing when I was 2 years old, I ski raced for SPAC (Stevens Pass Alpine Club) from the age of 10 to 18 so perhaps you can see the love I have for this mountain. I could have spent my entire childhood at any of the mountains around Seattle but I chose Stevens. Why? Well even though its not the biggest mountain its the whole experience, the people, the terrain, the drive, everything.