Crystal opens for the season under sunny skies

By midday Monday, more than 500 skiers and snowboarders carved their first tracks of the season under a sunny sky at Crystal Mountain ski area.

With about 2 feet of snow at higher elevations, the resort opened at 10 a.m.

“We had a good line of a couple hundred people waiting this morning for the gondola to start running,” said Tiana Anderson, marketing director. “It’s been a great opening day, given it’s a Monday with limited operations.”

Only the Mount Rainier Gondola and Green Valley chair were operating, giving snow riders access to intermediate and advanced terrain. People had to take the gondola back down because there is not enough snow to ski all the way to the base, Anderson said.

Lift tickets are $30 for people 7 and older, and $5 for children 6 and younger.

The two lifts will run from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. until further notice. Anderson said the area will be open daily, as long as the weather cooperates.

Looking at the forecast, another weather system is expected on Thursday, bringing more precipitation to the area. The question, Anderson said, will it bring rain or more snow to the ski area. A foot of new snow on Friday helped the area proceed with Monday’s opener.

“We’re taking things day by day. It will depend on the weather. But right now, we’re taking advantage of it while we can,” she said.

The area opened daily operations on Dec. 2 last year, after opening for a couple of weekends in November.

At White Pass ski area, crews were making snow, but managers were waiting for more natural snow before announcing an opening date.