Classic Footage: Crystal Mountain and You


When you say you’ve been skiing Crystal, since “back in the day,” you probably consider yourself a local. But no one goes back further than Charles and Marion Hessey. If you ever wondered what Crystal looked like before the ski area was built, here’s your chance. The Hessey’s made many films, including this one of Crystal Mountain before the ski area was built, titled “Crystal Mountain and You.” While the film is silent, a complete script of the film can be found at the Mountaineers Archives, and I’ve included it below. Thanks to Lowell Skoog for the contributions.

Script – “Crystal Mountain and You”

Now that the development of Crystal Mountain and the Silver Creek basin as a ski area is assured, you, as a resident of Washington, or you, simply as a skier, will want to know what this means for you.

Ultimately, it will mean a comprehensive ski development second to none in this country. Proximity to large population centers assures that it will be a financial success. Smaller communities, such as Enumclaw, will have to grow accustomed to winter traffic approaching the summer parade of cars.

You drive to the area by way of the White River valley to Silver Creek. Where these signs point to a primitive mountain road there soon will be an all-weather highway to speed the skier, or sightseer, safely to the lodge area. You might see mountain goats along the way, for this is just east of the National Park boundary, and the Park is a wonderful reservoir of wildlife which spills its increase to lands outside the Park. The view becomes interesting indeed as the high country spreads before you, and you find yourself translating what you see into downhill runs.

But first, in the center of this picture there will be parking for hundreds of cars, and complete resort facilities. In a few short years it will seem incredible that this picture could ever have been taken, for below you will find a small community with magnificent ski runs ending at its doorstep.

Every public facility is dependent upon water, and a good supply of pure mountain water is assured the Crystal development by streams which maintain a good flow even during cold weather.

If you ski, you are impatient to learn what the Crystal development has in store for you. In the Bear Gap area will be the Black Rock chairlift, serving north slopes. We have been climbing these heights for the skiing they offer for years, which is a recommendation in itself. You will find the attainment swifter and simpler and you will love the runs.

On Crystal Mountain, Powder Pass offers a variety of terrain and exposure, but east and northeast slopes predominate. This basin, as well as the one to the south, has remarkable protection from wind and can offer uniform powder when other areas are wind-crusted. These scenes depict only a fraction of the terrain below Powder Pass, which is remarkable for its variety.

Adjacent to Powder Pass on the north is Round Mountain, which offers a combination of elevation and exposure that will ensure excellent snow conditions most of the time. The summit provides one of the finest mountain panoramas in America. Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Rainier, far to the north is Mt. Baker…the granite face of Mt. Stuart…the distant Olympics…Glacier Peak…all these and many more circle your horizon from Round Mountain.

Skiing in the upper bowl is what skiing should always be. You will use the lifts serving this area often.

South of Round Mountain is the highest point on the ridge. In April the daily snowstorm will have left an inch or two of new snow below timberline, and the amazing wind-protection properties of this area will keep it for you, for that first effortless satin-smooth run of the day. You will want to keep your eyes open for a glimpse of mountain goats which we have often seen just over the ridge. The runs are through little aisles in the trees. It’s a perfect place for relaxed “fun” skiing, and you will make it perhaps the most popular area in the development as soon as those Poma lifts are installed.

Across the valley from Crystal Mountain is the main Cascade Divide. Crown Point and East Peak are each to have a chair. The immense slopes below East Peak, seen by the light of a full moon made us want to rename the mountain Platinum. These peaks also offer superb scenery. Mt. Adams and the Goat Rocks immediately catch your eye. Here on Crown Point we enjoyed powder snow in early May. East Peak lay just beyond our reach, but the run back to our cabin was on slopes of similar exposure and the snow was perfect corn. East Peak will be famous for its spring snow skiing.

Today it is wilderness skiing; tomorrow it will be one of the most completely developed areas in America. Yet there will always be skiing here for every taste. Ski touring terrain abounds. There will be racing for those who enjoy that side of skiing. The deep powder skiers will have many basins to pack out. And there will be lifts to serve you, wherever you might wish to ski in this beautiful alpine valley. You will try them all, and having tried them, you will return to ski again at Crystal Mountain.

See you at Crystal!

6 responses »

  1. Kim:,contact Rick Reininger 1 206 402 7650, The whole family goes back a long way they live at CRYSTAL and see DR. ROMONO ;alex zaffee 1 360 829 1610 cell 1 253 905 8973

  2. Fred Rininger gave me very comprihensive CD of al the mountain Runs, with music and captions.. I thank him again !!!;,Alex 1 253 905 8973 cell and lnd line 1 360 829 1610

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