Tag Archives: Employee Housing

Skiing With Your Idol


Evelyn in the lead

On Sunday, my step-daughter Evelyn and I had chance to ski with Ingrid Backstrom and her mom Betsy. Our two mother-daughter teams met up in the line at Rex and the Backstrom ladies were kind enough to let us tag along. The four of us headed to Employee Housing, where the still-soft snow was just beginning to get tracked out.

I love that Evelyn looks up to Ingrid as a role model. I couldn’t have chosen a better one myself. Not only does Ingrid rip on the slopes, she’s also one of the nicest people I know. She gets it from her mom, Betsy–both the skiing skills and the inherent kindness. Even though Ingrid was just named Powder’s Best Female Skier, you would never know it by meeting her. She’s humble and she rips. If there are two qualities I aspire to (and would love my daughter to aim for as well) it is humility and skiing skills.

Evelyn and Ingrid on Employee Housing

Ingrid even gave Evelyn a few skiing pointers. She reminded her to point her body and shoulders down the hill and let her legs do all the work. There’s nothing like a tip from a pro skier to help a free-spirited tween improve her skills.

Employee Housing is the longest run at Crystal, and by the time we arrived at the 1-5 return trail, Evelyn was pretty tired. But Ingrid waited for us on the trail, stopping every so often to make sure the hoard of skiers didn’t run Evelyn over. This is on a trail where eye-circling powder hounds rush by for their next lap, poling like mad. Ingrid even complimented Ev on her poling skills, telling her she must have strong arms. I could see Evelyn growing a few inches taller with pride.

Thanks Ingrid and Betsy for taking a slow one with us. Evelyn was beaming all day. It’s not everyday that a girl gets to ski a run with her idol.

A whole new world: A ski run is born


Today I surveyed the avalanche damage near our house at Crystal Mountain. The

View from the house with the edge of the debris in the background.

debris is visible from the back window (that is, if the windows weren’t completely encased in snow from our deep snowpack). So I took a picture from the side deck. The debris is just visible in the far end of the photo. Looking

Looking back at the house from the debris

back at the house from the edge of the debris also gives a sense of just how close this was.


The slide started in Employee Housing and ripped through the gladed terrain just to the right of Niagra’s. Those who’ve skied the glades marked “E” in the Left Angle trees might remember seeing very big timber, up to three feet in diameter.

The run formerly known as Employee Housing

Now those trees are strewn across the slope, sometimes

under piles of debris, other times visible on the surface. This photo shows the full path, which is a few thousand feet of vertical from top to bottom. This new slide path was never really skiable until we limbed the trees a few years back. A small sliver (called Pencil Dick Gap) was the only slot through.

Now, as Gregg Ross would say, “it’s a whole new world.”

As I scouted the debris, I noticed that the left flank extends nearly to Lower Spook

The two trees still standing used to be the edge of the small opening behind the house. Now the swatch has tripled in size.

Hill–the run below Scree Field that takes you to Parking Lot E. So next year, once the downed trees are chainsawed, you won’t necessarily have to ski to my house. You can also hook up with Lower Spook and exit the traditional way. Not that I’m saying you all shouldn’t swing by after a run. Although, sadly the hot tub died last year, and we didn’t replace it. Perhaps that had something to do will that last time we found a pair of errant long underwear frozen to the deck beside the open lid. Could someone have poached our hot tub? Things like that never happen at a ski area, do they?

In addition to the lack of a poachable hot tub, another reason to avoid the house route might also be the ending. It gets a little tight in the driveway, and the transition from slope to dirt across a bank of plowed snow can be a bit of a doozy. But forewarned is forearmed. So next season, I might just see you all on the runout of my now ski-in ski-out housing.

Another View of the Big Slide


Niagras slide taken by Paul Noges from the lodges

Here’s another view of the Niagras and Employee Housing Slide. This is an entirely new slide path. The area in the photo used to be heavy timber. In the upper portion of the photo, this was previously part of the new tree limbing. These trees were tagged with E for Employee Housing. Looks like some good new skiing all the way to my house once we get those trees out of there this summer. John is already revamping the summer cutting work. I have a feeling we will be hearing chainsaws buzzing all summer long in preparation for making these new areas skiable next year.

No matter how long I’ve been there, Crystal never stops surprising me.