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Crystal Mountain News and Notes

Travel Feature

Information provided by Crystal Mountain Ski Resort


Crystal Mountain Ski Resort added 29 new SMI Super Puma snow guns to their arsenal, making for total of 37 guns and a 350 percent increase in snowmaking capabilities. The new guns are fully automated and more effective at higher temperatures than traditional snow guns. It’s one of the most state-of-the-art systems on the West Coast. With the right temperatures, between two to three feet of snow can be made with each gun in a 24-hour period. The coverage area is roughly 30,000 square feet per gun, and ideal snowmaking temps are around 27-30 degrees. The total coverage is 70 acres (roughly 53 football fields) and includes the Discovery Meadow, Quicksilver, Tinkerbell, Broadway and Upper Arwine’s. Piles of snow can be made and pushed using snowcats to fill in other areas. The total investment for this phase is $4.8 million. Phases two and three include extending our snowmaking lines up Queens Run to the top of the Forest Queen Express lift and up Lucky Shot to the summit. This will help improve early season coverage and extend top-to-bottom skiing possibilities in the spring. 

More Gondola Cabins

Gondola capacity has been increased by 21 percent this winter with the addition of five new gondola cabins. The additional cabins brought the total to 28.  Each gondola comes with a $40,000 price tag making these new cabins a $200,000 investment. The gondola is included in all season passes and all-mountain lift tickets (excluding Discovery). Scenic rides are also offered all winter to non-skiers.

Night Skiing

Lights, cameras, more action! This winter the Discovery, Gold Hills and Quicksilver lifts will be staying open later, which means the fun doesn’t have to end at 4 p.m. anymore. New low-energy induction lights were added to Quicksilver to illuminate the slopes. The total cost was a cool $100,000. Night skiing will be included in an all-day ticket on select peak days or you’ll have the option to purchase a night only ticket starting at 3:30 p.m. 

Raising the Bar

Step up to the new 32-foot bar at Campbell Basin Lodge this winter for a cold pint of beer or glass of wine. Choose from a selection of six beers on tap or our house wines. The bar will be walk-up with limited bar seating. We’re also adding a wood stone pizza oven to cook up fresh and delicious gourmet pizzas, which will be available by the slice or whole. Grab-and-go options will also be expanded, and French fries will now be on the menu. 

John Kircher Acquires Crystal Mountain

On March 31, 2017, Crystal Mountain Ski Resort was acquired in its entirety by John Kircher in a transaction between Kircher and Boyne Resorts, Inc. The sale comes 20 years to the day after Boyne purchased Crystal Mountain from a group of 850 shareholders, many of whom were original shareholders when the ski area was founded in 1962.

John Kircher is a second generation ski resort operator who began his 37 years and counting career at Boyne Mountain in Michigan and as General Manager of Big Sky Resort in Montana in 1980. Kircher oversaw the acquisition of Crystal Mountain in 1997 and became President and CEO of Crystal at that time and has been there ever since. 

He was responsible for the Boyne Resorts acquisitions of Brighton, Utah and Cypress Mountain in Vancouver B.C. and oversaw general operations for these ski areas including the operations for the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Winter Games where Cypress was the venue for six events.

“The biggest changes ever to take place in the ski industry have happened. Over a two-day span the first week of March, no less than 28 ski resorts changed ownership, the most interesting being the Aspen/KSL groups’ acquisition of Intrawest Resorts plus their acquiring Mammoth Resorts. The other being the March 31 sale of CNL Resorts, which includes the local ski areas Stevens Pass and Summit at Snoqualmie to a private equity partnership in New York,” Kircher says.

“The fact that Crystal Mountain is now a locally-owned and owner-managed ski operation runs totally counter to the corporatizing trends in the ski business. The number of large resorts that are locally owned and managed can be counted on maybe one hand. It’s a small fraction of the business. Crystal has done very well over time and now we are free to re-invest our dollars with complete concentration here to make Crystal Mountain the best ski and summer resort in the Northwest.” 

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