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BigBrunyon
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PostThu Dec 10, 2020 5:46 pm 
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This year there needs to be an unspoken agreement amongst those in the know to ONLY drive alone in LARGE cars to stevens pass. Filling up that parking situation with very few actual snow users is the only way that we will be able to rise to power this winter!

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altasnob
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PostThu Dec 10, 2020 6:07 pm 
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Crystal's current Special Use Permit expires in 2032.

I do not dispute the Special Use Permit gives ski areas the ability to regulate uphill travel. For Crystal, what concerns me is that their Special Use Permit area is essentially the entire U shaped valley. In other words, if Crystal wanted to, they could possibly prevent uphill travel not only around chair lifts and marked runs, but areas that are currently considered out of bounds. Crystal has started to do guided snowshoe hikes to Bullion Basin (inside Crystal's permit area), hiking up narrow trails as skiers are coming down. What happens when Crystal decides the backcountry skiers and non-paying snowshoers are cutting into their snowshoe profits and cuts off uphill travel (unless you hire a Crystal guide).

I hope when the permits are next negotiated, the Forest Service recognizes the rise of non-lift served users and makes it a condition of of the permit to make reasonable accommodations for uphill travel (outside of ski area boundaries) and parking for non paying customers (who are recreating outside of ski area boundaries). This hasn't been much of a problem in Washington, to date, because there still is not that many winter users. But we will see more and more conflicts down the road.

Here is Crystal's permit area. There are two new chairlifts approved by the Forest Service, one from B lot to Kelly's Gap, one towards Bullion Basin, like the chairlift that existed there previously. The B lot to Kelly's Gap lift makes sense as it gets people to Green Valley in times of high wind when the gondola and REX can't run, but if the Bullion Basin lift is ever built you can pretty much kiss any uphill travel anywhere near Crystal good bye:

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Randito
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PostThu Dec 10, 2020 6:18 pm 
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FWIW: In the '80s Kittitas County attempted to levy its admissions tax on lift tickets sold at Hyak, Ski Acres and Snoqualmie Summit (now known as Summits East, Central and West) the ski areas successfully exempted themselves from the tax by asserting the the lift ticket fee was solely for the privilege of riding the lifts and not for admission to the ski area.

Alpental lies in King county, so this doesn't apply there.
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jinx'sboy
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PostThu Dec 10, 2020 6:29 pm 
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altasnob wrote:
Crystal's current Special Use Permit expires in 2032[/url].

Wow - that’s a blast from the past!  Cant believe this ‘lease-hold excise tax’ issue was still kicking around in 2013.  I recall getting in the middle of those discussions with Dept of Revenue and the ski area on FS lands as early as the mid-1980’s!   I never heard much after that - I thought it was resolved.
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treeswarper
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PostThu Dec 10, 2020 7:13 pm 
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There's always...White Pass.

I don't think skiing would be very enjoyable this year.  I like going inside and having a beverage and warming up.  A friend of mine who gets cold quickly, but loves to go ski and is a very good skier is driving an hour, going skiing for a couple of hours, then gets too cold and drives back home with heat on high and heated seats heating. 

White Pass is selling food, but I've been told there is no eating indoors.  I do not know how they are handling the restrooms.  Pee in the parking lot???

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graffiti
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PostThu Dec 10, 2020 7:41 pm 
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treeswarper wrote:
White Pass is selling food, but I've been told there is no eating indoors. I do not know how they are handling the restrooms.  Pee in the parking lot???

Food is served inside but you need to take it outside to eat. All the restrooms are open as normal. There's just a certain way you have to come and go from the building. But people are of course still peeing in the parking lot but out of choice rather than necessity.   smile.gif

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Randito
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PostThu Dec 10, 2020 11:10 pm 
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Base snow depth at White Pass is currently 14 inches.   Might want to wait for more snow.
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treeswarper
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PostFri Dec 11, 2020 4:30 am 
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Randito wrote:
Base snow depth at White Pass is currently 14 inches.   Might want to wait for more snow.

Uh, it's too far for me.  My friends have been skiing there for a couple of weeks now.   Not sure if all of the "new" part is open.   

It helps to know the hill.

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seahuskies
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PostFri Dec 11, 2020 11:06 am 
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Another article today posted about snowshoe routes

https://www.seattletimes.com/life/outdoors/10-washington-snowshoeing-routes-to-help-you-get-out-and-spread-out-this-winter/
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jackchinook
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PostFri Dec 11, 2020 11:24 am 
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seahuskies wrote:
Another article today posted....

And, unfortunately, not even a hint of skin-track etiquette mentioned for the hordes of new snowshowers...opportunity missed.
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kiliki
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PostFri Dec 11, 2020 12:01 pm 
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Quote:
There are two new chairlifts approved by the Forest Service, one from B lot to Kelly's Gap, one towards Bullion Basin, like the chairlift that existed there previously. The B lot to Kelly's Gap lift makes sense as it gets people to Green Valley in times of high wind when the gondola and REX can't run, but if the Bullion Basin lift is ever built you can pretty much kiss any uphill travel anywhere near Crystal good bye:

That plan is from 2004, right? 2 (at least) owners ago? I wonder what the status of this is.
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kiliki
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PostFri Dec 11, 2020 12:10 pm 
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treeswarper wrote:
I don't think skiing would be very enjoyable this year.  I like going inside and having a beverage and warming up.  A friend of mine who gets cold quickly, but loves to go ski and is a very good skier is driving an hour, going skiing for a couple of hours, then gets too cold and drives back home with heat on high and heated seats heating. 

I have one whole ski day so far, but I had a BLAST. I was in a great mood for days after. Conditions were fabulous. Now, it was a beautiful sunny day, and as I ate my sandwich, sitting in the area where Crystal dragged out their restaurant tables/chairs and put them in the snow, there was a gust of wind that blew snow over my sandwich and made me realize that things will be different on snowy days. A lot of people are tailgating for lunch. I brought a small pack and just hung it on the hooks near the bottom of Chinook Express, as others did. Next time its a sunny day I think I will also bring my little square Z-rest to sit on, in case all tables are full.

Restrooms are open. I personally don't think going inside, masked, for a few minutes is a big deal. They actually had someone stationed in the lobby outside the restrooms to make sure people weren't congregating. All in all I think Crystal is doing a great job. I thought it might be more hassle than it was worth, but it was not at all.

I have a reservation this week and it's supposed to snow. I'll probably just bring a pocket sandwich to eat on the lift, ski the whole time, then have food waiting in the car.
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Randito
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PostFri Dec 11, 2020 12:31 pm 
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altasnob wrote:
but if the Bullion Basin lift is ever built you can pretty much kiss any uphill travel anywhere near Crystal good bye:

How ya figure?   I've skinned up Quicksilver twice so far this season and four times last year.   If anything a replacement Bullion basin lift along the old alignment will improve access -- as they will trimmed the brush that has been growing since the runs were cut in the '80s. 

Anyway,  I'm doubtful that a Bullion Basin lift replacement will be built anytime soon -- coverage in the "Discovery Meadow" area just above the lodge is pretty marginal and dependant snow making machines.    The loading station for a Bullion Basin is a couple hundred feet lower and even more below the rain/snow boundary than "Discovery Meadow"  -- The '80s Bullion Basin lift was moved uphill and is now the "Gold Hills" lift because of lack of coverage.   So the developers would need to also invest in a lot of snow making equipment.

That's a lot of coin to drop for a lift that -- for the most part people would only ride once or twice a day (to get from parking lot or their condo to the lodge area) -- so I think it would only happen in conjuction with building a substatial number of new condo buildings.
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altasnob
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PostFri Dec 11, 2020 3:26 pm 
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Crystal is gracious enough to allow uphill travel on the side of the groomed Quicksilver run. But Crystal is under no obligation to continue this and could cut off this access at any moment. All it will take is a downhill skier to careen into an uphill traveler and Crystal may chose to cut this off. Or an uphill traveler disregarding the rules and venturing into in bounds avy patrolled terrain (which has happened). This is one of the only situations I can think of where a ski area lets people hike up a groomed ski run when the lifts are spinning. I would not be surprised if they cut this off as more and more people are going up, and coming down.

Also, Crystal seems to get more and more restrictive on uphill travel each year. For instance, this year, prior to the official opening, Crystal stated all uphill travel was prohibited (meaning you could not hike Quicksilver to Silver Basin before the resort opened as you could in previous years). They did this because there was a chance Crystal would do avy control in Silver Basin and did not want any incidents. But then it rained and they never did avy control in Silver Basin prior to the resort opening. Moreover, when Crystal says no uphill travel is allowed, not only does it cut off access up Quicksilver to Silver Basin, it also cuts off access to the summer trail that takes you to Bear Gap and the PCT because this trail briefly travels across the Gold Hills ski run. That trail does not cross any area where Crystal avy control work could pose a threat to uphill travelers, but the trail is still technically closed when they ban uphill travel.

I agree with you that a Bullion Basin lift makes no sense based on lack of snow. But ski areas make their money on beginner and intermediate terrain, not expert terrain, so I can see why Crystal is interested in it. I can't imagine a Bullion Basin lift helping backcountry access. As noted above, we are lucky that Crystal lets you skin up a groomed Quicksilver run and I do not see this continuing indefinitely for liability reasons.

From a business perspective, there is no reason for Crystal to try to maintain access for uphill travelers. Crystal stops selling tickets because their parking lot is full, not because they think the lift lines are too long. Uphill travelers take away parking for paying customers and cut into Crystal's bottom line. So I see restrictions increasing, not decreasing.
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Randito
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PostFri Dec 11, 2020 4:29 pm 
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altasnob wrote:
Crystal is gracious enough to allow uphill travel on the side of the groomed Quicksilver run

It not about their being generous,  it is actually part of their lease with the forest service that they have non-exclusive use of the forest service owned land.

altasnob wrote:
I do not see this continuing indefinitely for liability reasons.

To tour up within their permit area, you sign a waiver that contains the same sort liability and hold harmless language that is on the very fine print of their lift tickets and the waiver you sign when you buy a season's pass.  So uphill skiers aren't really any different liability wise than lift served skiers.

Washington state law also has provisions limiting the liability of ski area operators,.

Without that sort of liability limitations,  I don't think ski areas could operate at all , as every season there are scores of serious injuries usually a few fatalities among lift served skiers.
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