Why My Family Loves to Ski Crystal Mountain, Washington

learn to ski crystal mountain washington

Photo courtesy Brian Hopper.

A Brave Ski Mom Interview with Brian Hopper, a Brave Ski dad and a Crystal Mountain native son.

brave ski mom logoIf you could only ski at one resort this season with your family, which resort would you choose? 

Well seeming that we usually only go to one or two resorts that is an easy choice.

We live in the greater Seattle area so our choice would have to be Crystal Mountain Resort which is about an hours drive from where we live.

Why Crystal Mountain? 

Crystal Mountain is our family’s favorite resort because they not only have free skiing for kids under three but lift tickets are only five dollars for kids ( up to age 10). They  also offer a beginner chair only lift ticket which is greatly reduced in price from the average day ticket. This is a nice convenience for families who are spending most of their time on the beginner slope.

What makes Crystal Mountain especially good for families? 

One of the best amenities that Crystal Mountain has to offer for a family, besides the reduced rate lift tickets, is the learning center area located right at the base lodge.

This learning center area has a magic carpet…..which our three-year-old was finally able to do by herself last season!  And for some reason our eight-year-old still is having a blast going on the magic carpet up and down while he waits for his little sister. Did I mention they are inseparable? ;)

brian hopper and kids crystal mountain washington

Photo courtesy Brian Hopper.

One of the other features of the learning center at Crystal Mountain resort is a merry-go-round type feature.

Kids grab onto arms that rotate around with an operator standing nearby and it goes in a circle just like a merry-go-round. The kids just love it!

What would make Crystal Mountain even better?

One thing that needs to be improved at Crystal Mountain is their seating area for brown bag baggers. You know, the folks who bring their own food.

On weekends the resort is quite popular and around lunchtime grabbing a table can be hard so we usually choose to eat our lunch at 11:30 instead of noon.  Although, you should know, Crystal Mountain resort  listens and values feedback from their guests ! Last season I learned that the resort plans to remodel the day lodge and the amount of seating is going to dramatically increase in size. Yeah!

Any advice for families planning to visit Crystal Mountain? 

Well my advice to any family that skis with kids no matter at which resort is:

brian hopper crystal mountain washington

Photo courtesy Brian Hopper.

Be prepared to be patient!  Kids like to be babied when they’re skiing.  I always bring lots of fruit snacks, hot chocolate packets and their favorite lunch.

The other bit of advice that I would give to other families specifically going to Crystal is if you are renting gear make sure to get there early to avoid any line in the rental shop.

The rental shop has been remodeled and the new system in place dramatically reduced previous lines of the past, but you can’t go wrong by getting there early.  I would suggest to take an early lunch like I mentioned earlier, but really Crystal has very good food so if you want to limit your workload don’t even bring a lunch and just buy lunch from the cafeteria. You can’t go wrong with french fries to keep the smiles on the kids faces.

Where do you like to eat?

Our favorite place to eat is the Campbell Basin Lodge at the top of the Forest Queen Express.  It is a beautiful new building located at mid mountain….with a northwest heavy timber look and feel to it.  Just a beautiful building!  The food is priced well and is great, and not just for ski area food.

How about lodging?

Crystal has three main choices for lodging.  All are suitable, however we live so close, we don’t stay up there much.  But when we do, we prefer the Silver Skis.  Silver Skis has a pool…and the kids love the pool.  Plus, they are newly remodeled and are very top-notch!

What makes Crystal Mountain unique?

Crystal is unique in a lot of ways.  It is the only resort in Washington state with a gondola!  It has the highest restaurant in the state, Summit House, and the best view of Mount Rainier.

Crystal is the biggest resort in Washington state and, in our opinion, the best!

What is your favorite memory of Crystal Mountain?

My favorite memory at Crystal is watching both my kids take their first turns there!

What is your favorite thing about family skiing?

My favorite part about family skiing has to be the comments I get from other parents, especially from parents who have older children.  “Hang in there,” they tell me.  “It gets easier” one parent recently said, as he saw me carrying all of our family’s gear.

The Brave Ski Mom Adds… 

Thanks Brian!

brain hopper crystal mountain washington

Photo courtesy Brian Hopper.

Brian is a 15 year veteran of the ski industry.

He is currently a blogger, writer and athlete for numerous snow-sports companies, including Liberty Skis, Dalbello Boots, ARNETTE Eyewear, Pret Helmets, Flylow Clothing, Thrills Socks, Leki Poles, Camelback Backpacks, Rhino Camera Gear and Crystal Mountain Resort.

Head-to-toe, Brian’s covered and has the industry covered, too.

You can find out more about Brian, read about his adventures and partners and sign up for giveaways at Brian Hopper(ski).

© 2014, Kristen Lummis. All rights reserved. Any use or publication of content, including photos, requires express permission.


  1. says

    Hi, Kristen:

    I really enjoy your blog and we agree Crystal is wonderful for families.

    I am one of the owners of Alta Crystal Resort, and just so you know, we are very family-friendly. In fact, we are Crystal’s only lodging with BOTH a 90-degree heated pool and hot tub, plus we have family activities on weekends and every night during holidays. Friday’s are usually a movie night with free popcorn, candy and drinks and Saturday’s, we host a bonfire with s’mores out in our recreation field During holidays, we add karaoke nights, trivia nights, crafts and cookie decorating nights and more.

    Guests consistently tell us we’re the most family-friendly lodging they’ve found and since we’re a little away from the ski area (just a 10-15 minute drive), we don’t get partiers so it’s quieter and very relaxing. We renovated all our One Bedroom Suites last fall, and our larger Loft Suites have been renovated in the past 5 years. All our accommodations have fireplaces, small fully equipped kitchens, satellite television, WiFi and more.

    We’d love to have you stay with us sometime so you can see for yourself.


    Vivian Cadematori

    • says

      Thanks Vivian for the info! I have to ask – i have a friend in NY with the same unique last name as you. Relatives in the east?

      Happy skiing! And thanks so much for the invite!