SAM Magazine—Enumclaw, Wash., Jan. 14, 2020—In response to traffic, crowding, and parking issues, Crystal Mountain, Wash., will no longer sell walk-up full-day tickets on weekends and holidays. Instead, it will offer a limited number of tickets for online advance purchase. The resort will still honor Ikon passes and any other advance purchase product.
The amount of advance tickets available for weekends and holidays will depend on variables such as the “snow forecast, mountain conditions, traffic, road conditions, and any other factors that contribute to people making their decision to ski on that day,” resort president and COO Frank deBerry said in an open letter posted to Crystal’s website. These adjustments were made after three weekends of great snow conditions where parking lots topped out early and the resort struggled to manage traffic on the mountain road.
“We are especially regretful to those who attempted to ski or ride with us and were turned around or were severely delayed,” DeBerry said in the letter. “It is not what we want our guests or our community to feel. We’ve heard your frustration through a steady stream of emails, phone calls, and social media posts. Hearing from so many of our passionate customers has catalyzed us to stop, deconstruct the last several weekends of this overcrowding, and review everything we can in order to improve our mountain experience.”
Critics claim that the Ikon pass is to blame for the over-crowding. Crystal Mountain was sold to Alterra and joined the Ikon Pass in October of 2018. DeBerry admitted it was a factor, but defended the pass, saying, “As skiers and snowboarders, we all love a big storm. Yet as more and more of us have discovered the joy of a PNW powder day—and as word travels faster through our networks and our community—we’ve become a much bigger bunch. Too much love for Crystal is a complicated problem, with no easy fix.”
On weekends and holidays, Crystal will continue to honor Ikon Pass holders, advanced ticket products such as 5-pack vouchers, and advance single days tickets already purchased.
Crystal is also addressing the issue with long-term plans to expand parking, with public transit coaches from Seattle, Tacoma, and Enumclaw, and a carpool initiative for vehicles with four or more people.
“In the short term, for this season, we will continue to reinforce our efforts to give timely and transparent travel and parking information. We will continue investing large sums in providing bus service to Crystal. We will continue incenting our customers to carpool. And in the coming weeks, we will be announcing new and more rewarding incentives to our customers who visit on weekdays.,” wrote DeBerry.
Read DeBerry’s open letter from January 14, 2020: https://www.crystalmountainresort.com/the-mountain/crystal-blog/an-open-letter.