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Crystal Mountain to limit walk-up tickets amid traffic, parking problems

Crystal Mountain says it’s not immune to the Seattle area’s growth challenges, and skiers and snowboarders are dealing with heavy traffic and full parking lots.

Crystal Mountain Resort will start limiting ticket sales during peak times in an effort to address parking and traffic problems.

“On the biggest weekends, our mountain roads are choked, our parking areas are now reaching capacity earlier and there are a lot more of us charged up to play in the powder,” Crystal Mountain President and COO Frank DeBerry wrote Monday in a letter to customers.

Last Saturday, skiers reported long backups on State Route 410, which leads to the resort. They said parking lots were full before 8:30 a.m., and people were turned away.

Beginning Saturday, Crystal will stop selling walk-up full day tickets on weekends and holidays. The resort still plans to offer advance tickets online for those days, but the number of tickets available will be limited based on snow forecast, mountain and road conditions, and traffic.

The resort will continue to honor Ikon Pass holders and skiers who have already bought advance tickets, including five-pack vouchers.

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DeBerry wrote the resort hopes this measure will cap the number of skiers to how many visitors the roads and parking infrastructure can accommodate.

“It was a tough call – we are skiers at heart and turning away those who love the mountain is not in our nature,” DeBerry wrote. “But something needs to change for the community good.”

For now, Crystal has asked skiers to consider carpooling or take its bus service from Seattle, Tacoma, or Enumclaw. The resort has reserved 250 parking spots in the closest lot for four-person carpools. Both these programs were launched this season to alleviate parking issues.

The resort also asked visitors to consider skiing during non-peak times, such as weekdays or evenings.

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In the long term, Crystal plans to expand parking this summer.

“As a community, we all love Crystal, but right now it’s a mountain that is feeling too much love and we are taking decisive action to preserve what it means to all of us,” DeBerry wrote.