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With Crystal Mountain open, a ski season like none other begins in Washington

The resort has new pandemic protocols in place to try to keep skiers and riders safe

ENUMCLAW, Wash. — President and CEO of Crystal Mountain Resort Frank DeBerry says his team is ready to give folks the dose of winter joy they've been missing since COVID-19 shut down ski resorts in March. 

"We always thought of ourselves as just a little fun thing to do, and now we're actually therapeutic," he said.

Crystal Mountain opened last week.

DeBerry's team has been working ever since they shut their lifts down on how to make the mountain safer. 

"The mountain itself, you got 2,600 acres to get out and go wherever you want and do what you want, right," said DeBerry, "but we have to be able to safely get you to that point."

RELATED: Stevens Pass readies for ski season with new COVID-19 precautions

The biggest difference patrons will experience starts with reserving and buying your ticket online. No more walking up to the ticket booth. Even with an Ikon Pass or Crystal pass, you will still need to make an online reservation. That's how they will control crowds to be 35% capacity.  

Then there's the masking. 

"You do have to mask up in the lift lines, you do have to mask up in the buildings or in the base areas. The only time we don't require masks is when you're actively skiing and snowboarding downhill," he said. 

You also cannot eat inside, but DeBerry says they've spent six figures on to-go options, outdoor dining areas, fire pits and restrooms.

The best part, however was a free gift from the sky: a 40-inch snow base to begin the season. 

It's the best November opening the resort has had in 10 years, but to enjoy all that powder, they ask for one thing in return – patience and the ability to go with the flow during an unpredictable winter.

"We want to get out on the mountain and enjoy the snow. And we want to help you do that as fast as we possibly can," said DeBerry. "I promise we will give it absolutely everything we have in us to make this an outstanding winter for skiers and riders."

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