PIERCE COUNTY, Wash. — Friday was opening day for passholders at Crystal Mountain as the resort opened for its 60th season.
The resort opened a week earlier than scheduled, which is the earliest they have opened in the past five years. The resort opens to the general public on Monday, Nov. 21.
Two siblings from Enumclaw, Bryce and Elyse Jones, skipped school and went up the mountains with their parents to take part in the big day that they have been waiting for since they started skiing last season.
"It’s really fun,” said Elyse Jones. “You can go on the harder stuff, you can ski with your family, it’s really fun, I wish I could come here every day, but I can't."
Even though last ski season at Crystal Mountain was extended until June, and this season started earlier, the wait was still too long for a lot of skiers.
"Freaking stoked,” said Seth Cartwright. “Summer makes me depressed, so I have been waiting for this since like, last season."
This early opening is due to early snow and some extra help from snow machines.
"In the last week we have made 8 million gallons of snow,” said Emma Brice, with Crystal Mountain Ski Resort.
They are expecting a lot of visitors to hit the slopes this season.
"On peak visitation days, we can see, you know, 2,000 to 3,000 visitors,” said Brice.
Not only do those thousands of people come up to the mountain, but they also go to nearby towns, helping the economy.
“We have local people running a shop in Greenwater, a small town 30 minutes down the road, and there's, you know, a restaurant down there,” said Brice. “So they definitely are benefiting from our early opening.”
According the 2020 report for the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office, the state sees about 1.9 million visitors each year for skiing. This brings $365 million to the ski and snowboard industry in Washington and an additional $163 million to the state’s economy, thanks to the money those skiers are spending while they’re there.
To people up on Crystal Mountain, they say it is time and money well spent.
“It’s really exciting to start the 60th season with an early opening and bringing the stoke back,” said Brice.