My family and I just spent a weekend Up North at Boyne Highlands Resort. Up North is where Michiganders go to unwind, relax and play. Boyne is where I learned to snowboard. But Michigan doesn’t have mountains, you say. You are correct. But it has some really big hills and a whole lot of snow and though the runs might not be as long as their out-west counterparts, the concepts are the same: Ski and board your legs off, then aprés.
If Boyne is where I learned to walk, then Crystal Mountain near Seattle in Washington is where I learned to run. I had to. My husband and I were dating then, and he and his friends were much better than I. There’s a quote that has become something like a life motto for me from the book Born to Run. “You’re tougher than you think you are and you can do more than you think you can. You don’t have to be fast. But you better be fearless”. Those guys were good, and I learned to keep up.
I can be extremely prone to sentiment, and the winter of Crystal Mountain was one of the best periods of time in my life. So maybe that’s why I get the warm fuzzies thinking about it. Crystal Mountain was my first real mountain riding experience. Its an easy day trip from Seattle. The drive there is easy and beautiful through the giant PNW trees and up in to the mountains. Brandon had the best playlist to listen to on the way. We’d park and take the shuttle from the gravel lots. I wonder if they still have those open wagons with benches? I hope so. We’d ski until lunch and head right back out after. Then we’d wander to the Snorting Elk as a group, or one by one, as our legs got shaky in late afternoon. On the way back we would sometimes stop for tea at Wapiti Woolies. We were there every day we weren’t working that winter (12 hour shifts for the win). Its not fancy- you could barely call it a resort- and I like it that way. Plus,
That is me and that is Mount Rainier. Remove me from the picture and this is the view that greets you from the top of the gondola on a bluebird day. Try to beat it.
Here is photographic proof that my husband Brandon is way cooler than I am. I get all sorts of excited thinking about the run he just had through the woods. Its a fun one. I don’t have any regrets in life, but if I did, it would be not jumping the log in the Drainage.
Could be the fresh air talking, but the Snorting Elk set the bar for the best Reuben sandwich. I’m on a quest to find the one that can beat it.
There was rarely a crowd. With the exception of the gondola, I don’t remember waiting in a lift line. Even so, the gondola line moved very quickly and I mean, c’mon, everyone loves a gondola. Its no frills, pure love of skiing and boarding, skiing and boarding out there.
Hubby and I, bonding. Aww.
Again. Can’t ever, won’t ever, get over that mountain.