I have an interesting history with skiing. It began back in 2014 when I published my first blog post about the soon-to-be hobby. I had been inspired to make my life more interesting (hence the title of the blog) and had landed on downhill skiing as one of the best ways to enrich my life. As the title of that post suggests, things did not go according to plan, but even so, here I am today, writing about my experience skiing among the mountains of Washington State. Let me explain how I ended up here.
I made it a goal at the beginning of this new year of personal challenges to ski somewhere breathtaking. I thought that it would be a neat goal to create since skiing was one of the first activities that I did for this blog, and I wanted to push myself to ski somewhere more memorable than the world’s most depressing “hill” near my home in Ohio. So after a lot of planning and mishaps, I ended up planning to ski during my trip to Washington State (which will be described in greater detail in an upcoming post).
I had Googled ski resorts near the Seattle area and landed on Crystal Mountain as my resort of choice. The pictures were stunning, and the prices weren’t as traumatizing as one might expect when skiing in such close proximity to the grandiose Mt. Rainier.
The day began with an obligatory stop at Starbucks (they dot nearly every corner in Washington) and one of the most beautiful drives in recent memory. It was about an hour and a half from our Airbnb rental in Des Moines to the mountain, and it could not have been prettier.
The first part of the drive was spent oohing and ahhing over the stunning mountain range in the distance, and the latter half of the trip consisted of us driving through the aforementioned mountains. The natural beauty seemed surreal, and it made me wish that the drive wouldn’t end. But before long, it did end when we arrived at the ski resort.
The first thing that we did upon arrival was to find a place for my Mom (who had traveled across the country to spend time with me in Washington) to sit for the day. She does not ski, so she brought along a few books to read while I sped down the mountain.
After we had found her a place that wasn’t too overcrowded with North Face-clad families, I headed to the equipment rental shop and was instantly greeted with a high dose of privilege. I figured that the resort would be populated by wealthy, high-powered people, and my suspicion was proven to be true while I waited in line for my skis.
This was most clearly emphasized when the man directly in front of me began solving a work crisis partway through the rental process. It started when a co-worker rushed up to him (cutting in front of me in the process) to explain some horrible situation with a customer not approving a sample that she had received. The man in front of me turned a shade of purple, developed an ulcer, and immediately began angrily pulling out his phone to “solve the problem.” It was all very dramatic, and my only wish is that I could have seen how it played out before I had to go up to the rental counter.
After my skis were rented and secured to my feet, I headed up the slopes for my first run of the day. I went down the mountain a few times before lunch and was each time reminded of how stunning the location was. The sun was shining, and there was nothing to be seen but tall mountain peaks surrounding me. I knew that I had made the right choice to come here to have my breath taken away.
Once it was time for lunch, I found my Mom, and we both headed to a gondola to journey up the mountain for a meal at the top of the mountain. We had heard that there was a nice restaurant at the top, so we thought it would be worth the additional expense of the gondola trip to go there.
It was certainly worth it because it afforded us a lovely excursion and a delicious meal in a restaurant with a view that could not be beaten. After eating our fantastic burgers, we rested for a few minutes before journeying back down the mountain. Once I had gotten Mom set back up in the lodge, I headed back up the mountain to ski a few more times before calling it a day.
It was during my final runs of the day that I realized just how aptly my goal had been named. Skiing in the mountains of Washington was a truly breathtaking experience (both figuratively and literally because of the times that I wiped out). There were times when I was the only skier in sight, and all that I could hear was the muffled sound of my skis cutting through the freshly fallen powder. It was an experience that will stick with me for the rest of my life. My how far I have come since the early days of skiing in 2014.