Crystal Mountain Resort announced on Thursday that an unlimited season pass for the 2022-23 season will cost $1,699, with a $100 discount for those renewing from this season. It’s a steep price increase from the current ski season, for which full-price season passes cost $999. The news coincided with the announcement of a major capital investment in the ski area by owner Alterra Mountain Company.
As skiing and snowboarding continue to grow in popularity in Western Washington and beyond, the bustling ski area near Mount Rainier National Park is investing in the resort — and seeking to tamp down on overcrowding by raising prices.
Notably, the new, all-you-can-ski Crystal Legend Pass will not be a member of the Ikon family, which provides access to some 45 ski destinations worldwide, including Pacific Northwest destinations Mount Bachelor, Oregon; Schweitzer, Idaho; and Sun Valley, Idaho. It will cost an additional $300 to add an Ikon Pass onto the new all-access Crystal pass.
Denver-based Alterra, which bought Crystal in 2018, launched the multiresort Ikon Pass to compete with rival Vail Resorts’ popular Epic Pass. Before Crystal’s acquisition by Alterra, an unlimited season pass cost up to $1,200.
Crystal announced the price hike in tandem with a five-year capital plan to invest $100 million in the Pierce County ski resort, including 700 new parking spaces, a 100-room hotel, unspecified new trail and lift upgrades, new off-site employee housing and two new base lodges. The infrastructure investment will kick off in April, when the resort intends to break ground on a $25 million, 25,114-square-foot lodge with new dining, retail and ticket-sales facilities.
“We need more space and infrastructure to support the rise in visitation stemming from the dramatic increase in the popularity of outdoor recreation in the Pacific Northwest,” said Crystal President and COO Frank DeBerry in a statement. “We are ready to make some big investments in our infrastructure and uphill capacity to keep pace with the growth in our community and improve guest satisfaction.”
Crystal will complement its on-mountain infrastructure investments with further tweaks to transportation management. In January, Crystal implemented a paid parking reservation system that is here to stay. The resort will continue to charge for parking on Fridays, weekends and holidays.
Unlike this season, during which season-pass holders are exempt from parking charges, pass holders will pay for parking next winter unless they carpool. The proceeds from paid parking will be funneled into Crystal’s weekend and holiday shuttle service from Enumclaw.
“The transportation program has dramatically reduced congestion and sped up travel times on Highway 410, [thus] getting skiers to the mountain faster and with way less frustration,” DeBerry said. “Even on our busiest historical days, the drive is an entirely different experience than the past few winters and we’re confident we’ll have a space for you when you arrive.”