Words and Photos By Jeff Kraemer of Eclipse Films
Trying to write this article after 10 consecutive days and 195,000 vert, my head is still spinning!
The year started off slow for the Northwest, watching Tahoe and UT get all the goods, I had been laying low and staging for an epic to Crystal when the timing was right. Well- I nailed it. I didn’t take any friends on this trip because I went up on a whim thinking it could be good. At that point the forecast was marginal. It was gross underestimation! Every day was better than the last. No person could have predicted what happened. On the first day there was 4″ overnight with all operations open, Including Southback and Northway. Each night we got at least 4″ and by the 10th day we were up to 14″ overnight with a low of 10 degrees. It didn’t matter that I skied there through TWO WEEKENDS–Crystal Mountain Resort did a outstanding job on crowd control. From parking to mountain operations, they know how to run a ski resort. Southback and Northway were open every. single. day. Now I can’t reveal exactly the name of the runs we hit– that would be blasphemy!
It had been stormy every single day so I didn’t pull out my “real” camera at all. I ran into many people I knew over this timeframe- but all I could do was shoot on my crappy phone, as visibility was varying and I wanted to ski. I knew carrying around my 8 pound camera would be a drag. On my last and 10th day– after watching a Seahawks defeat in the Elk the night before, I awoke to blue skies, 14″ overnight and 10º. RUNNING to the lift I barely made it by 7am, chucked my skis down for third chair and waited patiently with about 50 others.
As luck would have it I met up with the most ripping lady crushers, Treylin Steele and Talia Toland. I rip pretty hard, but these ladies put me to shame. Could it have been the 9 days before that crushed me? Maybe. Leading the crew was the areas leading men, Brandy Willie. The four of us took flight on what -in my mind- was the single greatest day at Crystal ever. Now, you are saying to yourself- “this writer must be high as fuck.” Well- I get a lot of days in there and all over the Northwest for the last 30 years. Before that my first 18 years were at Squaw. If you were there Monday- you know. Thank you Crystal Mountain Resort.