News Roundup: Reimagine Crystal

20 thoughts on “News Roundup: Reimagine Crystal

  1. Enumclaw kid October 28, 2022 / 10:30 am

    Reading the Crystal timeline suggests that they have abandoned the idea of moving the Mt Rainier Gondola to serve Campbell Basin, and are instead going to upgrade it in place and build new in roughly the old C-5 alignment. I wonder what that means for capacity on each?

    I assume the road to Northway will follow the existing cleared track to the base of the lift. I wonder if they will be willing then to open the terrain on days they can’t or won’t spin the lift.


    • Erik October 28, 2022 / 11:20 am

      How much could they realistically do to the existing MRG to “increase the speed and efficiency and add capacity” without doing a full replacement?

      The cabin spacing on the current gondola is enormous (hence the ultra-low capacity, less than a double chair), but I assume adding more carriers would require beefier towers/sheaves, drive, haul rope, etc?


      • pbropetech October 28, 2022 / 2:03 pm

        Hard to tell without knowing how it was engineered in the first place. That said– typically the steel on a tower is the same for all installations. Some crossarms are beefier but usually those are one-offs for a particular lift. So even if the loads increased, necessitating a change from, say, a six- to an eight-rocker the tower will remain. Obviously the dynamic loading will change with more weight so that will have to be taken into account. The haul rope may have to be upgraded, you’re correct there, and perhaps the drive. The braking force will need to be increased- not for stopping but for holding. The motor may need to be changed out depending on whether it was already specced for a bigger load.

        If CM is going for an upgrade-in-place I suspect most of the conditions I mentioned have already been met.


    • agillskis October 28, 2022 / 1:25 pm

      The way they describe the MRG “upgrade” doesn’t necessarily preclude full replacement and moving the original to Campbell Basin. It could just be for simplicity for readers as most skiers wouldn’t notice the difference.

      We’ll have to wait until we hear more details to know for sure.


  2. Cascade Concrete October 28, 2022 / 10:33 am

    Interesting that there’s no REX replacement in the Reimagine Crystal timeline. That seemed to be one of Frank DeBerry’s top priorities during his Storm Skiing Journal interview last year.


    • Insider October 28, 2022 / 12:21 pm

      REX replacement is still very likely to occur next year.


      • Cascade Concrete October 28, 2022 / 1:32 pm

        Good, I have a lot of fond memories on the current lift, but it’s getting unreliable. I’m tired of it breaking down.


  3. Machski October 28, 2022 / 11:47 am

    Not much of a surprise on the UNI-G skin terminal at Loon on the old Kanc. Didn’t Boyne/Dopp do the same when Big SKy flipped the old ramcharger HSQ to Shedhorn? I am assuming the same will happen next summer at SL when the former Swift Current HSQ gets installed on West Mountain’s new line.


    • Cameron Halmrast October 28, 2022 / 1:14 pm

      From the reply I got from Loon is that the terminals are brand new, but are reusing all the other mechanical pieces like gearbox, motors, drive, etc. In addition, the motor and gearbox have been rebuilt.


      • Everett October 28, 2022 / 1:48 pm

        All the guts of the terminals are reused from Kanc, everything was rebuilt and galvanized including the tire banks and terminal structure. New controls, electronics, and of course, enclosures. To all but the most trained eye it’s a brand new lift, but all the heavy steel is reused from the old lift.

        Very similar job to the Shedhorn upgrade at Big Sky back in 2018. However this rebuild was far more extensive which is the reason for the extra year between removal and re-installation.

        Liked by 1 person

        • pbropetech October 28, 2022 / 2:08 pm

          That’s one of the options we’re considering for the possible I-lift replacement/L-lift upgrade. We’d reuse (and rebuild) the guts from the current ’94 and drop a new Uni-G skin over it all, and call it the L-lift upgrade.


  4. Will October 28, 2022 / 12:04 pm



  5. agillskis October 28, 2022 / 1:26 pm

    With the full list of upgrades on the Crystal page it does make it seem like they want to upgrade capacity enough for them to come back as an unlimited resort on the Ikon Pass.


  6. pbropetech October 28, 2022 / 2:17 pm

    I have to say, it’s pretty odd to look at the base area webcams and not see the ticket plaza, the Chapel, and the former rental/retail shop. Judy Johnson used to run the retail shop and had an eclectic variety of things there. When I was a lift operator there our locker room was in the basement of the rental/retail building, as well as partially under the Grand Staircase.

    I hope the vague phrasing of ‘upgrading the Gold Hills and Boullion Basin area’ means they plan to bring back old chair 7 in that pod. They don’t say specifically but I know they’ve alluded to it recently.

    They must be shortening chair 8 to make way for a new gondola terminal; the old chair 5 line, if extended, would end up roughly in the maze.

    Pa finished cutting timber for the G-lot expansion this summer but didn’t mention any others. I’ll have to ask him about that.

    The Northway plans are interesting. I don’t recall any intermediate terrain out there. Kind of a shame as that was one of the best things about that area.

    All in all, the place might well be unrecognisable the next time I ski there.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Enumclaw kid October 28, 2022 / 3:26 pm

      When they say Northway + intermediate, I have to think what they are talking about is 1) the very easiest route down the center of Northway Bowl via the back traverse, which is no more difficult than Green Valley; and 2) Otto Bahn. But I feel like I have skied Otto Bahn when the lower portion had been groomed.


      • Cascade Concrete October 28, 2022 / 3:36 pm

        Last year they began grooming Lower Otto Bahn occasionally via Paradise, which can be groomed by a winch cat, but is definitely black diamond terrain. In some prior years, they’ve even left a cat parked on Lower Otto Bahn for the full season for grooming down there.

        I wouldn’t be surprised if they improve the existing trail that goes along Gun Tower Ridge, then switches back to the bottom of Spook Hill.

        That could easily be turned into a groomable cat track that wouldn’t require winching and would provide blue access to Lower Otto Bahn and Lower Northway, which aren’t steep at all.


        • Erik October 28, 2022 / 3:51 pm

          Yeah there are definitely dry times where that last little pitch (right before the Northway lift) would benefit from some grooming.


  7. Eric October 31, 2022 / 7:47 pm

    I’m not sure if you had noted, but it looks like Breck announced on their trail map that Lift 5 is going to be replaced with a HSQ next summer.


    • Charlie October 31, 2022 / 8:39 pm

      That was announced back in June


  8. Peter Landsman November 7, 2022 / 8:11 pm

    Well Crystal never responded to my email about the timeline but they did remove it from the website.

    Archived here for posterity:

    Now it just says “As we build for the future, we are excited to finalize our plans for terrain expansion, increased uphill capacity, and more amenities for our guests to enjoy year-round. More details including the timing of these projects will be released further down the road.”


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