Winter Plans: Crystal Mountain Resort

So we did it – after months of being indecisive about what we’re doing for the winter I’m writing this post from the Toaster parked at Crystal Mountain Resort, Washington. We’re going to be ski bums for the winter season! Jerud and I will both be working at the resort* while living on the property and snowboarding as many days as possible!

What the ski slopes looked like when we first moved to Crystal Mountain Resort.

What the ski slopes looked like when we first moved to Crystal Mountain Resort.

We had three options for how we could spend the winter: go back to the desert; snowboard the entire winter season; or snowboard for half the winter and go to Baja, Mexico for the other half. The first option was only if the other options fell through. We have nothing against the desert, but after spending 5 months in Nevada, Arizona, and Utah last winter we’re still kind of burnt out on red rocks and cacti. The third option was my first choice. We even have road friends who are heading back to Baja this winter and invited us to join them – which we wanted to do. But we knew we wouldn’t be able, or want, to pay to stay at an RV park for a few months and buy a season ski pass to snowboard. We also knew that it would be nearly impossible to get a resort job for just part of the season. So the decision was made that this would be a snowboarding winter.

This is the valley you have to drive through to get to Crystal Mountain Resort, which is located in Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest.

This is the valley you have to drive through to get to Crystal Mountain Resort, which is located in Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest.

The next question was where would we go to be ski bums? There are an overwhelming number of resorts to choose from, but we narrowed it down based on:

  • How cold it gets
  • Proximity to town
  • Living situation and cost
  • Distance between resort and where we’d be park
  • How good the snowboarding is

Mt. Bachelor Ski Resort in Bend, OR ended up being our first choice. Through friends we learned that they have a really good priced RV park in town and it’s about a 22 mile drive to the ski area from Bend, with a free bus option. And Bend would have a lot of sunny days.

A rare semi-sunny fall day in Washington. This is a view from Crystal Mountain Resort.

A rare semi-sunny fall day in Washington. This is a view from Crystal Mountain Resort.

Jerud and I had briefly talked about Crystal Mountain since we were going to be in Washington in the fall, but it didn’t end up being at the top of our list. But then we went to stay with our friend who lives just south of Tacoma on the same weekend that Crystal Mountain was having their job fair. Since the resort is only an hour and half from her place, we decided to check out the job fair just for the heck of it. We’d never been to a ski resort job fair and were curious what the set up would be like, so we thought it would be helpful at future resort job fairs.

 
Another view from the resort. This waterfall is right underneath a ski run.

Another view from the resort. This waterfall is right underneath a ski run.

 

The morning before heading to the resort we put together our resumes, something we both hadn’t updated in years! We figured we might as well have them ready in case an opportunity came up. It didn’t take more than a minute after walking into the job fair that Jerud and I both got pulled aside by department managers who ended up interviewing and offering us jobs on the spot. We also found out that there are RV spots with hookups in the employee housing area on the mountain.

Home for the winter.

Home for the winter.

We left there optimistic that we had found at least at one resort we could work at, but not convinced Crystal Mountain was the one for us. While most ski resorts are in a town or very close to a town, Crystal Mountain is tucked away in Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest with the nearest town being 30 miles away. Typically we love being in the middle of nowhere. But we were feeling a little bit sick of one another and isolated from the world. We were worried that we’d feel trapped living and working on the mountain seeing that we wouldn’t want to drive to town often because we hate using diesel (strange right for two people who live on the road full-time). And the nearest town, Enumclaw, isn’t even an interesting one like Bend, which we would want to visit for anything except running errands.

 
Road that leads to the resort.

Road that leads to the resort.

 

But finally, we realized we would be stupid if we didn’t accept the jobs. It was like everything had fallen into place and we were still being nitpicky and stupid about it, wanting something “better”. What if this was what was meant to be? What if Crystal Mountain was where we’re supposed to spend the winter? I mean seriously - we got offered jobs, would get free season passes, have a place to park the RV that would be walking distance to work, rent would be cheap, and we get to snowboard for the entire winter. Besides, we’ve been told that Crystal Mountain has some great terrain – difficult and very diverse.

Finally getting snow on the slopes.

Finally getting snow on the slopes.

So we accepted the jobs and are now living on the mountain in the Toaster. We’re doing it, we’re fulfilling our long-time dream of working at a ski resort! Ok, so what jobs did we find ourselves? Jerud works in snow removal which requires him to get up before the ass-crack of dawn, and I am an assistant manager for a kids’ program in ski school. We are both working full-time, 40 hours a week (although Jerud’s job is dependent on snow). This is the first time since we’ve hit the road that we’re working according to someone else’s schedule. It’s definitely taking some getting used to.

Jerud's office.

Jerud's office.

Check in with us as we post updates on what life is like living in an RV in the winter time at a ski resort.

*Now that we’re employees of the mountain, we have to include this disclaimer: Our views do not represent those of the resort and we are not official representative or spokesperson of Crystal Mountain Resort.


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