The goal of this section is to highlight a set of great runs at Crystal that don’t fall into any other section: all are accessed by Rainier Express, but feed into the base area. Every run in this section (with the exception of Melby’s) is fantastic and highly worth your time.
From the top of Middle Ferk’s, hike (or aggressively skate) up the groomed hill to the skier’s left. Following this all the way will eventually take you to Exterminator Point, where you can either drop into Exterminator or West Face.
On the Map:
Bull Run | Quality: 7/10 | From the top of Middle Ferk’s, take the traverse to the skier’s left, then quickly dive into a steep glade. Bull Run is a fantastic run, although it is a thigh burner. Late in the day, when Exterminator is tracked out, take Bull Run and you’ll be bound to find some fresh turns. Lower Ferk’s (Lower Bull) is a natural extension to this run, adding even more vertical to this already great run.
Considerations: Expert, Powder, Steep, Traversing (or hiking) Required.
Melby’s | Quality: 5/10 | Accessed by traversing to the skier’s left when you are halfway down Middle Ferk’s, this is one of the runs on the mountain that everyone knows about, but is rarely skied because it requires a mandatory trip to the base. Because of the fairly low skier traffic, powder can potentially be found here days after a storm.
Considerations: Advanced, Low Coverage, Powder.
Exterminator | Quality: 8/10 | Exterminator offers as wide a variety of terrain as any run at Crystal. The many specific sections of Exterminator are listed below:
Upper Exterminator | Quality: 8/10 | From Exterminator Point, follow the fall line through this steep well-spaced glade, eventually joining the gondola line. Good turns can always be found here, and on a powder day this can be epic.
Considerations: Glades, Expert, Steep, Hiking required, Powder, Accesses base area.
Gondola Line | Quality: 7/10 | From the top of Middle Ferk’s, take the traverse that is used to access Bull Run, then begin to follow the gondola’s path as it becomes less off-fall-line. It’s always fun to show off under the gondola, and a few optional drops in the middle of the run only add to the fun.
Considerations: Expert, Powder, Cut, Under chair (easy to embarrass yourself), Accesses base area.
Snag Chute | Quality: 6/10 | As Upper Exterminator nears the gondola line, slightly to the left you will find Snag Chute: a shallow gully that is noticeably steeper than the rest of Exterminator. This area needs more snow to be skiable, so it is often roped off by the ski patrol early in the season. On its own, there isn’t much appeal for this feature, but it is useful in route finding to Neanderthal Rocks and Dick’s Face.
Considerations: Low Coverage, Expert, Steep, Accesses Base Area.
Neanderthal Rocks | Quality: 7/10 | Below and to the skier’s left of Snag Chute, you will find a cliff band known as Neanderthal Rocks. Depending on where and how you decide to go off of them, air can range from 5 to 15 feet. There are some trees below; don’t hit them.
Considerations: Cliff, Mandatory Air (or you could just ski around), Gladed, Powder.
Dick’s Face | Quality: 6/10 | Below Neanderthal Rocks, you will find an extremely deep glade. Be careful, as people have died in tree wells here. Follow this glade to the Kelly’s Gap cat track or duck out to Lower Exterminator at any time.
Considerations: Gladed, Expert, Tree Wells, Powder, Accesses Base Area.
Lower Exterminator | Quality: 6/10 | A steep mogul field that follows the gondola line to the base area. Because this run lies at a lower elevation, the snow can often be funkier. In these situations, head to the right, where there is near-constant shade, for the best conditions. Many traverse from Kelly’s Gap into this run, so it is much more crowded than other sections of Exterminator.
Considerations: Advanced, Moguls, Accesses Base Area.
Off the Map:
Eagle’s Drop | Quality: 8/10 | On Upper Exterminator, follow the Rock Face rope line on the far skier’s left. When the rope stops, jump off the ridge into the steep, powdery face below, heading towards Kelly’s Gap. The ‘drop’ is small enough that anyone capable of skiing a double black could attempt this run.
Considerations: Expert, Powder, Cornice, Steep, Avalanche Debris, Accesses Base Area.