South Sound Staff Heads to the Mountains

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One of the best parts of living in Washington is its stunning views and close proximity to the mountains. More often than not, the mountains are most correlated with cold, winter days and skiing or snowboarding down the fresh powder at any one of the state’s ski resorts. What most people tend to forget, though, is how much there’s still left to do when the snow melts away. To discover all the mountains have to offer on summer days, our staff left behind the hustle of the city and made our way to the peaceful base of Crystal Mountain.

As the office’s caravan of cars made its trek up the mountain, several staff members made some quick pitstops in the town of Greenwater, which lies just on the outskirts of Crystal Mountain. The detour took staff members on a brief walkthrough of Greenwater General Store, a peek inside Naches Tavern, and a visit to the clothing and gift store Wapiti Woolies.

Kate Orum

Once all the staff had arrived at the base of the mountain, they were greeted by Meilee Anderson, a marketing consultant for Visit Rainier, and Brianna Stoutenburgh, the marketing and events manager of Crystal Mountain. From there, the staff boarded the Mt. Rainier Gondola and made their way up more than 2,000 feet to the summit.

On the ride up, Stoutenburgh highlighted a few of the mountains summer gems and highlights. For example, on the gondola ride, Stoutenburgh pointed to a particular slope where elk like to rest and areas where the summer wildflowers bloom in abundance. She also shared about the different activities Crystal Mountain hosts for visitors when it’s out of ski-season, such as hiking trails and a yoga festival.

As the gondola reached the summit, the staff made its way into the Summit House Restaurant, which sits at 6,872 feet. Inside, staff was treated to select appetizers, like a Pacific Northwest charcuterie board and bean hummus, as well as a range of drinks.

Kate Orum

As the tasting came to a close, the staff made its way back down the gondola to meet with the General Manager of the Crystal Mountain Hotel, Dee Patterson. Patterson then led a tour of the hotel property starting with its three eating areas. On the first floor is the Snorting Elk Cellar, a popular bar for both tourists and locals, and the Snorting Elk Deli. On the second floor is the Alpine Inn Restaurant.

At the Alpine Inn, the staff was again invited to sample a variety of dishes like bone broth soup, gazpacho, and an array of sandwiches. While the staff ate, Patterson gave some history of the hotel and shared more about its summer tourist season. During the summer, the Inn hosts events such as horseback rides, jazz performances, and a wine festival. Patterson estimates that in the winter, about 60 percent of hotel guests are local to the Puget Sound, but in summer, that same percentage of guests are visiting from out-of-state or even internationally. 

To wrap up the tour, Patterson opened some of the hotel’s different room options for viewing. The staff was able to experience the quaint charm of each room. As the day at the mountain came to a close, the South Sound staff took a final glance toward the summit and made the journey home filled with new ideas and inspiration for stories.

If anyone else is open to hosting our staff, please feel free to reach out. By getting out into the community, our publication can produce its best, most authentic work.

Jeff Hobson

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