Crystal -- Summer '15
6 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Beautiful ski resort. $25 gondola ride will give you spectacular views of Mt. Rainier and access to the upper course (10 holes -- prior reviews speak of a full 18) which then can be combined for a total of 28 holes)....I only played the base course.
Free maps of course to help find your way.
Cons: 1) Wear boots with minimum 8" uppers -- weedy, un-mown course that will fill your socks/shoes with grass/weed seeds with every couple steps on holes 1-4, 7, and 12-18. .....sound silly? VERY uncomfortable and annoying.
2) Poor tee boxes. Dirt, not level, short, hard to find.
3) Had to study map and wander a lot to find tee boxes on several holes (4-8, 12, 14, 17-18) due to vagaries of terrain and/or mapmaker; easily added 30+ minutes to round.
4) Ski resorts (that I have visited) have not been good disc courses (and Crystal continues this trend). They are thrown into/onto ski runs to market themselves as a viable summer destination, to the detriment of the game. The fairways are rough, extremely steep, often in forested areas that are not cleared of the branches, stumps, and trimmings of the trees cut to "clear" the ground for the ski runs (holes 8-11). They are "clear" with 3+ feet of snow on them, but summer warmth leaves a run of timber "litter" to walk through, toss over/into, and is not fun, safe, or easy to do. .....not complaining of the difficulty level of the "hole" itself, I enjoy tough holes due to design, not due to poor/lacking/missing course planning/perparation/care. Fairways without the branches/stumps/logs litter, were covered with grasses 2+ feet tall and brush patches equally high but of course thicker -- any shot further than 75' risked losing the disc.
5) I prefer my normal discs and don't care to lose them due to the course -- previous reviews suggest using "throwaway" discs....I drove nearly 300 miles to play a "premium" course (that would cost $25 if I wanted to play the upper course) that you could easily lose a disc on EVERY throw (other than putts)!
6) All straight shots with exception of hole 5, which is a blind anny shot into the woods (actually liked that hole and parred it)! Just criss-crossing ski runs with elevation changes.
7) Course requires spotters (at this current poor level of fairway maintenance).
8) Horrible winds. Yes, part of game, but intensely magnified when tossing down a mountain.
Other Thoughts: Saw that many people just loved tossing down a mountain to see a disc fly (most likely further than they have ever done before)......I agree, looks cool, but not at a cost of a $20 disc....heck, I don't want to lose a cheap $8 DX disc even!
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 0 Not
Reroutes due to Quicksilver construction
Pros: It's fun to play disc golf at a 'resort' even if it's not an intentional disc golf resort. In fact you feel like the barbarian invader sometimes with your bag of dangerous flying ranged weapons, while all around you are people attending weddings, tourists in ridiculous shoes, eco hippie hikers, etc. Even on the lower course the VIEWS are amazing. Depending on the season, there can be fields of wildflowers, wild strawberries and blueberries that you can literally graze on while (often) looking for your disc, deer and elk sharing the fairway with you. And even on the lower course the play is all about elevation and dealing with it. So a great counterpoint to the usual flat suburban course. Good distances, a few ace chances for long throwers on downhills (but woe to you if you overshoot!) Also, the Elk Cellar at the end of the round is probably the foremost 19th hole in WA. Be sure to stop in, get a cold one from the taps, and say thank you to the designer of the course, who is one of the managers at the Elk/Alpine Inn.
Cons: Pretty flimsy temp baskets, which sometimes are pretty off-level too. Ankle-twister surface in some areas, due to molehills, elk, watercourses, roads. Potential for dinging a disc when it lands on the hard roads between holes, esp. near construction areas. Reroute has lessened a bit, but still lots of areas where ANY disk off fairway is gone gone gone due to the incredibly dense nature of some of the offending underbrush. Especially if the wind is blowing. Throw your THIRD favorite disc ...
Other Thoughts: I checked in at the Elk after the round, to get a nice cold beer of course but also to learn more about the current course reroute. The construction happening on the 'Quicksilver' lift motivated not one but two reroutes over the summer. Course no longer goes anywhere near 'Tinkerbell' and no longer climbs the Goat Trail. Which is just fine by me (did not like the Goat Trail!) Instead it crams 3-6 into each other a bit as up/down alternators, and then heads up Broadway against the traffic of the unified course's 11-18. This area is pretty wide but it does introduce some potential of groups playing opposite ways having to watch out for each other.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
7 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Scenery, 5 stars. Fresh mountain air, 5 stars. Beer and food available at the base sometimes.
A nice hike, the base course features uphill and downhill throws with open and tight fairways. It has enough variety to make players throw most of the discs in their bag at some point, which scores well with me.
I really like the tight uphill holes that climb the mountain starting at hole 8. If you miss the fairway there are hundreds of small trees and drop offs that make getting back to the fairways extremely challenging. Then from hole 13 on it's bombs away on a string of downhill shots. I like elevation and watching a disc take a few seconds to land and there is plenty of that on the last 6 holes here.
Cons: DB-5 single-chain baskets will spit at least a couple of putts a round, you can bank on that...and when the wind blows even more. A few teeboxes are pretty eroded. I recommend playing behind or to the side of the teeboxes if you're not playing in a rare tournament at this course.
Signage is not the greatest, just a little tiny temp sign on each hole with no distance, but understandable since this is just a summer course.
Other Thoughts: I don't consider the condition of teeboxes or signs when rating courses, and this one is a lot of fun and very scenic (I do add points for great scenery).
The base course is free, while the summit course is $20 to ride to the top and play down. The base course is the better course of the two by variety, but I like the summit course just as much, because I like to let them fly!
7 of 7 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 4 Not
Pros: Great views, very long and wide open holes, plus a mix of tight, tree lined holes give a good balance of hole types.
Cons: The wind
Other Thoughts: Get ready for a long hike, but make sure to take in all the excellent views and scenery.
Bring your back up discs because they will get some serious wear from the rocky landings and you will run the risk of losing some from the highly elevated tee shots on a few holes.
1 of 5 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 4 Not
Pros: This was a very fun, really beautiful course. It was definitley a nice hike around there, it was a lot of fun.
Cons: You definitely need to watch your discs on some of the holes, I lost 2 in that one day. It is definitely not a beginner friendly course
1 of 5 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 2 Not
Fun, Challenging, and... FUN!
Pros: This has one of the highest "fun" factors of any course out there. Awesome elevation changes, and super friendly staff, (Dee).
There is nothing like spending the day out at crystal huking some plastic, and getting to hike through some great scenery.
Cons: The only knocks I can think of are the single layered baskets (the only reason this is a knock is because it gets pretty windy sometimes).
Also it might be hard to find tee pad for number 10 because it is a hike and stay to the right.
Finally it is not a beginner friendly course.
Other Thoughts: Bring a friend!!! Its more fun, and have someone spot discs.
This course really is fun, after you enjoy some drinks at the Snorting Elk and driving home you will think to yourself... "man that was fun"
5 of 7 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: The view from atop the mountain is a breath taking experience and many times you will need to stop and rest due to the incredible climb so you have plenty of opportunities to view the mountain while guzzling water. The entire back nine is playing straight down the mountain with big long open drives and plenty of wind, this is one of the most challenging courses I have ever played. There are many, many memorable drives that are unlike any course I have ever played that will stick with you for a while and make you want to play them again. Hole eighteen the signature hole is a 500-600 foot walk completely up hill but when you get there you get to throw off of such a big cliff down to a basket sitting on a giant hill at the bottom of the mountain, I had wished I had more throw away discs just to throw off of it and watch em soar.
Cons: Well the cons for some people and the reason I wouldn't play it everyday is obviously you are playing up, down, and sideways on a mountain and by the time you are done you are exhausted, at least I was, in fact I am ready to go to sleep while typing this. Because of the big down hill holes when you miss a little bit offline the disc goes big offline and there are a number of spots to lose discs and most of the day you will be searching high and low for em, I lost four discs but two were on purpose throwing off of hole eighteen. Lots and lots of bugs, in fact during the wooded portion of this course there were flies swarming all over us.
Other Thoughts: This is the type of course that you play a couple of times every once in a while because of the work involved to play it. I will say that you need to be prepared at this course, bring lots and lots of water, a snack, sunscreen and a first aid kit for starters because you will probably need them all. If you can make the hike the course is well worth playing, in fact the first five holes aren't bad at all with most of the climbing being done within holes six to ten and of course eighteen is the real big hike.
8 of 9 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 5 Not
Lost discs.... LOL
Pros: Fun-long holes to open up and huck one!
Cons: Windy conditions, and 6-9 are thick. Use a spotter if you have one =)
Other Thoughts: If anyone finds a white-ish pink TeeRex with a "TMC" on it in the treeline on the right on #6 please let me know. Also a light-blue wraith with the same "TMC" on underside... SOMEWHERE down the mountain.. LOL! Teed off on 12 or 13 and I NEVER saw it hit the ground!
1 of 6 people found this review helpful.
15 Helpful / 0 Not
Tiring, but well worth it!
Crystal Mountain is a beautiful seasonal course located at the base of a ski resort, surrounded by plush green Pines and granite faces. The front nine begins at the base of the mountain and winds up the tough terrain through the narrow yet infamous "old goat trail", then spits you out at the top as you make your way back down through some of the longest, steepest, and most epic hills I have ever played on. The elevation changes and strong gusts of wind make for some incredibly long and glorious shots. The front nine holes are considered easier however, it is still easy to shoot bogie golf on any if not all of them. Like the reviewer ahead of me stated, I would consider this course the second hardest in the state next to SeaTac. Hole #18 may be their signature hole but there are several others that stand out, especially on the back nine.
For the most part, this course was very well taken care of. However, there were a few things that kept this course from being a five. First, the tee pads were dirt not grass and were very short. Even though many of the shots were down hill, it was the up hill shots that desperrately needed more space for those big drives. Second, restrooms are located at the bottom of the hill with no other place to make a pit stop. For the most part this isn't a big deal unless it's a must....then your in trouble. You must use the restroom either before you start or after you finish cause nobody would want to walk down and then back up Crystal Mountain, trust me. Last, the weather. Although for me I thought it made the course harder, I enjoyed the crazy winds. However, most do not like it and find it a burden considering you are driving 600+ feet downhill and the last thing you need is to lose a disc and then spend hours looking for it. I would recommend a spotter on about half the course, especially hole #6 and the whole back nine.
I recently just played in the Crystal Mountain DG Tournament and had the time of my life. Not only was the weather perfect (windy but sunny), but the tourny director Dee (who is also the manager on the mountain) did a wonderful job making sure everyone was taken care of, including great player packs. The Snorting Elk did a nice job taking care of the players, with great food and even better drinks.
Note: Food is a little expensive so if your on a budget I would bring food. Camping was free as well in Lot B below lot A.
15 of 15 people found this review helpful.
11 Helpful / 1 Not
It's A Major Workout, All Right!
Pros: It is a major challenge. It's a major work out. It's tough on your knees, ankles, lungs and probably some other body parts I'm forgetting. The course is constantly playing up, down or across some extremely rugged terrain. Ski slopes are notoriously rough below the snow. There are chances to really air it out. Unfortunately, the day I played the wind was blowing something fierce, negating some of those fun throws. There are small signs and the course is fairly easy to follow. Maps are available in a couple of the restaurants there.
Cons: The teepads are natural, they're very rough and usually too short to get any kind of a run-up. The baskets are the single chain temporary jobbers but they were fine. I was amazed that I didn't lose any discs but actually at this high elevation the underbrush is not so thick.
Other Thoughts: I've never been enamoured of any of the ski slope courses I've played. I think they're kind of gimmicky. Like you play them once just for the experience. My overall opinion of this course might have rated higher if (A) The wind hadn't been been blowing hurricane force (B) It hadn't started raining when I was the furthest distance away from the parking lot. Really, by the time I got to the signature 18th hole, drenched and dog tired, I looked up at the teepad way up there and then down at the silly basket placement atop a 30' hill, and thought, #$$%^, I'm beat and skipped 18. Go challenge yourself at Crystal, I think I'll stick to courses at sea level.
11 of 12 people found this review helpful.
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