James took Monday off to come with me to Crystal. =) He skied but said next time there’s a day like that he’ll take his snowboard instead. I think he was a bit frustrated at how often his skis were popping off in the ungroomed snow.
There was lots of fresh snow but it was quite heavy and wet. The mountain was shockingly empty – probably the least busy day I’ve been this season (including Superbowl Sunday). We never had to wait for the lift and hardly saw anyone else on the runs. It’s indescribably better than going on a weekend.
I think my favourite part of the day was an amazing run we did down a near-pristine hill. We had to hike a bit to get out of it since we didn’t know where we were and hadn’t built up enough speed. I thought it was sooo worth it but although James acknowledged the run was fantastic I think he was a bit traumatised by the walk.
Look at that view!
The second best part of the day was when I was on a flat and an enormous flock of birds flew past me. There were so many of them that I spent maybe 10 seconds in the middle of a tiny bird storm. I waited for James, trying to think how I’d describe it, and as he went across the flat the birds flew past again. =D
I wish I’d taken a photo of it because it was crazy. The only thing better than gliding on the snow surrounded by 100+ birds was seeing it happen to James. It was absolutely one of the highlights of the day.
Afterwards we went to The Cheesecake Factory. I’ve been meaning to go because our friends told us it has giant portions and it seems like such an American experience. Plus it was right outside where the shuttle dropped us off.
We ordered lots of cocktails (post-snowboarding tradition). Here is a blood orange margarita and an Asian pear margarita:
And later on, a dirty martini and chocolate banana liqueur milkshake:
I didn’t really think about it at the time, but the cocktails really drove up the price of the meal. If we ate here again I would definitely not drink so much. But it was so much fun. =) We were laughing the whole meal – or at least I was!
James: (with affectionate disapproval) You are drunk on snowboarding and mild amounts of alcohol.
When our meals arrived I was initially a little disappointed at how un-huge the portions looked. But after snacking on the bread I didn’t actually have a lot of room left over.
I ordered the chicken bellagio (and ate about 1/3, leaving the rest for James to take to work the next day).
James ordered the buffalo burger with a side of onion rings (and ate all of it, the fat fuck).
We also ordered 2 slices of cheesecake because we had a voucher for free cheesecake. I could have sworn I took a picture of them, but apparently I didn’t. James got the Reese’s Pieces one and I got the Oreo cheesecake. James ate about half his and we literally took 2 bites of mine (one each). In all fairness my milkshake was pretty much a dessert in itself.
The bill was $92 before applying free cheesecake vouchers and I think it went down to $70 or so afterwards. Like I said earlier, it would have been normal chain prices if we hadn’t included the cocktails. Our American friends don’t think much of The Cheesecake Factory but I’d be lying if I said we didn’t have a great time.
You can definitely get better food, better value food, and better value better food elsewhere, but The Cheesecake Factory really hit the spot for a post-snow meal. The service was great (there were heaps of waiters. It looked like there were 2 for every diner – maybe TCF is the Apple store of chain restaurants) and they even managed to find a spot to store James’ skis and my board while we ate. =)
It was an awesome day at Crystal. I hope we can sneak one more weekday trip before the season ends (with James bringing his board instead of skis). But next week we’re off to Hawaii to learn how to surf.
It will be fun to see beaches and sand again, but I think after a week I’ll be ready to come back to the beautiful mountains of the PNW. =)