Crystal Mountain is being sold, creating more tasty ticket options for skiers

ENUMCLAW, Wash. -- One of Washington's largest ski resorts is being sold, opening up some enticing pass opportunities for Northwest skiers and boarders.

Alterra Mountain Company announced Thursday it planned to buy Crystal Mountain Resort.  Alterra owns dozens of ski resorts across world, including heavy hitters Steamboat in Colorado and Mammoth Mountain in California.

Crystal has 10 lifts, one gondola and 2,600 acres terrain.

It will become part of Alterra's Icon Pass system. The Icon Pass - which starts at $699 - gives skiers access to 36 resorts across the country, including limited access to Summit at Snoqualmie.

The Icon Pass is an alternative option to Vail Resorts' Epic Pass, which includes nearby resorts Stevens Pass and Whistler-Blackcomb, said Powder Magazine's Executive Editor Matt Hansen.

"Alterra has come up as the rival to Vail Resorts and this wide-spread mass acquisition of resorts," Hansen said. "If you're living in Seattle you will go one or the other. Are you going Epic or Ikon?"

Hansen said Alterra's bid to buy Crystal Mountain "isn't surprising" given the trend of ski resorts going to bigger corporations. Resort operations likely won't change much, Hansen said, but it could mean more out-of-towners taking advantage of the Ikon Pass.

"Maybe more skiers," Hansen said when asked how the resort would change. "Which is good for people who are looking to ski new places, but maybe something the longtime locals won't appreciate."

The few ski resorts that remain independently owned, like Mt. Baker, may see fewer people as skiers gravitate toward group passes, Hansen said.

Crystal's sale is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2018, depending on regulatory approvals. The terms of the deal were not immediately released.

The mountain's current owner, John Kircher, will likely retire from the ski business, said Crystal Mountain's spokesperson Tiana Anderson.