Checking out Crystal Mountain’s Dirtbag Ball

The Pacific Northwest has no shortage of nature's bounty—the Cascade Range, the Pacific Ocean, Columbia River Gorge, and more mountains, lakes, streams, canyons, and waterfalls than you can count in a lifetime serve testament to that. But while there are many places in the Pacific Northwest that could go on any outdoor enthusiast's List, there are also just as many outrageous events. One of these events goes down every March at Washington's Crystal Mountain. The Dirtbag Ball is a dance party put on by the Crystal ski patrol, but it is better described as one of the biggest gatherings of ski bums in the country. Not “ski bums” in the liberal sense of the word, but people who have actually made a living off doing whatever it takes to get some good powder turns. One past winner spent a winter in the employee housing for free, convincing everybody he was a "grooming inspector," only to later admit he was never actually employed (by anyone).

Crystal instructor Nick Langelotti knows the ingredients to a good time: Big mountains, cheap beer, tight jeans, and a mullet to match

Crystal instructor Nick Langelotti knows the ingredients to a good time: big mountains, cheap beer, tight jeans, and a mullet to match

Despite the rough-around-the-edges stories, these bums know how to have a good time, and welcome anyone else who likes to do the same. I was lucky enough to wander up to this year's Dirtbag Ball to celebrate another successful ski season in the PNW, and let me assure all the skiers and snowboarders in the Seattle area (and that's a lot of you), this is one party that you don't want to miss.

Because Crystal celebrated its 50th year this year, the theme for the night's festivities was "Gold, Glitz, and Glamour". Here's four people that nailed it.

Because Crystal celebrated its 50th year this year, the theme for the night’s festivities was “Gold, Glitz, and Glamour.” Here are four people who nailed it.

Gold ski boots you say? This guy kept things classy all night.

Gold ski boots you say? This guy kept things classy all night.

The Bullwheel at Crystal played host to a slew of different styles Saturday night. These are just two of them.

The Bullwheel at Crystal played host to a slew of different styles Saturday night. These are just two of them.

Then the dancing started...

Then the dancing started…

...and this happened.

…and this happened.

After a night of raucous dancing, and an unbelievable collection of fellow dirtbags, I already can’t wait until next year.