Funny that you say that. I went to Crystal Mountain just last week _and_ for the last day at Alpental for Cinco de Mayo. I am heading over to CM this weekend as well on Saturday. Right now I am doing it via meetup groups.
That was my first day at CM last week and it was intimidating.
That's a big mountain for my first season riding and the view of Mt. Rainier is amazing from there.
At the top I felt like a ship with sails - the wind was damn strong.
Also some random skier gave me a pole ride (no-homo) on the cat track.