By Craig Hill and John Gillie
The News Tribune
The temperature was 17 degrees an hour before sunrise Saturday when Crystal Mountain skiers began queuing up to become the first to ride Washington's only ski area gondola.
That two-hour outdoor wait for the 9 a.m. inaugural trip up the mountain was well worth whatever discomfort those hardy skiers experienced, said Crystal Mountain spokeswoman Justus Hyatt. The new year’s first day dawned with a nearly cloudless view of nearby Mount Rainier and the snow-tipped Cascades.