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Originally published November 12, 2011 at 7:00 PM | Page modified November 14, 2011 at 10:07 AM

Changes on the slopes should give skiers a lift

Pacific Northwest skiers and snowboarders can look forward to a fun-filled winter, with plenty of new things on the slopes.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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Once the snow arrives, Pacific Northwest skiers and snowboarders can look forward to a fun-filled winter.

While it may not rival last year's huge face-lifts including the Crystal Mountain gondola, the reopening of Snoqualmie's Summit East or expansion of Paradise Basin at White Pass, there are still plenty of things to get excited about this season.

Washington

The Summit at Snoqualmie's Summit West installed a fully enclosed, 210-foot, moving carpet lift for "first-timers."

"The newly enclosed lift will replace the existing magic carpet, and the original magic carpet is now where the old rope tow used to be off the plaza," Holly Lippert, public-relations manager at The Summit, said.

At Alpental there's a newly constructed 384-square-foot ski-patrol station near the top of the Armstrong Express Quad.

This facility lets guests interact with the patrol and learn more about backcountry safety.

Summit Central's Silver Fir terrain will benefit from the regrading of Hog Wild Trail and construction of an enhanced connector trail, which links the Silver Fir and Golden Nugget trails.

"We did a lot of regrooming and regrading at Silver Fir for a more consistent pitch and widening of the connector trails," Lippert said. "This will make it more intermediate friendly."

The Mount Baker Ski Area has invested $3.5 million in the construction of a mid-mountain warming hut, which is expected to be open by mid-December.

Steeped in the traditions of 1920-'30s Cascadian architecture, the new Raven's Hut will provide indoor seating for 300.

Less than a year after opening an $8 million gondola, Crystal Mountain Resort continues to invest and expand with two retail shops, a new rental fleet, snow-making and more new gondola cabins.

"The extended ski season and summer operations kept revenue coming in, allowing us to increase spending on additional improvements," said Tiana Enger, a Crystal Resort spokeswoman.

Five new gondola cabins are set to arrive in early spring at a cost of $200,000, bringing the count up to 27 cabins. The gondola cable can carry 36 cabins.

Other changes include extensive tree limbing and stump removal on Upper Exterminator and Bull Run, a new event plaza in the base area, and rock work at the bottom of the gondola.

Oregon

Providing access from the main base area to a ridge near the Heather Canyon lift's upper terminal, Mt. Hood Meadows Ski Resort's new Stadium Express Quad greatly improves access to the northern terrain and lifts.

It also will boost out-of-base lift capacity, shorten lift-line queues in the base area and improve lift service for night operations.

More than $3.5 million was invested at the Mt. Bachelor Resort toward upgrades in all the lodges and work on existing high-speed lifts such as Skyliner, Northwest and Summit Express.

The new Umbrella Bar for Sunrise Lodge will seat up to 60 people in a heated, circular structure with removable glass walls and a retractable umbrella ceiling for sunny days.

Timberline Lodge & Ski Area invested more than $1.5 million in improvements to the Wy'east Day Lodge, with construction of a new mezzanine with seating for 140 people.

Idaho

The Bogus Basin Mountain Recreation Area replaced its venerable Superior Chairlift with a $5 million high-speed Superior Express Quad that will move twice as many people twice as fast.

The Lookout Pass Ski Area completed a lodge addition, adding seating for 80 more guests, and added a large sun deck.

Schweitzer Mountain Resort constructed a 700-foot zip line, which will operate during the summer and winter seasons, weather permitting.

At Silver Mountain Resort they've created the Gold Pan Alley — a new children's adventure trail — and expanded the gladed terrain in the basin served by Chair 3.

Montana

Whitefish Mountain Resort installed the Bad Rock triple chairlift to provide an additional way up the mountain from the Base Lodge (access to chairs 1, 2, 3 and 4 and the Upper Village's dining, retail, and lodging properties). The resort also developed a new bar in the third level of The Base Lodge.

British Columbia

Fernie Alpine Resort installed the Polar Peak Lift, giving the area 3,550 vertical feet of terrain. It adds an above-tree-line bowl-skiing experience with over 22 new runs and the experience of skiing off the summit of one of the highest peaks in the Lizard Range, Polar Peak.

At Whitewater Ski Resort the new Glory Ridge area boasts 18 marked gladed, treed and groomed runs of primarily intermediate and advanced/expert terrain.

In between these runs are an uncountable amount of unmarked runs, increasing the total vertical drop to 2,044 feet.

New family features are planned this winter at Revelstoke Mountain Resort, including a village-based beginner area and tube park and a kids' center. The lower-mountain project will be accessible by a new 580-foot conveyor lift.

Mark Yuasa: 206-464-8780 or myuasa@seattletimes.com

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