NW slopes get a lift — and lots of other new stuff
Ski and snowboard areas all across the Pacific Northwest have been busy during the offseason installing new chairlifts and creating base-area enhancements, ski-trail projects and other amenities. Here's a roundup.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Snow Sports 2008
Ski and snowboard areas across the Pacific Northwest and in British Columbia have been busy during the offseason installing new chairlifts and creating base-area enhancements, ski-trail projects and other amenities.
Here's what's new for this winter:
The Summit at Snoqualmie purchased a $4.5-million, high-speed quad chairlift to replace the Silver Fir triple chairlift at Summit Central.
The new Silver Fir Express will shorten the ride time to approximately four minutes while increasing the uphill capacity to 2,400 guests per hour.
The Summit at Snoqualmie has completed several other projects, including a new parking lot near the Silver Fir Express, the Alpental Road repaving project, a plaza extension at Summit Central, rental equipment replacement at Alpental and Summit Central, and new drive motors for Reggie's and Easy Street chairlifts.
The Mount Baker Ski Area spent $1.7 million to upgrade Chair One to a fixed-grip, quad chairlift — nearly doubling its uphill lift capacity.
With the installation of a new drain field, Crystal Mountain ski resort completed its renovation of the Summit House Restaurant, which is the highest full-service restaurant in the state.
Improving access to the ski area and overall parking capacity was the focus of improvements at Mission Ridge, near Wenatchee. The $11 million rehabilitation and upgrade of Mission Ridge Road is part of a two-year project that was completed last month. The area also boosted its parking capacity by 95 spaces.
Mount Spokane Ski and Snowboard Park near Spokane completed an extensive remodel of Lodge 2's kitchen and concessions area to improve and streamline the food-buying and dining experience.
The Mount Spokane State Park Road has also been widened, straightened and repaved to improve ski area access.
The staff at 49 Degrees North ski area in Eastern Washington spent the summer designing new alpine trails and gladed descents in the terrain west of Chair Four on Angel Peak. The resort will construct these trails and glades during the next three summers in combination with additional surface parking in the nordic parking lot.
One of the biggest changes occurred at Mount Bachelor, which added 150 acres of skiable terrain below Cow's Face by connecting and enhancing the east and west "catch lines."
The resort also invested in its lift network ($500,000 in lift maintenance and repair) and improved access to the ski area. This included construction of a park-and-ride facility in nearby Bend, purchasing an additional Super Shuttle Bus and developing a new heated walkway at Sunrise Lodge.
The Cooper Spur Ski Area near Hood River built a new ticket office, separating its ticketing and equipment-rental operations.
The Mount Hood Meadows ski resort constructed a new medical clinic and ski-patrol headquarters in the resort's base area. Plus, nearly 200 acres of advanced, off-piste terrain was made accessible (lift-served by the resort's Hood River Express Chairlift). The resort replaced its Fun Zone rope tow with a 280-foot, fully enclosed, SunKid Wonder Carpet conveyor. The ski area also remodeled its North and South lodges.
Timberline ski area on Mount Hood has refined the eight new Still Creek Basin trails (opened last winter), offering skiers and riders improved signage, trail enhancements and more milling space at the lower terminal of the Jeff Flood Express Chairlift. Timberline also improved its beginner hill, which has been outfitted with a Magic Carpet Ski Lift conveyor.
To facilitate opening the ski season Thanksgiving weekend or earlier, Schweitzer Mountain Resort invested $5 million in snow-making equipment. Snow-making coverage will blanket Midway Run with snow from the top of the Basin Express Quad down to the village.
Brundage Mountain Resort has a new midmountain food and beverage outlet. The 1,300-square-foot log structure sits at the top of one of the area's two new chairlifts (built in 2007-08), the Bear Chair.
The Sun Valley Resort Nordic Center has been relocated to the new 58,000-square-foot Sun Valley Club. This facility features a restaurant, bar (indoors and out), men's and women's lockers and lounges, equipment storage and repair and rental shop.
Silver Mountain Resort has opened a year-round indoor water park. It's the only winter resort in the West that combines skiing/snowboarding with a year-round water park, nearly the size of a football field. The Silver Rapids Waterpark is a warm 84 degrees every day.
Silver Mountain has also expanded its parking lot at the base of the gondola with 200 more parking spots.
The Bogus Basin Mountain Resort now offers a new yurt that guests can rent overnight. It is located on the nordic trail system and is ski-in/ski-out only (no motorized vehicles allowed). The yurt will sleep 10 guests with four bunk beds and a futon.
In addition, approximately 150 additional parking spaces have been added to Bogus Creek parking lot Number 4 (located off Pioneer Road) with ski-in/ski-out access to Silver Queen, and the access point behind Simplot Lodge has been widened to ease congestion.
Lookout Pass Ski & Recreation Area near Wallace constructed a 1,600-square-foot addition to the ski area's rental shop building, and added one acre to its guest parking facility.
The new Summit House Café deck has been completed at Lookout, and is ready to provide mountaintop food service with a panoramic view.
By far the biggest change is Whistler-Blackcomb's new Peak 2 Peak gondola that will link Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains with operations beginning Dec. 12 (see cover story).
Revelstoke Mountain Resort in the Selkirk Mountains will have two new lifts this winter, plus a new high-speed quad in the North Bowl area. The resort's two-stage high-speed gondola has now been extended into their new village area.
All these upgrades at Revelstoke will result in the highest lift-serviced vertical in North America (surpassing Whistler) at 5,620 feet.
Cypress Mountain, 30 minutes from downtown Vancouver, has added a new base day lodge with restaurant and pub, between the Eagle Express and Lions Express quad chairlifts. Lighting for Humpty Dumpty and Rainbow runs will bring out night skiers and riders, while an array of ski-run improvements and two new SnoCats mean even better terrain to plow down.
The Raven Quad chair at Cypress has a new gladed run through the forest that makes its way to a scenic clearing, providing a panoramic view of Vancouver, the Lower Mainland and Mount Baker.
Sun Peaks Resort near Kamloops and Kicking Horse Resort near Calgary will have some new gladed terrain for skiers and snowboarders to explore.
Mark Yuasa: 206-464-8780 or email@example.com
Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company
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