Pacific Northwest ski and snowboard areas were busy in the offseason gearing up not just for this winter season, but for years ahead.
The busiest, closest-to-Seattle winter destination is The Summit at Snoqualmie, with lots of improvements in progress.
“We’ve got projects brewing for the upcoming season along with a bigger one that will be completed by next season,” said Guy Lawrence, the ski area’s director of marketing. “We also have long-term visions in our master plan that’ll get people excited.”
The Summit recently broke ground on the new 10,000-square-foot Silver Fir Lodge, with the goal of completing the foundation this fall.
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The second phase of construction on the two-level lodge will begin next spring, and plans are to have it ready for operation by next winter.
“There will be a pretty decent amount of room in the new lodge, and the 4,989-square-foot top floor will consist of food and beverages while the bottom level will house the retail and rental space,” Lawrence said.
New this winter is a simplified loading system on the Pacific Crest quad lift at Summit West, which is geared for beginner and intermediate riders.
A new, safer conveyor system will allow the chair to run more efficiently with less stop-and-go time. Riders will wait behind a gate, and once it opens they’ll step onto the moving conveyor, which automatically loads them onto the chair.
New lift at 49 Degrees North
The biggest work project in the state happened in Eastern Washington at the 49 Degrees North Ski Area in Stevens County, where the new Angel Peak double chairlift will open this season.
“The new lift expands Angel Peak to about 400 acres of new terrain, and nine new trails,” said John Eminger, owner of 49 Degrees North. “It is a nice mix of terrain for beginners, intermediate and advanced skiers, and there are some nice gladed areas with well-spaced trees.”
The new lift will cover 1,144 vertical feet on Angel Peak, located northwest of the summit of Chewelah Mountain, and will move 1,000 guests per hour to the top.
Around the state
Mount Spokane Ski & Snowboard Park finished a 1,200-square-foot addition to the main lodge, adding 100 more seats and a new deck.
Stevens Pass ski area completed improvements on boxes and rails for snowboarders, creating more than 40 new features. This includes the new Space Needle Bonk, a 10-foot replica of the iconic Seattle tower that can be tapped, slid or soared over. Two new satellite parks will provide unique rail zones for beginner riders.
Lookout Pass Ski Area installed a new, beginner triple chairlift in the “Success” area, replacing a rope tow.
Schweitzer Mountain Resort has finished the Musical Chair lift by adding highly efficient chairs with restraining bars and outside bales, making for smoother loading.
At Silver Mountain Resort, the glades in Chair 4 Basin were expanded to add a new run.
New this winter at the Bogus Basin Mountain Recreation Area is the relocated Top to Bottom Terrain Park, which has features geared for all ages and ability levels.
At Sun Valley Resort the popular Adventure Trail Systems designed for skiers and boarders age 6 to 12 has been expanded to include two new runs, Pine Martin Plunge and Deer Hollow.
Brundage Mountain added 1,000 square feet of floor space to the main lodge, which includes the cafeteria.
The Lost Trail Powder Mountain on the Idaho-Montana border opened 300 new acres of tree skiing this winter.
Mt. Hood Meadows Ski Resort installed radio-frequency Identification gates at every lift so you can track accurately just how many vertical feet you’ve covered in a day. The resort boosted the Shooting Star high-speed quad lift by adding 20 chairs, increasing capacity by 30 percent.
The Mt. Seymour Resort has the new $5 million Mystery Peak Express high-speed Doppelmayr quad chairlift. The lift will help reduce wait time, and move skiers and boarders to the summit in only four minutes.
Red Mountain Resort, in Rossland, expanded on 997 more lift-served acres. It will create 22 new runs, including cruising runs, tree glades and challenging alpine chutes. The expansion boosts skiable area by 60 percent to 2,682 acres.
Lift service to Grey Mountain at Red will begin in the 2013-14 season, but it will be accessible this winter on the new Alpina Sherpa, a snowmobile-type bus that can shuttle up to nine people per trip.
Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, nestled in the Purcell and Rocky Mountain ranges near Golden, has a new learning center in the resort plaza. The center includes improved slope work at the base area for those carving their first turns. This area will house a new tube park.
Revelstoke Mountain Resort, perched on the powdery Selkirk and Monashee mountains, has completed another phase of its new village, which will open in December.
Mark Yuasa: 206-464-8780 or firstname.lastname@example.org