The Northwest enjoyed another great winter season last year with plentiful snow. During the pre-season, resort work crews have been busy with chairlift installations, building out bike parks, and significant enhancements to guest service buildings. As is the case each fall, all ski area operators are ‘tuning up’ ski lifts, day lodges, parking facilities, and the compelling array of ski school programs.
To provide more terrain for beginners transitioning to intermediate level Mt. Hood Meadows Ski Resort has repurposed four (4) acres serviced by the resort’s “Easy Rider” formerly used for terrain parks. Meadows has also given a face-lift to Paradise Sun Deck by adding an ice melt system enabling the Alpenstube Restaurant to extend sit down service outdoors whenever the weather allows. Celebrating its 50th anniversary during the 2013-14 season Mt. Ashland will be have an additional 101 new parking spaces providing up to 225 additional guests on any given peak day. With the dirt from the expanded parking lot Mt. Ashland will to re-contour the Sonnet beginner slope to make a better experience for first time skiing and riding guests. Also, Mt. Ashland will have a new beacon park open to the public near their lodge and will be offering classes on beacon use in cooperation with the Southern Oregon Nordic Club and Mt. Ashland Ski Patrol. With Forest Service approval of a master development plan Mt. Bachelor began work on the first new trail pod since 1996. A new, lower east catchline has already been constructed and trees have been felled for the new lift line and several trails in the pod. The lift installation is at least a year away so preparations to open all the terrain down to the new, lower east catchline this winter are underway. This will open 646 acres of new glades, bowls and natural features. For this season the terrain will be mostly un-groomed and 100% natural and will take a 20 minute hike-out to the Sunrise base. At Mt Hood SkiBowl the parking lot rope tow is being replaced by a state of the art, 220 foot long conveyor lift to create a better experience learning the sport for new skiers and riders. One hundred (100) new, four person tubes have been added to the tubing flotilla, increasing hill capacity by a third, as well as a the addition of a second adventure lane. Extensive brush cutting and slope maintenance work this off-season will help with opening terrain earlier in the season.
Wanting to reduce the chairlift ride time in the popular Mill Valley terrain Stevens Pass Mountain Resort has replace the Jupiter fixed-grip quad chair with a new high-speed quad, Jupiter Express. Stevens Pass also will add new gladded terrain in the South Park area as well as expand gladding in Corona, Pegasus and Orion areas. The Summit at Snoqualmie will open the new Silver Fir Lodge in the 2013-2014 to provide a better experience for guests with a boost in service, food variety and seating at Summit Central, as well as introduce a second option for skiers and snowboarders enjoying Summit East. At Crystal Mountain the new $2.5 million dollar sewer treatment plant is complete and treatment has been switched over to the new plant. The new system meets all current state discharge standards and is capable of being enhanced to meet future standards. Ski Bluewood is celebrating its 35th Anniversary Season with many new improvements, most notably the addition of a Pisten Bully Park Bully to the grooming fleet, continuing their commitment and expansion of freestyle terrain features in The Parks at Bluewood. Also, Bluewood has added a new Point of Sale system and lodge enhancements such as the addition of changing rooms, a little more room in the rental department and an expanded food & beverage menu. Last season the new Angel Peak Chairlift at 49O North Mountain Resort received positive reviews. During the 2013-2014 season 49° North will be meeting with the Forest Service to begin planning an expansion to their base lodge and facilities.
50th Anniversary enhancements at Schweitzer Mountain Resort include a new sun deck outside of Taps Lounge in the Lakeview Lodge, cutting a new F.I.S. homologated downhill course and the addition of a new terrain park “Southside Progression Park” located next to The Stomping Grounds Terrain Park on Crystal Run. At Silver Mountain two new runs were cut adding to the “Bootlegger” run that was cut for the 2012-2013 season plus brush and alder removal along with thinning of gladded terrain areas adding new lines and opening more terrain.
Alyeska Resort is replacing their existing Chair 6 with the installation of a new high‐speed detachable quad. Chair 6 provides skiers and snowboarders with lift access to the upper mountain trails at Alyeska Resort and is considered by many as heart and soul of Alyeska Ski Resort. Popular skiing and snowboarding runs accessed by Chair 6 include Christmas Chute and the North Face, Silvertip, Trapline, Mighty Mite and High Traverse.
Whitefish Mountain Resort has increased their lodge seating by 100 with a 1,200 square-foot addition to the Base Lodge. The new room will be located slope side on the northeast corner of the Base Lodge. Whitefish also cut four new intermediate runs and two connector runs for a total of approximately 32 acres. Guests will be able to access three of the four main runs and one connector run via the existing Big Foot T-Bar.
For additional information on these exciting developments in the mountains, please visit your favorite mountain’s website or call (877)533-5520.
The Pacific Northwest Ski Areas Association is a non-profit trade association, which represents the interests of ski and snowboard facilities located in Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Idaho, Montana, and California. The Association’s 34 member ski areas – most of which operate on public land – collectively host an average of 5.6 million visits annually. For additional information on Pacific Northwest skiing and snowboarding, contact the PNSAA office at (877) 533-5520, or visit https://pnsaa.org to link to the website of your favorite mountain.