Mt. Spokane Ski & Snowboard Park and a Spokane-based conservation group are wrangling over a proposed expansion of the ski area on the backside of the mountain. The Lands Council filed a complaint in Thurston County Superior Court last June to halt the expansion, which would include a new chairlift and seven new runs. Lands Council Executive Director Mike Petersen says the expansion would encroach on wetlands and old-growth forests.
General manager of the park Brad McQuarrie says the project would submit an environmental impact statement and would be as non-invasive as possible.
The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission has already green-lighted the expansion by designating the mountain’s backside as “recreation area” last May. Petersen says the complaint is intended to make the commission evaluate the expansion’s impact on the entire mountain, which could lead to it being labeled “natural forest” and therefore not open to this expansion.
Since filing the complaint, Petersen says the Lands Council has spoken with the park’s concessionaries, but failed to reach an agreement. They will next meet with the Commission directly to hash out an agreement.
“Yeah, we still want to give it another shot to reach some resolution outside of court,” Petersen says. Court cases such as these can take over a year to resolve.
McQuarrie says the complaint will not have any effect on the ski resort’s regular operations.
Welcome to Snowlander
Every year at this time, it’s a guessing game as to when we might start skiing. We’re always hopeful of a Thanksgiving opening, but we know that many years December is the first month for sliding on snow.
Going into a season guessing keeps me on pins and needles. Every little shift in the weather has me thinking the big storm is rolling in. And last season was one of wonder. Early season, I was wondering if the snow was going to keep falling in such epic proportions. In January I was wondering if it was ever going to stop raining. In May, I was wondering if the snow would ever let up. Overall, a great year.
Now ski season is a reachable grasp away. Ski movie premieres are in full swing, garages are being cleaned out as old gear is dropped off at local swaps. Life is consumed with finding the perfect jacket, dreaming about buying new ski goggles (even though I already have way too many) and scraping off the old wax and getting the tuning bench all set up.
Here at The Inlander, we’ve been busy plotting a new chapter in the local ski scene — Snowlander, your resource for skiing and riding all over the Northwest. In addition to the monthly printed insert in The Inlander, starting with the one you are reading right now, we’ll be keeping you posted on all developments in the local scene every week online.
So check out our new web page, Snowlander.com, for an interactive resort map, stories, blog posts and enter-to-win contests. We’ll also be actively updating our page at Facebook.com/SnowlanderNW. That’s where you can post comments, read the latest news items and check out user snapshots and videos. Check ’em both out now and you can enter to win either a brand-new Rossignol snowboard or a pair of Rossignol skis.
Keep looking for snow, and hopefully by this time next month I’ll be writing this between powder turns!
Jen Forsyth Snowlander Editor firstname.lastname@example.org