Rising from the center of the sprawling Mt. Spokane State Park, Mt. Spokane has been a local hotspot for riders of all skill levels for more than 80 years. Six lifts offer access to 52 runs across 1,704 skiable acres, as well as numerous tree-sheltered powder stashes. Freestylers can hone their tricks in the resort's popular terrain park, which will boast a few fresh features this season, and maybe get involved in a grassroots effort to add a rope-tow for even faster park laps. General manager Jim van Löben Sels says Mt. Spokane is working on putting together a user group to fine-tune the idea, an effort very much in keeping with the mountain's family-friendly, community-centric spirit.
What's new: Skiers and snowboarders will be stoked to learn that lifts at Mt. Spokane will be turning seven days a week through this coming January and February, and that those lifts will load 10 minutes earlier than usual (at 8:50 a.m., to be precise). According to Löben Sels, the resort has also contracted with local chef Chad White to up their restaurant game and develop handy grab-and-go options to "really tell a different story about food and skiing." Season pass holders are guaranteed all the riding they can handle this season. But in response to COVID-19, Mt. Spokane will be limiting capacity on peak weekends and holidays, and once the cap on day passes is reached for a particular date, online sales will close. Face coverings will be mandatory in all indoor settings and in lift lines, Löben Sels says, and non-family lesson groups will max out at six. Most importantly, extended time indoors is going to be a no-no. "This is not a spectator sport year," Löben Sels says. "The lodges are not going to be a spot where people can camp out for the day."
Making the most of it: Last season's early closure definitely stung. But those who weren't able to fully explore the terrain off the new Northwood lift have something to look forward to. Plus, Löben Sels adds, if you order your day pass a week early, the resort will mail it to you. That way you can boot up at your vehicle and head straight to the slopes, something Mt. Spokane is encouraging all riders to do to keep themselves and others safe in 2020-21.