Here’s your Guide for what’s new on the slopes
By Diane Rudholm
Photo at right: Snow is sent flying behind a skier at 49 Degrees North. Photo courtesy of 49 Degrees North
49 Degrees North
49 Degrees North has added new terrain park features and rental gear to its offerings. It will also install a new Verizon cell phone tower this season.
New this winter, 49 Degrees North will have a “Season Pass +.” The plus sign means that your pass gets you free lift tickets to other resorts — two tickets to Bluewood in southeastern Washington, two tickets to Loup Loup, three lifts to Mission Ridge and a whopping five tickets to White Pass Ski Area. www.ski49n.com
Crystal Mountain’s damaged High Campbell chair from last winter was replaced with a new fixed-grip double (officially renamed “Chair 6”) during the summer.
And, the Quicksilver double fixed-grip chairlift is being swapped for a more efficient fixed-grip quad.
There are now three remote avalanche-release system exploders at the top of Powder Bowl to help with avalanche control work, and the ski area has installed a generator capable of powering all base-area facilities in the event of a major power outage.
Additional snowmaking capabilities are on the way for 2015 –16! www.crystalmountainresort.com
Loup Loup Ski Bowl
Loup Loup Ski Bowl—run by the nonprofit Loup Loup Ski Education Foundation—is open for business. While the ski area did feel the heat from last summer’s nearby Carlton Complex wildfire, the ski area runs, buildings and lifts were not affected due to the amazing work of the firefighting crews.
Loup Loup used its annual fundraiser (this year called the Taste of Three Valleys) as an opportunity to put money toward assisting school-age children of families who lost homes in the Carlton Complex fires. www.skitheloup.com
Scenic Methow Valley offers 120 miles of world-class trails for Nordic skiers. The Methow Community Trail links the towns of Winthrop and Mazama and includes a chance to ski the 275-foot Tawlks-Foster Suspension
Bridge over the Methow River. Cross-country skiers can trek from lodge to lodge or bakery to bakery for a fun adventure regardless of experience level. More challenging trails are accessible along the main route. www.methowtrails.org
Mission Ridge’s Mountain Music Festival has been extended to 10 Saturdays this season, which are scheduled alongside 10 Saturdays of night skiing.
Festival nights will be headlined by top-notch musical acts in the Chair 5 Pub in Hampton Lodge. For a complete list of music acts stay tuned on the Mission Ridge website—and don’t forget to book your overnight stay in nearby Wenatchee for a full weekend of music, snow and fun. www.missionridge.com
Mt. Baker Ski Area
Mt. Baker Ski Area has a new exchange program with Mt. Hood Meadows for the 2014 –15 season, with five free days available to each other’s unlimited pass holders.
The free days are valid Monday through Friday from Jan. 5–Feb. 28; and then any day beginning March 1 for the rest of the season.
There is also a new, less expensive ticket category for children ages 7–10. This age group was previously included in the “youth category,” which is now for ages 11–15. www.mtbaker.us
Mt. Spokane has added to its freestyle offerings with another brand-new Terrain Park. The new Natural Park will be the third freestyle terrain area at the mountain and features new all-natural hits, jibs and rails. Existing parks include the almost mile-long Terrain Park, and the Progression Park geared specifically for beginners.
At press time, the ski area was awaiting a favorable Washington State Parks Commission decision on Mt. Spokane’s Terrain Expansion. www.mtspokane.com
The events at Stevens Pass this year will keep you coming back for more!
Check out events for snow enthusiasts ages 3 – 6 at Burton Riglet Park on Dec. 13, Jan. 17 and Feb. 14.
Or, attend the second annual S.A.F.E. A.S. clinic on Dec. 14 where you can learn what you need to know about avalanche and snow safety.
Plus, there’s the always popular TUBBS Romp to Stomp on Feb. 7 on Stevens’ world-class Nordic trails. www.stevenspass.com
Summit at Snoqualmie
The Summit at Snoqualmie is investing approximately $3.5 million in improvements (large and small) to the resort for this winter season.
The resort’s new Rampart Chair on Summit East is scheduled to be up and running and its fixed-grip quad chair features an easy-load conveyor system.
Alpental will receive lighting improvements and several winch anchors to expand the resort’s winch-grooming capabilities. www.summitatsnoqualmie.com
White Pass Ski Area
During spring of 2014, White Pass Ski Area’s terrain park moved to the Rib Eye area, which is part of the resort’s recent expansion.
This season you can expect more man-made snow below the 4,500 foot elevation mark.
A glimpse into the years to come: White Pass is seeking official approval to expand its Nordic area to include 60 percent more terrain and trails. www.skiwhitepass.com
More Washington Ski Areas/Resources!
Cascade Powder Cats: www.cascadepowdercats.com
Echo Ridge: www.lakechelannordic.org
Hurricane Ridge: www.hurricaneridge.net
Leavenworth Sports Club: www.skileavenworth.com
North Cascade Heli Skiing: www.heli-ski.com