Bridger Bowl’s Alpine Chair to be installed on Backside of Mt. Spokane
Spokane, Wash. -- Mt. Spokane Ski & Snowboard Park’s Board of Directors and staff today announced the purchase of an additional chairlift, which is part of a planned expansion to serve a growing population of recreational skiers and outdoor enthusiasts throughout the Inland Northwest. Known as the “Red Chair,” it will be installed on Mt. Spokane’s northwest-facing slopes.
The lift comes from Montana’s Bridger Bowl Ski Area, a Riblet fixed-grip double, known as the Alpine Chair, or as simply the “Red Chair”. Construction is expected to begin this spring, starting with disassembling and transporting the historic lift from Bridger Bowl, a non-profit ski area, to Mt. Spokane, also a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Plans call for it to be completed and open for the 2014-15 ski season.
“Both Bridger Bowl and Mt. Spokane staff share excitement and pride that this chairlift will remain in a ski area whose primary purpose is to provide quality and affordable winter recreation to the local community,” said Brad McQuarrie, general manager of Mt. Spokane Ski & Snowboard Park.
The legendary chairlift has a long and storied history, including ties to the Spokane community from its inception, as Riblet Tramway Company was the original builder of this chairlift based in Spokane. A total of 1,250 people per hour will be able to access the backside expansion area via the new chairlift. The Red Chair will feature a rise of 1,600 vertical feet, and a horizontal length of 4,500 feet. Many upgrades to this lift were completed at Bridger Bowl; including a newer 200 horsepower DC drive motor, new electrical & control systems, and a new CTED hydraulic tensioner.
The lift will provide access to over 80 acres of groomed trails and additional acres of lift-served tree skiing. Seven new runs are planned in the backside expansion area. Preconstruction activities are underway, preparing for groundbreaking on this terrain to begin this spring. Mt. Spokane received approval from Washington State’s Parks & Recreation Commission to expand operational terrain into the Northwest quadrant of the mountain in the spring of 2011, and has since acquired the necessary permits to begin the project.
“After nearly a decade of working with the Spokane community and regulatory agencies to create a plan that balances recreation and stewardship priorities, we are eager to move forward with this significant improvement in the ski area’s offerings,” said McQuarrie.
MS 2000 has conducted extensive studies, planning and public process that involved the participation and collaboration of numerous of public agencies and organizations, including an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). One local special-interest environmental group continues working to stop the expansion by creating hurdles for the land owner, Washington State Parks, based on legal claims about land classifications, which have already been dismissed by the court, but is on appeal. This group is also challenging Spokane County’s approval of Mount Spokane Ski and Snowboard Park’s ski run construction. Construction will begin following hearings scheduled this spring.
“What this means is that we’ll continue preparing for construction, and once these issues are resolved, we’ll move forward quickly on the expansion,” McQuarrie added.