Bridger Bowl’s Red Chair to be installed on Backside of Mt. Spokane
Spokane, Wash. -- Mt. Spokane Ski & Snowboard Park reached another milestone this week as it relocated its new “Red Chair” chairlift from Bridger Bowl Ski Area to Spokane. The new chairlift and surrounding runs are part of a planned expansion on Mt. Spokane’s Northwest-facing slopes to serve a growing population of Inland Northwest skiers and outdoor enthusiasts with quality, affordable recreation.
Crews began disassembling and transporting the historic double chairlift from Bridger Bowl, a non-profit ski area to Mt. Spokane last month. The lift will provide access to over 80 acres of groomed trails and additional acres of lift-served tree skiing within an undeveloped 850-acre area. Plans call for it to be completed and open for the 2014-15 ski season.
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 acquired the necessary permits to begin the project. Local special-interest environmental groups are working to stop the expansion by creating hurdles for the landowner, Washington State Parks, based on legal claims about land classifications, which were previously dismissed by the court. In March, Spokane County placed a stay on the permit and the Spokane Hearing Examiner rendered a decision that concluded that the project remains viable, yet more specific and detailed information was needed in order to proceed.
“We’ve worked very hard with the Spokane community and regulatory agencies to create a plan that many believe balances recreation and stewardship priorities,” said Brad McQuarrie, General Manager of Mt. Spokane Ski & Snowboard Park. “Our vision for the expansion remains strong, yet a series of very technical, specific questions posed by opponents need to be addressed.” McQuarrie added that it is working on a variety of studies and plans to address concerns and submit with its permit reapplication this year.
Over the past decade, MS 2000 has conducted extensive studies, planning and public process that involved the participation and collaboration of numerous public agencies and organizations, including an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).
The same group filed an appeal on the Washington State Parks Commission’s land classification of the backside, which was thrown out in summary judgment in February 2012. They appealed again to the Superior Court. That appeal was heard last spring in Tacoma, and a decision is expected this year.
“There’s extensive planning and tremendous community support for this expansion.” McQuarrie added. “People understand the significant benefits and positive impacts it represents for our region and, as always, we want to work together on finding solutions so that it will be successful.”
For more information, visit www.mtspokane.com/news
• After meeting dozens of requirements and significant public process that generated support and approval for Mt. Spokane’s expansion, Mt. Spokane (MS2000) received a permit to expand, adding an additional chairlift and seven ski runs on the mountain’s backside.
• MS 2000 has conducted extensive studies, planning and public process that involved the participation and collaboration of numerous public agencies and organizations, including an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).
• The expansion involves 80-acres of land within an 850-acre parcel designated Potential Alpine Ski Expansion Area (PASEA) on the mountain’s backside. Of the 850-acre parcel identified as the PASEA, 80 acres (9%) have been classified for recreational use where the expansion will occur and it will restrict the remaining 770 acres from future development with more restrictive classifications.