Mt. Spokane is well-known as the region's favorite place to ski and snowboard, and readers have again made their voices heard in the Inlander's annual Best Of issue.
Mt. Spokane has been voted the Best Place To Snowboard for over a decade
, and was inducted into the Inlander's Best Of Hall Of Fame on March 19th.
Read below for the article from The Inlander
You could chalk up Mt. Spokane's enduring popularity with snowboarders to its rapid addition of terrain parks in recent years. These are designated areas with jumps, slopes and rails — both natural and manmade, all of which fall under the blanket term "features" — where riders of various skill levels can attempt and perfect new tricks.
In the past two years alone, the nonprofit ski and snowboard facility has built two such parks. The first is Progression Park, which Kristin Whitaker, marketing and mountain services manager, describes as "an introduction to freestyle."
"It gets people learning tricks with low-consequence features, small jumps, low, easy rails. It's a really great place for people to learn and excel. And then they can take their skills into the big parks."
The second and newest is Gnarwood Forest Natural Park. Situated among the forest conifers, it allows freestyle boarders to take advantage of the mountain's natural landscape — with the added bonus of some deliberately placed hybrid features such as logs and rails.
But 10 years of Best Of wins don't come solely from new parks with cool features. It has to do with how diligently Mt. Spokane has worked to create a welcoming, inclusive culture for skiers and snowboarders.
"Over the years, we've been putting effort into growing the snowboarding community up here," says Whitaker. "Mt. Spokane's philosophy as a whole is to introduce people to the sport of skiing and snowboarding. Folks are learning here and staying here. And we've got a really great partner in Spokane with Pistole Board Shop. He's helped us out quite a bit with developing these parks — even in terms of helping purchase some features and holding fundraising events for the park."
That communal philosophy informs all of their activities. For instance, the park staff has a ubiquitous social media presence as well as a dedicated online hub where boarders can ask questions, request new features, share photos and get honest info about snow conditions. The accessibility and approachability has played a huge part in making riders feel at home on Mt. Spokane.
"We exist to serve the community, and that's what we do," Whitaker says. "We listen to feedback and provide the services folks are asking for. We're all about our snowboarders and our skiers, getting them up here and having fun in the mountains." ♦ (E.J. IANNELLI)