Mt. Spokane Ski and Snowboard Park is getting closer
to kicking off a major expansion project.
For Brad McQuarrie, Mt. Spokane is home. For the past
13 years, the general manager has had a project on
the back of his mind: the opening of the north side
of the mountain for additional runs.
It'll add about 20 percent more skiing in the formal
terrain, McQuarrie said. The park is 14,000 acres,
we're talking about 80 acres of additional trails.
The upside of northside slopes are simple; the mountain
would shield the runs from the snow, and the grades
are gradual, lending itself well to new skiers. After
jumping through legal hoops for more than a decade,
two years ago McQuarrie thought his dream would be
realized... until he faced another setback.
We received a letter from the Department of Archeology
and Historic Preservation that said the Spokane Tribe
had listed a historic Indian trail that went to the
summit in the area that we want to construct these
lifts and runs, said McQuarrie.
On the tribe's recommendation, McQuarrie hired an
archeology firm out of Portland, who after a summer
of studying could not find evidence of such a trail.
Since then, the tribe has submitted more evidence
that says there's a trail out there, so we may have
to continue with additional studies, said McQuarrie.
While McQuarrie still might be another full year away
from realizing his dream of northern slopes, the general
manager remains optimistic for the season ahead. Last
year's windstorm produced the lumber used in his lodge's
new mountain-facing walls, and his team has invested
in brand new ski rental equipment. As for the weather,
he trusts in the experts.
We're looking for that
snow pretty soon, said McQuarrie.
Kris Crocker said it was coming fast.
McQuarrie told us about a week ago there was three
inches of snow on the slopes, but as of Thursday things
were very dry. The group remains hopeful that opening
weekend will come just after Thanksgiving.