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  1. #1
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    The official PNW Skiers for more ski access thread

    I'm starting this thread to hopefully consolidate many of the random musing about needing more ski areas. Hoping this thread can be used for constructive discussion that evolves in to action.

    To get ball rolling, I think the following are issues we've all identified at ALL PNW ski areas and BC ski trailheads:

    Cronic over crowding of parking lots, slopes, lodges, at ski areas, leading to a significantly degraded and frustrating experience.
    Sometimes crowding can be so severe, skiing on slopes is dangerous. Other times, it means parking is completely unavailable.
    Inadequate road infrastructure to all but I90 resorts leads to congested and risky driving conditions.

    Solutions to consider:
    New Ski Areas
    Full development of existing MDP that PNW resorts are currently operating within.
    Expansion of existing resorts in to larger and new permit areas.
    New plowed roads and parking areas for Backcountry ski access. Potentially lobbying the Sno-Park system to focus on higher elevation access points and move focus away from purely Nordic and Snowmobile access.

    Potential Road Blocks
    Financial Considerations
    Special interest groups unfavorable to new development
    Climate Change
    Bureaucratic Red Tape

    -------------------------------

    Improvements that could be done locally to me, in the Wenatchee Valley

    Mission Ridge and Stevens Pass are basically the only places for lift served skiing in the area. (Badger/LWWSC/Echo don’t count). They are also basically the only 2 higher elevation access points in the county for backcountry ski access (which is different than Nordic/XC skiing – currently well served by Blewett Pass + the multiple Nordic centers.)

    Stevens Pass has the snowfall and terrain that can attract skiers from outside the area. However the issue of crowding is very very real. Parking is a nightmare and if you can find a parking area, chronically long lift lines and dangerously crowded slopes, leading to bad ski conditions are common.

    Mission Ridge has low skier density, but the lower snowfall, older lifts and minimal advanced/expert terrain is going to have a difficulty attracting the more passionate skiers to call it a home mountain. Many of us ski there because of crowding issues at Stevens and have learned to accept its quirks. But it's not really ideal and little bit too far from Seattle to help alleviate pressure from the rapid growth.

    I would like to see the following:

    Improved Backcountry Skiing Access– partnership with the forest service, county road crew and perhaps the sno-park system to plow more higher elevation ski access points. Some areas that would be easy to plow for winter access and offer new, unique ski access (at current summer TH’s) would be: Icicle Creek (currently plowed to the Bridge Creek CG – extend plowing to the end of the road), Little Wenatchee River Road (currently gated at Lake Wenatchee – should be plowed to Cady Ridge TH), Merritt Lake TH, and also improve/designate pullout areas for the popular tours of Smith Brook, Arrowhead, Jim Hill.

    In the future, a program for the building of a high elevation hut system that could be skied to should be investigated, particularly in the Nason Ridge area in the vicinity of Rainy Pass/Snowy Creek, Merritt Lake and Round Mountain. This would rival the backcountry huts in Colorado, Idaho and Canada. This area is not Wilderness.

    Improved quality of skiing at current areas. We should go all in supporting any of Stevens Pass’s expansion plans, and go further to encourage Stevens Pass potentially develop new lifts/base area/parking at the defunct Yodelin ski area and potentially slopes east of Stevens Pass in Mill Valley (“Burn Zone” and Lanham Creek) area.

    A County wide feasibility study of developing a new ski area should be done. There are multiple zones in the Lake Wenatchee and Entiat Valleys that could support ski areas with large high elevation north facing basins, good terrain for all abilities, non-wilderness designation, existing access roads and a great mix of reliable snowfall (more than Mission) and sunshine (More than Stevens). This would truly have the potential of being truly a “destination” resort rivaling areas in Canada/Colorado/Montana.

    Some areas that would be a great ski resort location are areas adjacent to Crook Mountain off Chiwawa River RD, Garland/Chickamin Ridge off Chiwawa River RD and Dirty Face Peak near Lake Wenatchee

    Do a feasibility study in to the construction of a euro-style tram/gondola to one of the higher elevation areas near Leavenworth, ideally to the Crest of Icicle Ridge. This would be a huge draw for sight seeing and also winter time ski access, summer time hiking/biking/climbing.


    -------------------------------------


    That's what I've got. What about the rest of you kooks? Thoughts? Questions? Concerns? Areas you'd like to see developed? Let's brainstorm!

  2. #2
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    Target Yodelin. That would be a great spot to add some parking and infrastructure.

    I think we need z-bo's input here. Guy knows US2 like few.

    There's logging roads in the valley N. of Crustal around Goat Creek that have been looked into in the past.
    Last edited by Buster Highmen; 03-29-2018 at 07:19 PM.
    Merde De Glace On the Freak When Ski
    >>>200 cm Black Bamboo Sidewalled DPS Lotus 120 : Best Skis Ever <<<

  3. #3
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    Stampede pass: easy access off I-90, tons of snow, tons of old logging roads and not wilderness areas available.
    Merde De Glace On the Freak When Ski
    >>>200 cm Black Bamboo Sidewalled DPS Lotus 120 : Best Skis Ever <<<

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buster Highmen View Post
    Stampede pass: easy access off I-90, tons of snow, tons of old logging roads and not wilderness areas available.
    Wouldn't you want it to be higher elevation?
    Alpental Indigenous

  5. #5
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    Lws is spot on. Mt. David off the white river road near the tall timber ranch would be the spot for the ski area imo. Low elevations won't cut it in the future. Access would be nice up in that area

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G930A using TGR Forums mobile app
    god created man. winchester and baseball bats made them equal - evel kenievel

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by ACH View Post
    Wouldn't you want it to be higher elevation?
    Yeah, but access and no wilderness is high on the priorities, plus Silver gets a ton of snow as an example...
    Merde De Glace On the Freak When Ski
    >>>200 cm Black Bamboo Sidewalled DPS Lotus 120 : Best Skis Ever <<<

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zeedashbo View Post
    Low elevations won't cut it in the future.
    This is going to be a key area of concern for anyone looking to invest.
    Alpental Indigenous

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zeedashbo View Post
    Lws is spot on. Mt. David off the white river road near the tall timber ranch would be the spot for the ski area imo. Low elevations won't cut it in the future. Access would be nice up in that area

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G930A using TGR Forums mobile app
    Big vert there too: over 3k. Is it USFS or private?

    (edit: looks like part of Glacier Peak Wilderness...)
    Merde De Glace On the Freak When Ski
    >>>200 cm Black Bamboo Sidewalled DPS Lotus 120 : Best Skis Ever <<<

  9. #9
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    Go back to the 50s surveys

    Skitouring centers at washington pass & Schreiber Meadows. A hut, food, etc. mini-chamonixs
    http://www.alpenglow.org/ski-history...usfs-1970.html

  10. #10
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    Merde De Glace On the Freak When Ski
    >>>200 cm Black Bamboo Sidewalled DPS Lotus 120 : Best Skis Ever <<<

  11. #11
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    I’d like a Gondy to Nash Gate and covered parking in LoT4
    in addition to a dedicated dog park and garbage cans.
    bF
    Alpental Indigenous

  12. #12
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    How about the one on the east side of Rainer in the park? It wasn't much but it would bea start

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zeedashbo View Post
    Lws is spot on. Mt. David off the white river road near the tall timber ranch would be the spot for the ski area imo. Low elevations won't cut it in the future. Access would be nice up in that area

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G930A using TGR Forums mobile app
    Agree on the elevation conundrum. I think Mount David would be rad, however a good portion of the terrain is in wilderness, which would be a non-starter. The 3 areas I have listed would have at least 1000 acres of skiable terrain 100% outside of legal wilderness with elevations similar to Crystal.
    Quote Originally Posted by Buster Highmen View Post
    Yeah, but access and no wilderness is high on the priorities, plus Silver gets a ton of snow as an example...
    Quote Originally Posted by ACH View Post
    This is going to be a key area of concern for anyone looking to invest.
    Yes. High elevation and north facing will be very important if climate predictions become true.
    Quote Originally Posted by Buster Highmen View Post
    Big vert there too: over 3k. Is it USFS or private?

    (edit: looks like part of Glacier Peak Wilderness...)
    Yeah. The 3 areas I have listed are not in wilderness and at least 2 could have skiable acreage rivalling Crystal mountain, with similar elevation. Further digging needs to be done to figure out if there are any other protective designations on these areas.

    There are also a few other areas around the Cascades that I've found with similar characteristics - off highway 20 near Baker lake, up the Entiat River Rd, and a few other spots near Lake Wenatchee. There are quite a few little spots where in a more permissive world like the 1950s, a little 1-2 chair down home operation could work, but I think in this day and age a ski area needs to think bug to recover litigation and development costs.


    Quote Originally Posted by dunfree View Post
    Go back to the 50s surveys

    Skitouring centers at washington pass & Schreiber Meadows. A hut, food, etc. mini-chamonixs
    http://www.alpenglow.org/ski-history...usfs-1970.html
    Yes. The various trams proposed up Cascade River Rd and highway 20 would have been amazing. Unfortunately those fs surveys are now mostly areas that are now legal wilderness and there's no chance of development.

  14. #14
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    Look at Cascade Backcountry Alliance. Partner with them or make a mirror org in the key of Chairlift. They have been working for a bit to develop some of the required partnerships and conversations. Their mission is different but I think the means could be similar or the same. They could also oppose some opinions.

    http://cascadebackcountryalliance.org/



    Quote Originally Posted by TAY Introduction to CBA

    Hi All,

    After much backroom discussion, Western Washington is finally getting its own backcountry ski and snowboard advocacy group. Myself and other members of the CBA have watched backcountry usage skyrocket in recent years, as good winters and improved gear have fueled a renaissance all along the Cascade crest. Along with more crowded skintracks, attendant access issues have started to plague our community: difficult parking situations, conflicts with other snow travelers, and reduced uphill travel options at our local resorts.

    Currently, there is no united voice for skiers and riders to speak with land managers, resorts, and fellow winter recreationalists. While backcountry users generally seek a solitary experience, our lack of organization has begun to hurt us. A trend of reduced access and diminished user experience is the fate of every recreational group that fails to organize once it hits a critical mass.

    We believe that the time has come to present a united voice in addressing these issues. However, we want to hear from the TAY community about what issues they feel are of greatest importance. Beyond simply getting our name out and establishing relationships, our #1 priority for this year is to plow the PCT trailhead at the commonwealth basin. We have ideas and things we hope to address in many areas- time will tell what is feasible for us and what our priorities should be. The point is that we are a new organization and now is the time for YOU to have your voice heard.

    Check out the website at cascadebackcountryalliance.org and let us know what you think. For projects in your area, look in the current projects tab and then give us some feedback. What issues do you think are important? What should we focus on as an organization? You can email us, or comment here-- we'd like this thread to be a place for some productive conversation.

    Lastly, if you enter your email into our mailing list, we will keep you informed on our events and projects. We are excited to hear from the core community before we gain a more public face, and we appreciate your time and your words.


    http://www.turns-all-year.com/skiing...?topic=38907.0

  15. #15
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    What about being within a couple hours drive of the major Puget Sound cities? Financial viability there too.
    Merde De Glace On the Freak When Ski
    >>>200 cm Black Bamboo Sidewalled DPS Lotus 120 : Best Skis Ever <<<

  16. #16
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    Transportation: I think metro and sound transit need to provide bus services, especially on weekends when less demand in city causing lots of busses sitting around in the terminal. They run special service to benefit sports events and stuff so I don’t see why they can’t have “ski bus” that cost more than few dollars. This will also attract people flying in because they don’t have to rent a car. Park and rides are empty on weekends too.

    New area: we need chubbies here like in NZ. Think Sahara (?) club. Few rope tows. Some clubs are family oriented with mellow terrain while for those who wish to go more interesting terrain has their own club to join. Affordable for members and/or require work party and charge more for the “guests”. Small boutique shit will always has it’s allure. Think of micro brewery’s popularity.

    Location specific: I’m in inland PNW now and all but one mountain is mellow... do some terrain-scraping and make some “steeper” runs. More people will be willing to relocate if that happens.


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  17. #17
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    What an original idea, I'm surprised no one has ever thought of these things before.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by tmokes View Post
    ... do some terrain-scraping and make some “steeper” runs. More people will be willing to relocate if that happens...
    shut your dirty, dirt-pimp mouth!
    "we all do dumb shit when we're fucked up" mike tyson

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leavenworth Skier View Post
    Ooohhhhh yes. FS 6210 is also right there

    Having pushed a bicycle along Garland ridge North to Basalt Ridge on hot summer day..... there is some good terrain out that way.

    All 7,000'+






    Further North (Devil's Smokestack) of that and I presume still south of the wilderness boundary....

    ~7,400'



  20. #20
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    Castle and Goat Creek drainage

    North facing, largely clear bowl, elevation 4600-6600. There's a mining claim in there as well along this N. facing bowl.
    Merde De Glace On the Freak When Ski
    >>>200 cm Black Bamboo Sidewalled DPS Lotus 120 : Best Skis Ever <<<

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buster Highmen View Post
    Isn't the N side of Castle in the Norse Peak wilderness?

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by ridinshockgun View Post
    Isn't the N side of Castle in the Norse Peak wilderness?
    Yes, the N/ NE side , but I'm looking at the South side of the basin to the S/SW of Castle where Goat Creek drainage is.

    https://thediggings.com/lands/wild-413/map
    Merde De Glace On the Freak When Ski
    >>>200 cm Black Bamboo Sidewalled DPS Lotus 120 : Best Skis Ever <<<

  23. #23
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    What is this, turns all year? This is what snowmobiles and timersleds are good for, getting away from dyna'teryx yuppies



    You can't just cry out for more access on FS land. They are underfunded as it is. You need to contact your legislature to overturn and fight against sierra club legislation and be able to fund those road improvements by private timber companies using FS land to log and having them pay for road improvements. The FS road infrastructure is falling apart as it is. They are not going to pay to plow roads when that money could...I don't know... be spent to replace the W.F. White river bridge, or atleast remove it from standing mid channel, to name one of the multi million dollar problems this national forest faces. It is a 150' span, with an additional 150' on both sides that have been reclaimed, and it is comical that instead of doing anything about it, the're plan is to orphan that road system so that it is 'wilderness' without the designation.

    NW Forest passes bring in ~150k a summer in the i-90 corridor. That is nothing. It pays for tool upkeep for the ~25 wilderness trail crew, wilderness ranger, and front country rangers in North Bend. That is all. Every other corridor makes less money through that program, and it is one of the only discretionary spending tools local districts have. And think of how fucking crowded snow lake trailhead is in the summer, with access allowed through those passes. The system in place is broken and what this national forest needs to do is run itself like a working forest in Idaho or Montana. Use the business model that the feds have been pigeon holed into, and use it to fix the infrastructure that exists. It is so prohibitively expensive to log timber in our forest currently, that the N.B. district's past two timber offerings have received no bids.

  24. #24
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    Isn’t a crucial step identifying developers who might actually have interest? Who is our Oberti that we could support? There HAVE to be people out there who have kicked tires over the years and might be a bit more encouraged if a vocal group of supporters could be counted on to balance the concerns.

    Without people with a shit ton of money and a high risk tolerance, there’s no development happening anyway outside of existing ski areas.

    Maybe people rally around a particular possibility and drum up some attention for it?

    The commercial ski area track obviously differs from the approach needed for BC access, where plowing/access is a state/government issue exclusively. In that case, I’m with Norse: go support CBA.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by BeardedClam View Post
    What is this, turns all year?
    Only if FA bans your ass and removes every post and thread you ever made.
    Alpental Indigenous

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