Mt. Spokane Ski and Snowboard Park won a Washington state Supreme Court ruling Tuesday that will finally allow its planned expansion to move forward with expansion plans.
Construction was set to begin Wednesday on the mountain’s backside, creating nearly 80 additional acres of groomed trails and seven new runs. This new area is expected to be fully operational by the 2018-19 season.
“As good stewards of the land, we provide recreation for everyone so this is a win for the entire region,” said Brad McQuarrie, general manager of Mt. Spokane Ski and Snowboard Park. “Mt. Spokane serves a very strong need in our region by providing accessible, affordable winter recreation. The timing is ideal because the past couple of seasons we’ve been bursting at the seams with more skiers than ever.”
McQuarrie said skier visits and ski school programs at Mt. Spokane have reached record-breaking numbers over the past two seasons. He credits strong winter snowfalls and a trend in the region’s youth becoming more active outdoors for the explosive popularity of the mountain.
Mt. Spokane 2000, the nonprofit concessionaire contracted by Washington State Park’s to manage Washington’s only park with ski and snowboard operations, has persisted for more than two decades toward its vision to expand and provide a strong community benefit by balancing public safety and recreation with environmental preservation and stewardship.
It received land use classification approval from the Washington State Parks Commission in 2014 and construction permits were issued by Spokane County in 2016 following many years of extensive planning, studies and public process that demonstrated strong public support. Mt. Spokane revised its expansion plan from 800 to 279 acres to address concerns raised by a local environmental group opposing the expansion.
The Supreme Court’s ruling affirms two previous rulings by lower courts confirming the commission’s action to allow for the expansion.
Mt. Spokane purchased a chairlift known as the Red Chair from Montana’s Bridger Bowl Ski Area in 2013 to install on the mountain’s backside. The chairlift has a long and storied history, including ties to the Spokane community from its inception, as Riblet Tramway Co. was the original builder of this chairlift based in Spokane.
“This is a very exciting day for every skier in our region. What this means is that we can now turn our vision into a reality so that more skiers can enjoy more of the mountain and the entire community can enjoy the benefits,” McQuarrie added. “We are grateful to every friend and supporter because together we will make this happen.”