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JVesquire
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PostFri Jul 09, 2021 6:27 am 
Definitely don’t agree with Rod’s comparison to park passes. You can get a one year pass to all of our national parks for $80 for however many people you can cram in your car. Depending on the park, you can camp for free if you can haul your gear a mile or less to a backcountry site. Definitely a good deal for what you get.

zimmertr
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treeswarper
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PostFri Jul 09, 2021 7:43 am 
Ski Badger Mtn!  Their marketing ploy is The Lowest Priced Lift Ticket in North America.

I learned to ski there in the 1960s.  I wonder if they still play non stop yodeling and accordian music over the loud speakers like they used to.  The $7.00 lunch would be worth the drive.

Fond memories of ripping off leather ski boots and propping numb feet up on the edge of the fireplace to painfully thaw.  The forever hike in, me with very short legs packing really really heavy ski equipment.

Ski Badger Mtn

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What's especially fun about sock puppets is that you can make each one unique and individual, so that they each have special characters. And they don't have to be human––animals and aliens are great possibilities
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treeswarper
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PostFri Jul 09, 2021 7:49 am 
A couple more destination resorts.

Sitzmark

The Loup

Used to head up to Sitzmark for $5 afternoon skiing.  The Loup is more spendy.

The Vail corporation has not snatched up our local hills yet! up.gif

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What's especially fun about sock puppets is that you can make each one unique and individual, so that they each have special characters. And they don't have to be human––animals and aliens are great possibilities
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Randito
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PostFri Jul 09, 2021 8:03 am 
Thunderhead,  I think what you say is true.  But I think hell is more likely to become a ski resort than any location in Washington state, given how the permitting process for the last proposed major ski area (Early Winters) went.

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altasnob
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PostFri Jul 09, 2021 10:48 am 
I wouldn't blame the permitting process for lack of new ski areas in Washington. There is simply not a suitable location for a new ski area. Name a place in Washington that a) has a paved, plowed road that is open during the winter b) has a suitable area near the road for a massive new parking lot, c) has good skiiable terrain with a consistent snowpack that is on either private land, or National Forest Land but is not in Wilderness and d) doesn't already have a ski area there.

Every good location for a ski area in Washington already has a ski area there. There are roads that would be nice if they were plowed and open in winter, such as White River Road to White River Campground at Mt. Rainier. But all these roads are crossed by massive avalanche paths, which would require major avy control work or snow sheds. The very best place for new ski area terrain in Washington are all at existing ski areas. And while some ski areas permit areas are quite large and could support large expansions, such as Crystal's that includes Bullion Basin all the way to East Peak, these adjacent lands are already heavily used by winter recreationist. So expanding the ski areas would not add supply, it would just change one user to another and be just as crowded, if not more so.

If skiing crowds and prices bug you in the Puget Sound area I suggest moving to Spokane or Montana where there are still an abundance of small ski areas spread out that are not too expensive and not crowded. New ski areas in Western Washington will just never happen in any of our lifetimes.

Side note: Early Winters, if it was built, would make an awful ski area. The area does not receive much natural snow and would be cut runs in the trees relying on manmade snow. It would basically be like skiing in the East Coast in Washington. Who wants that?

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Randito
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PostFri Jul 09, 2021 11:11 am 
There is quite a bit of terrain that could be lift served around Stevens and Snoqualmie passes on private and non-wilderness USFS lands.   As you note a lot of this terrain is already heavily used by granola powered winter users.   So the permitting process would be lengthy, expensive and with an uncertain outcome.

The bigger limitation on peak days in recent years at Xtal, Stevens and even Snoqualmie has been parking more than lift capacity.

At least that's my perspective having grown up skiing at Ski Acres in the 60s and 70s which featured 45 minute lift lines on the "Bonanza" lift -- when I realized that I could hike to the top faster than waiting in line, was when I started ski touring.

Last winter with limits on ticket sales and no carpooling and no ski school busses,  parking was the limiting factor,   lines I experienced were generally short, except on a Power Day at Alpental when chair 2 didn't open until 11.

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altasnob
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PostFri Jul 09, 2021 11:56 am 
Where would they put more parking at Stevens and Crystal? It seems it has reached close to capacity at both areas. Personally, I am strongly against expansion at either of those areas not just because of lack of parking, but both of these offer some of the few easy access backcountry/snowshoe places in the area.

Snoqualmie is low and might not be a ski area in the not too distant future. Alpental has no room for additional parking. That leaves us with areas on the South side of the freeway. I actually think Silver Peak south of Snoqualmie Pass is the best area in Western WA to expand lift access terrain to. You have easy vehicle access with I-90. You have the best parking situation of any winter recreation area. It's not in Wilderness. It's flanked by clear cuts, has existing forest roads, and is already hit by snowmobiles. It has north facing terrain with a summit elevation a bit higher than Alpental, although consistent snowfall would still be a concern. There is a large flat expanse from West/Hyak to Silver Peak you would have to deal with, but that could be solved. With all that said, it would involve a massive amount a money to add a few additional lift served acres to the mix. I can't see it ever being financially a good option.

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altasnob
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PostFri Jul 09, 2021 12:20 pm 
There is a WA ski area with solid expansion plans in the not too distant future; Ski Bluewood, with plans to add a lift to Vinter's Ridge, adjacent to the existing ski area. It won't make the ski area as big as those in the Cascades, but it appears to be a significant improvement (for lift served, at the expense of side country backcountry):

https://bluewood.com/expansion


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Randito
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PostFri Jul 09, 2021 12:50 pm 
Silver Peak has some excellent ski terrain,  unfortunately it's a long way from existing base areas.   Road 9070 could be improved and a lodge built perhaps in the area where the XC yurt currently exists.    RD 9070 does pass through some cliffs between Hyak and Cold Creek, so avalanche hazard would need to be managed along the road.   A big expense would be running a sewage pipe from that location to the treatment plant at Hyak.   It would be a huge investment.   I think it would be economically viable if only if a substantial number of parcels for residential real estate could also be developed.   Which by the way was the key the development of Alpental back in the 60s those condo buildings near the base were the profit center.

The economics of ski areas is that they don't make much money on operations.    It's the snak bar, the beer bar and selling real estate adjacent to the ski area are the profit centers.

Expanding parking at Stevens at this point, it might be more efficient to build a multi story garage.   But on peak days lines are already terrible,  so I think this would only make sense with expension of the lift system to cover both sides of Big Chief.   Advanced skiers and riders would enjoy that terrain,  but I think it would hard to get a "blue cruiser" run off either side of Big Chief.

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jinx'sboy
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PostFri Jul 09, 2021 2:22 pm 
I recall talking, many years ago, to an FS employee - now long retired - who was part of the USFS ‘North Cascades Winter Sports Study’ which happened in the early 1970’s after the NCNP was created and HWY 20 was becoming a reality.  They looked at potential sites all over the north Cascades – I don’t recall how far south the study extended. This was the study that highlighted the Early Winters site near Mazama.  He said they acknowledged – even if it didn’t make it into print in the final report that – that Sandy Butte would have pretty boring terrain and skiing.  And consistent snow at lower elevations was not all that good.  But, what it DID have was lots of flat buildable private land and a decent highway.

The best site - from a terrain and ski standpoint- they looked at?  He said by far the best place they looked was Scaffold Camp Creek; along the Twisp River near Buttermilk Creek at a base of 2400’.  This dead north facing Scaffold Pk (7600’) has many bowls at high altitude.  And it connects easily to even higher Oval Peak (8800’) – 5 or 6,000+ feet of skiing.  But, the site offered little private/flat land and had poor access.

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treeswarper
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PostFri Jul 09, 2021 2:26 pm 
White Pass has been an excellent place to ski what with the "new" part opened.  I have skied that part for several years and had many runs where I only would see my friends on the way down.  On weekdays, it was like our own private hill.

My friends do report that what with kids homeschooling that last winter was more crowded during the week and if it didn't return to its previous crowd size, they would not get season passes again.

We were spoiled.

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What's especially fun about sock puppets is that you can make each one unique and individual, so that they each have special characters. And they don't have to be human––animals and aliens are great possibilities
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Malachai Constant
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PostFri Jul 09, 2021 3:19 pm 
When they were considering Sandy Butte for a ski area we went up there with old school three pin skis. If we could ski down with that gear it would not have made much of a downhill area.

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"You do not laugh when you look at the mountains, or when you look at the sea." Lafcadio Hearn
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Randito
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PostFri Jul 09, 2021 6:44 pm 
jinx'sboy wrote:
But, the site offered little private/flat land and had poor access

Yep , residential real estate development adjacent to a ski resort is the key to profitability (for the initial investors)

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Dick B
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PostSat Jul 10, 2021 4:20 pm 
Crystal Mt. I remember it well. I skied it one time back in the 70s with my wife and 2 other couples. When we arrived it was raining at the lodge. We took a lift, which, if I recall, you got off and transferred to another that took you much higher on the mtn. Rain turned to snow about half way up. I don't believe any of our group had ever skied the mtn before, so we were feeling our way, without a trail map of course. There was a run down which I think we assumed would take us all the way down to the lodge. There was several inches of mush which I was completely inept at handling. The rest of  my group took off and said we will meet you at the bottom. I finally completed the run and found I was at the base of a lift that took me right back up to where I started. So-- I still had the challenge of trying to get back to the lodge with no idea of the easiest runs to get there. My friends caught up with me at the top and somehow we made contact with a ski instructor that was just out making a run. When we asked him the best way down, he replied it is not easy, but I will guide him (me) down. So I got a free ski lesson for the next hour. Spent the rest of the day on the bunny hill.
Mt Bachelor, our major area here in Central Oregon, was started by a bunch of local guys, some of which served in the 10th Mtn Division during WWII. They sold out several years ago to some Utah corp. When it was local, anyone over 70 could ski for free which I did for about 4 years. When my wife approached her 70th, she said, they will do away with free skiing when I hit 70 in November. About October news came down that no more free skiing. She is a real prophet.

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Brian R
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Brian R
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PostSat Jul 10, 2021 6:32 pm 
Too many 70 year olds still kicking butt! 70 is the new 35, I think.

I sat on the lift at White Pass this last winter with a Yakima man celebrating his 90th birthday alone. This seemed kind of sad so I asked him where his friends were--and he answered, "either dead or not up here."

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