Skiing Mount Spokane Ski and Snowboard Park

SUNDAY, NOV. 22, 2009, 12:04 P.M.

Mt. Spokane Ski and Snowboard Park, 28 miles north of downtown Spokane, offers 2,000 vertical feet on 1,425 acres of skiing, boarding and tubing terrain.

It’s serviced by five double chairs plus a rope tow for the resort’s newly relocated 300-yard tubing hill that’s now adjacent to the main lodge. The chairs can carry 4,920 skiers or boarders up the mountain each hour.

Mt. Spokane boasts 45 designated runs; 23 percent novice, 45 percent are called “more difficult” and 42 percent are for experts only. The resort’s terrain park is almost a mile long, with “kickers, hits, jibs and more for freestylers of all skill levels,” according to its web site.

The site also said terrain fans can “look for jumps and kickers of all sizes, from small to XL … with tons of different rails and boxes, from battleships and c-rails to rainbows and kinks.”

Skiers have been schussing Mt. Spokane since the 1920s, and the mountain’s management says the ski area is the site of the world’s first double chairlift, built in part by the Spokane Ski Club.

Another historic feature is the granite and timber Vista House at the top of Chair 1. It was built in 1933 by Civilian Conservation Corps workers, renovated in 2002 and, although it’s a year late, the resort will be celebrating Vista House’s 75th anniversary this season.

The house is open on weekends and holidays for hot beverages, soups, chili and wraps, to be savored in front of the stone fireplace in the center of the structure.

Two lodges are located in the base area. One is next to Chair 1 and is open weekends and holidays with limited services. Lodge 2, the main one, offers full service and is the principal point of access for most of the mountain.

Lodge 2, however, is outdated and aging. The non-profit organization that runs the mountain is asking the Washington Legislature for financing to build a larger and more modern facility.

The nonprofit is currently asking resort users past and present to contact state lawmakers.

For those who need extra pointers or to start from scratch, certified ski and snowboard instructors are available every day for adults and children on a walk-in basis for group or private lessons. Multi-week packages are available too, plus instruction for skiers 6 years and older with physical disabilities.

Rentals are on a daily or afternoon-only basis. New for the 2009-2010 season are Atomic 08-09 skis and snowboards.

Bus service to Mt. Spokane is available on most weekends and holidays from three locations, Fred Meyer on Thor Avenue, Yoke’s in the Argonne Village and Yoke’s on Market Street in Mead. Fare is $15 for a round-trip ticket or $75 for a six-trip package. Season pass holders pay only $50 for a six-trip punch card.

Hours of operation are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, and night skiing, on 16 lighted runs, starts at 4 p.m. and goes to 9:30.

Lift tickets are available on a daily or seasonal basis. Prices vary depending on the skier’s or boarder’s age, military status, college enrollment, and if he or she plans to ski just on weekends and holidays, during the week, or just afternoons or nights only. For a look at the rates, visit the web site, Mt. Spokane’s telephone number is (509) 238-2220.

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