The green paint is peeling from the eaves of the Adaptive Snow Sports Chalet, worn by the weather on Mount Spokane.
Situated at the base of Chair 5 at the ski and snowboard park, the 12-by-20-foot Swiss-style hut has for the past nine years served as the center of a program for disabled snow riders.
It didn’t matter that nearly a decade has passed since the much-loved and much-needed ski chalet was just an idea on paper. As the snow fell at the base of the mountain Saturday, dozens of people gathered around the chalet for its official dedication.
Perhaps nobody was more eager for the celebration than Bryceson Tenold, who as a senior at Lewis and Clark High School in 2000 created the plans and pulled together thousands of dollars to build the chalet for his Eagle Scout project.
“I really wanted to do something for the mountain, on the mountain,” said Tenold, now 26. “The one regret I had is that I never formally dedicated the project.”
Since the ski shack was completed in 2001, Tenold graduated from Pepperdine University, and was commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps. Now a captain, Tenold served tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, and is now stationed in Hawaii with his wife, Jenna. He is the son of Tyrus and Kathy Tenold, of Spokane.
Saturday Tenold gushed and praised the hundreds of donors who made the project possible, and handed over a large “key” to the Spokane Parks Commission.
“It really gave us a home,” said Alice Busch, the therapeutic recreation supervisor for the Spokane Parks and Recreation Department, which operates the Adaptive Ski and Snowboard Program.
Previously, the program operated out of a shed, which could only house a small amount of equipment. It wasn’t heated.
“Porcupines were eating the bottom of the thing,” Busch said.
Along came Tenold, who served for three years as a member of the Mt. Spokane Ski Patrol. He took on the task of building the chalet to benefit the mountain. According to local officials with the Boy Scouts of America, Tenold’s project is one of the significant Eagle Scout projects in recent history.
“It was just supposed to be something small,” Busch said. “But something happened along the way.”
More than 2,500 hours of volunteer service were poured into the chalet, officials said.
It was designed as a mini-version of the new Mt. Spokane Ski Patrol Chalet nearby, and has electricity and a fireplace. The steps were built so that the snow comes right up to the door, allowing easy access. It’s also right at the base of Chair 5, allowing riders to hop right on the lift.
“I’ve skied here 53 years, and it was tough for the disabled to get around from the main lodge,” said Clyde Anderson, who served on the Washington State Parks Commission at the time Tenold presented his project nine years ago. “It was quite an undertaking, and he got so many people involved. He really deserves the credit.”
Busch said the result of Tenold’s tenacity is a wonderful, dry and warm place where students and their families can gather, and where students can comfortably be fitted with equipment.
It also meant they could store more equipment in the chalet’s basement, and expand the program, especially for children, Busch said.
“There’s just no way we ever could have done that in the space we had,” Busch said. “It allows us to be more of a presence on the mountain.”