Every skier in the Pacific Northwest had something to be thankful for when the new area at Mt. Spokane opened its lift and lodge for business last year. For one thing, Mt. Spokane offered a 4,400-foot double chair lift, which took some of the tremendous pressure off the other major lifts in the ski-crazy states of Washington and Oregon. Furthermore, the trails at Mt. Spokane are covered from December well into March with real powder snow, so dry it squeaks when you walk on it, a rare thing in wet, wet Washington, where the usual blizzard settles onto the earth like a heavy helping of mashed potatoes.
The nearest big town, Spokane, is only 30 miles away, on a good road, but bring chains for the last short stretch from the turnoff into the area. Most of the business on the mountain comes from families up from the city for the day. Parents and older children usually ski the big mountain, especially the two-mile trail down the lift line, with its 1,523-foot vertical drop. The lift-line run is also a favorite for gangs of high school schussboon ers. However, there is plenty of action for the small fry on the two double rope tows—one 800 feet long, the other 400 feet—and the two single ropes—1,400 feet and 350 feet. The lodge at the bottom of the big lift has a cafeteria but no beds.
Incidentally, the lift prices here are a real bargain: $3.25 for an all-day ticket, good on the chair and the rope tows. Tip: bring warm clothes (quilted parkas are best), because in January and February the wind really howls around the top of the mountain.
SKIING ACROSS THE COUNTRY
Be sure to check resorts for latest condition changes
UP—inches of snow on upper slopes and trails LO—inches of snow on lower slopes and trails CR—crowd last Saturday SN—inches of snow last week
Mount Spokane, Wash.: Skiing perfect with warm sun and hard-packed powder snow. Austrian Blizzard skis favorite with college crowd. UP 60, LO 36, CR 2,000, SN 8.
Stevens Pass, Wash.: Skiing excellent. Best snow on Seventh Heaven trail off top of Barrier. Vacationers just back from Switzerland sporting Hurni corded cotton parkas and ski shirts. UP 120, LO 88, SN 3, CR 1,500.
Government Camp, Ore.: Skiing excellent last weekend in beautiful, clear weather. Ski school, teaching rotation system, getting good crowds, but many skiers learning Austrian reverse shoulder on their own. UP 61, CR 2,500.
Badger Pass, Calif.: New snow made skiing excellent on all runs. Austrian cardigans, Bogners, French gloves are favorites of well-dressed bunnies. Skating rink in top condition. UP 24, CR 2,900.