The sounds of chainsaws, hammers and digging reverberated through the mountains around Snoqualmie Pass in the Cascade Mountains this summer. The noise signaled several offseason projects afoot to make improvements for skiers and riders at The Summit at Snoqualmie this winter.
Last winter, the resort reopened Summit East after a landslide took out the lifts in 2009. But more than just getting the locals back into their favorite old terrain, the new Hidden Valley chair accessed runs that hadn't been used for more than two decades. The new Hidden Valley terrain finally opened on March 12 last spring, to the delight of locals, as you can see in this video of opening day:
This year, the resort is improving the Summit East runs.
"We're cleaning up the runs and making them look better by doing selective thinning," Spokesperson Guy Lawrence said. "The thinning is to try to get more access to tree skiing runs and offer blue runs all the way across Summit East."
Glades with improved access include Silver Fir.
At Summit West, beginners will see a new Magic Carpet.
"We moved the old one over and added a new longer one to better utilize the hill," Lawrence said. The new carpet is covered for easier maintenance and to protect beginning riders from the elements.
At Alpental, a new mid-mountain building will house the ski patrol and serve as a backcountry education center. Located between the Armstrong Express and Edelweiss chairlift, the building provides a place for skiers and riders heading out-of-bounds to chat for a few minutes with ski patrol, sign releases for exiting the ski area through designated gates and go through a short training.
"It'll become a pivotal building at Alpental," Lawrence said. "It'll be a better environment and a little more professional setting to educate people about our extensive backcountry."
The building is to be named for David Pettigrew who died in a snowboarding accident at Alpental in 2005. The David Pettigrew Memorial Foundation, which offers mountain safety workshops, has supplied the Alpental ski patrol with 20 avalanche beacons, backpacks and safety equipment.