Skis glide across the light dusting over corduroy snow. Silent but powerful, the snow whispers softly with each turn the figure makes, a fine spray of power crystalizing in the air around him. Hoping for more snow, he talks with his friends about his wish, questioning every cloud that floats in overhead but expecting little consistency with the weather. Each day he watches the mountain.
Although the powder days don’t appear as much as anyone would like, especially with the way winters swept through the Pacific Northwest in recent years, Mt. Spokane State Park remains a fixture for the winter adventurer. The resident Ski and Snowboard Park, founded in the 1930s, offers five chair lifts, over 40 runs, and 48 opportunities for night-skiing, the shredding never completely stops. At roughly an hour away from downtown Spokane, the park is considered by many in Eastern Washington as the premier skiing and snowboarding destination for those wishing to stay close to home.
In recent years, the park has expanded, even being approved within the last few months to add another chair to the back side of the mountain, increasing opportunities for powder and generally gnarliness with 80 extra acres and seven new runs. And, if you’re the type to spend more time in the terrain park than on the actual runs, the all-natural Gnarwood Forest addition to Chair 3 is quickly becoming a fan favorite, especially when partnered with the Half-Hitch and Lamonga Pass terrain parks. There’s even a tow-assisted tubing hill for your friends too scared to try out skis or a board.
Taking a step away from the actual ski hill, the state park becomes even more impressive. One of Washington’s largest, the park operates on 13,919 acres, meaning that the Ski and Snowboard Park represents only a fraction of the total land mass, and opportunities for adventure never really stop appearing. Other winter activities include snowshoeing, Nordic skiing, and snowmobiling, with trails for each crisscrossing through the entire park, while spring, summer, and fall give rising to hiking, horseback riding, picnics, and of course mountain biking (post to come once the snow melts). Keep in mind that if visiting anyplace other than the Ski and Snowboard Park, a Discover Pass is required (more info on that can be found here). If you’re in the area and the outdoors are your thing, Mt. Spokane State Park is a must.