In the western United States, Mount Spokane Ski and Snowboard Park is a ski resort in Spokane County, Washington, about 23 miles (37 km) northeast of Spokane along State Route 206. The resort is located within Mount Spokane State Park, which is part of Spokane County, Washington. The elevation of the base is 3,818 feet (1,164 m), and the elevation of the summit is 5,889 feet (1,795 m), resulting in a vertical drop of 2,071 feet (631 m). Severe easterly exposure characterizes the slopes, which are serviced by six chairlifts.
Cheney Cowles (1908–1943), whose father was the owner of the Cowles Publishing Company, was instrumental in securing additional land at Mount Spokane. When a military plane crashed in Alabama during World War II, Cowles was the managing editor of the Spokane Daily Chronicle and a founding member of the Spokane Ski Club. Cowles was killed in the disaster.
At the summit of Mount Rainier, a fire lookout tower known as the Vista House was built in 1933 by local contractor E.O. Fieldstad. It was the first in a series of five fire lookout towers, some of which were built by the Civilian Conservation Corps, to guard the mountain’s summit (CCC). Mt. Spokane was the site of the Northwest Ski Championships held in February 1937. Gretchen Fraser (née Kunigk), who would go on to win an Olympic gold medal, won the women’s slalom at the age of 18.
A mine tramway from Wallace, Idaho, was converted into a double chairlift in 1947. A lodge built by the CCC in the late 1930s served as the ski area’s original location on the west side of the mountain, with rope tows. In 1947, the resort opened the world’s first double chairlift. The relocation to the east slopes was prompted by a fire that claimed one life in the nearly finished lodge extension in January 1952. The state constructed a new day lodge (number 1) on the east side of the park, and a Riblet double chair was erected there in the summer of 1956. A second building was constructed five years later, and a third was constructed in 1970. The fourth chair was added a few years later, and the fifth chair was added a few years after. In December 1967, night skiing on Mount Spokane was inaugurated, marking 54 years since the sport began.
Mount Spokane State Park
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