A day before the big announcement, The Summit at Snoqualmie posted the photo below to social media with a caption reading, “What if…”.
Following a frenzy of comments from critics, nay-sayers, and hopeful mountain bikers, The Summit released the following statement on their website on October 20, 2017:
“There’s plenty of excitement here at The Summit at Snoqualmie this fall. Not just because we’ve already had several shots of snow all the way down to base level, but there are new and exciting projects starting to emerge and the stoke is palpable!
Some of you will remember back in the day when we had a mountain bike operation in the summer months and even hosted a couple of large events including a UCI World Cup downhill race in 1998. While mountain bikes and the biking scene have changed a tremendous amount since the late 90s and early 2000’s, the stoke is only higher and the passion more widespread!
All of us here at The Summit have seen the tremendous benefits re-opening a bike park could have for our existing guests, staff, local community, as well as outdoor recreation enthusiasts in general within this region, especially given the impressive and ever-increasing network of high quality local trails along the I-90 corridor.
While the process is long and involved, we believe in the dream (along with many of you who have contacted us in support) of bringing a bike park back to Snoqualmie Pass. Therefore, last week we signed a contract with Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance to start the task of analyzing and mapping potential trails and preparing documents for US Forest Service consideration. For us to do this, we want to do it right! By partnering with Evergreen, we have the highest confidence in ultimately providing an awesome lift and trail experience to all mountain bikers and riders-to-be in the region in the near future.
Many of you, like us, will want to know when we will open the bike park… There is no simple answer at this point in time but it is a great question! The process is quite involved and follows certain protocols when dealing with USFS land and building bike trails. It is quite likely that next summer will involve both the process of planning as well as hopefully a building season, so watch for further updates as we make progress towards our ultimate goal, a new Summit at Snoqualmie bike park and year-round fun!”
-The Summit at Snoqualmie in conjunction with Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance
The Summit History
Snoqualmie Pass has been a destination for skiers going as far back as the 1920s when local ski jumpers used the area for training. As attention grew, the Seattle Parks Department would go on to apply for a permit from the USFS. Snoqualmie Summit Ski Area opened in 1937. Various land acquired around the first ski hill was established as separate entities until 1997, when all sites were purchased by Booth Creek Ski Holdings, Inc. The resort’s current lease-holder is now Michigan-based Boyne Resorts. You can find a full timeline of The Summit’s history here.
The Summit at Snoqualmie has four unique base areas — Summit West, Summit East, Summit Central, and Alpental — totaling 1,994 skiable acres, 600 acres of night skiing, 26 lifts, and receiving about 428″ of snowfall at 3,000 feet (more at the top elevations). Alpental reaches the highest in elevation of the four areas at Snoqualmie (5,420 feet) and also boasts the biggest vertical drop of the four, at 2,280 feet.
Interestingly, mountain biking is also a part of The Summit’s rich and convoluted history. As mentioned in their release, a 1998 UCI World Cup race was held at Snoqualmie Pass. A peek into the archives shows Steve Peat took the win by a few seconds while Anne-Caroline Chausson crushed the women’s field. A video by Headliners of this exact race is floating around on the internet for your viewing pleasure and secondhand experience of what Snoqualmie downhill used to look like.
In Support of The Summit
While plans for the bike park have been referred to as no more than a “dream” for now, Snoqualmie will be working with Washington State’s leading trail advocacy group, Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance. Evergreen and its eight chapters have built, restored, and advocated for hundreds of miles of Washington State singletrack since its foundation. During a Fall 2017 membership drive, Evergreen MBA raised over $33,000 and signed 670 new members in just 20 days. For those familiar with Washington trails, Evergreen MBA has been at the forefront of projects at Duthie Bike Park, Tiger Mountain, Raging River, and Black Diamond Open Space, to name just a few.
Like other ski resorts who’ve chosen to capitalize on lift-assist bike parks, Snoqualmie sees the benefit of keeping its lifts open and money flowing through the summer. Stevens Pass, a ski resort/bike park located off Hwy 2 just north of Snoqualmie, has experienced massive success since opening in 2012. Outside of normal bike park usage, Stevens is host to local and regional downhill races from well-known event organizers. Snoqualmie is located less than an hour from Seattle along the I-90 corridor, making it a viable option for metro-area riders.
The battle for new and existing trails in the Pacific Northwest has been long and hard — mostly in the uphill direction. News of new trail, especially in the context of a bike park, travels fast, but often dies just as quickly. For now, Washington riders will sit tight and hope against hope the new bike park emerges within the next two to three years.
If you’re a bike park-ie (especially one who lives in Washington), help spread the word about The Summit at Snoqualmie’s news of a future bike park. And if you haven’t yet, register as a member of Evergreen MBA to show support of The Summit and all active and future trail projects in which Evergreen is involved.