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Pacific Northwest Magazine, 1980-89

Pacific Northwest Magazine, Mar/Apr 1980, p. 24 - Barnett, Steve, "Skiing Olympus: From Rain Forest to Glacier"

Steve Barnett and Dave Kahn carried cross-country skis up the Hoh River trail to Mt Olympus in July [presumedly in 1979]. They reasoned that July would be the optimal time for the tour, with fewer hazards than in winter, better trail conditions than in spring, and a higher chance of good weather overall. "Our lightweight ski boots made excellent walking shoes. The skis and poles weighed only five pounds, an insignificant additional load over what we would have carried for any hike in the Olympics. To other hikers we met on the trail, the very idea of hiking with skis in July seemed outlandish. Our only positive response came from climbers we met on their way down from Olympus; eyeing us enviously, they said, 'Wish we had had skis.' Thus encouraged, we walked on toward our goal."

Barnett and Kahn put on skis at the edge of the Blue Glacier, roped up, and skied up the Snow Dome to the summit ridge. They made runs on the Blue Glacier and Hoh Glacier sides, following the best conditions. The next day they followed the Blue Glacier to Glacier Pass and did some exploring of the Hoh Glacier until they ran out of time. "Those new glaciers will have to wait until next year--when we plan to return to this mythical mountain of the gods and some of the finest mountain skiing I know of anywhere." The article includes photos of Dave Kahn ascending and telemarking on the glaciers of Mt Olympus.

Pacific Northwest Magazine, Mar 1983, p. 61 - Hooper, David, "Feeling the Chill of Early Winters"

Promoters started thinking about a ski resort in the Methow Valley in the early 1960s, after the Squaw Valley Olympics boosted the popularity of skiing in the U.S. In 1974, the Aspen Skiing Corporation picked Early Winters, on Sandy Butte near Mazama, out of a list of 300 possible sites. Resistance from a local "guerrilla" group composed of "back-to-the-earth newcomers from the cities and a few stubborn pioneer families" eventually caused Aspen Corporation to move on, developing Whistler Mountain in British Columbia instead. In the late 1970s, the coalition of Methow Valley merchants and Seattle professionals who originally plugged the Sandy Butte site to the Aspen Corporation regrouped as Methow Recreation, Inc. They applied to the Forest Service for permission to build the resort. Last fall the Forest Service released an environmental impact statement that approved the resort concept and suggested a capacity of 10,500 skiers, larger than either Sun Valley or Aspen.

"The Forest Service's draft environmental impact statement is a near-classic for its genre. In it, the foresters try to sort out all the actors in the unfolding drama, labeling the locals either Mainstram Newcomers, Long-Time Residents, Seasonal Residents, or (no kidding) Alternative Lifestyle Newcomers." The author discusses issues surrounding the proposed resort, including real-estate subdivisions, population growth, higher taxes, noise and automobile traffic, air pollution, effects on fish and wildlife, and whether the skier demand really exists. The article includes comments by Lee Bernheisel, a recently arrived rancher; Beulah LaMotte, a fourth-generation rancher; Doug Devin, spokesman for Methow Recreation; and Charlie Raines of the Sierra Club. The author concludes: "Change is inevitable. [...] The environmental impact statement is clinically Darwinesque: 'Individuals unable to adapt,' it concludes, 'are assumed to eventually leave the area.'"

Pacific Northwest Magazine, Apr 1984, p. 38 - Connelly, Joel, "The Mountains Nobody Knows"

"The awesome Picket Range exists in isolated splendor, seldom seen and rarely visited," says the lede to this article. According to Fred Beckey, "This is the heartland of the North Cascades." Bill Sumner says, "The Pickets put it all together--wilderness, a spectacular setting and challenging climbs: the overwhelming impression is of density, closeness and steepness." Unlike more popular areas such as Cascade Pass, retreat is not simple when a storm breaks in the Pickets. "You have no escape," says Beckey. "The clouds lower down to the river level, thousands of feet below. "The only retreat is by bushwacking into valleys you can't see. What can you do? You have to ride it out." The Pickets have been free of land-use controversies because of their remoteness and the fact that nobody has found anything to mine or log. The biggest controversy today is whether people should be told about them. "I tried to talk Beckey into not publishing his descriptions," says Joe Firey about Beckey's 1981 guidebook to the area. "It is an enjoyable and novel experience to visit an area that is, as far as you know, unexplored. If people did not leave registers and write guidebooks the feeling would still be there. A portion of the Cascades should not have a guide. It would be nice to have had the Pickets as that area."

Pacific Northwest Magazine, Nov 1989, p. 34 - Halstead, Jeff, "Destination Washington?"

From 1968-71, nearly 18 percent of all skiers from 11 Western states visited Washington's ski resorts. By the 1986-87 season, that share had dropped to 7.5 percent--this during a time when skier visits to Western resorts in general grew by 174 percent. Other Northwest areas like Oregon's Mt Bachelor and B.C.'s Whistler Mountain have grown considerably as destination resorts in recent years. Why hasn't Washington kept up with these nearby competitors?

According to Mel Borgersen, president of the Pacific Northwest Ski Areas Association and a founder of Crystal Mountain resort, "Washington has been severely hampered because of restrictions on base-area development." For more than two decades, construction of additional overnight lodging at Crystal has been stifled by Forest Service policy. Development at Bachelor and Idaho's Sun Valley has not been hampered because skier housing sits on nearby private land. Another impediment is a Forest Service moratorium on condominum construction. Hotels, which provide equal access to the public, are approved, but condominiums, which are much easier to finance, are viewed as a form of private privilege. As a result, Crystal and other Washington ski areas rely heavily on one-day skiers for their livelihood.

The author discusses the controversial Early Winters resort, which would have base facilities on private land and is expected to be developed similarly to B.C.'s Whistler Village. At Snoqualime Pass, a just-finished 81-room hotel and a forthcoming condominium annex, located on private land next to Interstate 90, are expected to make this area more attractive to destination skiers.

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