I'm sure most of you have heard the recent news that Stevens is upgrading Jupiter with a high speed quad this summer. I'm also sure a bunch of you are familiar with the master plan published by Stevens Pass a few years back. If you're not, here's a link to all the info.
In a nutshell, Stevens is planning on adding a couple lifts to access some new terrain, upgrading existing facilities, adding a few on-mountain facilities, and expanding SUP boundaries to add a few popular lift-accessed backcountry areas.
I'm not sure if it has been talked about or discussed much on here (I don't rember much discussion in recent years) so I wanted to get some of you guy's input. There's a bit of a debate going on regarding expansion over on the TGR forum right now. Anyway, here's my take.
I think it's time for Stevens to expand. I've seen the mountain grow dramatically in the recent years, even exponentially in the past couple. Parking is getting bad (they've started to shuttle people in from the satellite lot at Yodelin) and lift lines have gotten huge. Uphill capacity needs to increase, as well as available terrain. No better time when we've got new owners with deep(er) pockets.
A lot of locals are pretty unhappy about this from what I'm hearing. Their local hill is becoming commercialized and no longer their "local hill." I feel their pain, but it was inevitable. Before his untimely death last year (RIP), Chris Rudolph almost single handedly brought Stevens to state-wide recognition. Stevens deserved it too, it's an awesome place. In my opinion, it hasn't lost its luster of a "smaller, local" hill.
Ok so what do I like about the plan......Expanding SUP permit to include Highlands Bowl and Hollywood Bowl as hike-to "adventure terrain" as they call it. This includes avalanche mitigation as well. I've been a bit on the fence about this because these are areas I go anyway, and by adding them as "in bounds" terrain, it'll surely get more traffic. I've come around though. Great terrain to add, and the "hike to" aspect will still keep the riff raff out. Adding lifts in the Big Chief trees and Grace Lakes area is great sidecountry add too. The Chief Trees are one area I frequent all the time, so it's a bummer I'll lose it as one of my "secret staches" but it's great glades terrain.
Now what I hate about it. The Katz chair. WTF. Only going halfway up Wild Katz? Waste of a chair, and also putting easy access to one of my favorite secret staches on the mountain. If they're gonna put it in, put it up to the top of the ridge and kill off Double Diamond.
Speaking of Double Diamond (and Southern Cross)....why not replace them too? I've been on those chairs when they break down way too often.
Grace Lakes chair....why only to the top of the terrain park? Pointless. It should go all the way up to the top of Skyline.
So those are my thoughts. Kinda bummed to lose some of my favorite sidecountry staches, but it's a good move overall. I'm excited to see if this will all come through. Anyway, what're your thoughts?