Behind every grey cloud is a silver lining. If we consider December and January as the proverbial cloud, then February and March seem to be the silver lining. Thanks to that January thaw and rain, the Loup Loup Ski Bowl’s minimal snowpack turned into a solid block of consolidated ice that has been able to withstand the last month’s warmer temperatures and snows, enabling the mountain to stay open. The skiing is remarkably good given the lack of recent snow. They plan to operate until they can’t, anticipating the next two weekends for operation.
As the mountain rounds out its season, the board of directors is diligently working to raise the remaining $400,000 of a $1 million goal for the new day lodge. Campaign signs with the $1 million goal at the peak of a mountain have popped up around the valley, announcing the status of “The Next 50 Campaign.” The goal is to raise the remaining funds by May, when they plan to break ground.
The new lodge will accommodate skiers in a more comfortable and efficient building that will 50% larger. The new building will be connected to the ticket office, and restrooms will be accessed from indoors rather than outdoors. The lodge will also be able to serve year-round uses as the mountain develops new and improved biking trails through and around the summit area.
The plan for the lodge can be viewed on the website, www.skitheloup.com/the-next-50-campaign, where contributions can be made. No contribution is too small, as small community donations are the focus of this next phase of fundraising. The bulk of the donations have come from larger donors thus far.
The new lodge incorporates a fireplace, much to the delight of many patrons who were saddened to see that the original plan didn’t include one. Thanks to a generous donor, a new fireplace will be erected and faced with river rock. The existing fireplace is iconic. The cut granite stones are not easily come by in today’s masonry world. The old fireplace will be lowered and serve as an outdoor firepit and barbeque.
The kitchen will be redesigned to provide for quicker grab-and-go as well as hot dishes, and there will be expanded seating with lots of mountain views.
One of the special features of the Loup is that it draws visitors from all walks of life from across the county and the Okanogan divide. Downhill skiing at the Loup sees the likes of farmers, ranchers, environmentalists, professionals, laborers, tradesmen and women, Democrats, Republicans and anarchists from the region. It’s one of the few places where everyone, regardless of political values have a common goal — to enjoy the mountain
With the expanded ability to serve alternate seasonal uses like biking, trail running and hosting events, the new lodge will enable connections to the land and people across the region for the next 50 years. You can help them out by visiting the GoFundMe link from their website, mail a check to Loup Loup Ski Education Foundation, P.O. Box 1187 Twisp, WA 98856, or if you’d like to make your donation in person, call Craig Howard at (509) 449-0608.