Termination dust has been seen around Juneau, and though snow hasn’t hit the top of Eaglecrest yet, it’s time to think about winter.
The city-owned ski area will celebrate the annual Discover Eaglecrest Day on Saturday in recognition of the end of summer – which we never had anyway — and what skiers and boarders hope will be a great winter in the mountains.
General Manager Matt Lillard says the Porcupine chairlift will be running tomorrow to take people up to the Porcupine area. “They’ll be able to walk down and they’ll go through what’s called the Decomposition Decathlon, which is put on by Discovery Southeast.”
Eaglecrest summer partners Alaska Zipline Adventures and Cycle Alaska will offer discounted rates; there will be an Alpine BBQ, Beer Garden, and Mountain Lift will be open.
Discover Eaglecrest Day is also a chance to purchase season passes at the lowest prices of the season.
“October 8th is when it will go up again and then from October 8th to November 3rd, which is the ski swap weekend, that’s the next price break,” Lillard says. “And then after November 3rd, the price will go up again.”
The City and Borough of Juneau has budgeted a four-and a half month ski season, beginning December 1, assuming the weather cooperates.
Lillard says he hopes the cold, wet summer means a lot of snow like last year, when Eaglecrest had more snow at times than ski areas around the world.
“Obviously Mother Nature will do what she’ll do. I know that we have an El Nino coming up and we’ve looked at the patterns there and that doesn’t tell us much. We’ve had great seasons and we’ve had not so great seasons with that weather pattern, so we’re just going to have to wait and see and get a little closer to get some better indicators,” he says. “But if cold and wet is what the summer was and winter’s going to be a little bit colder and just as wet, we should be looking pretty good.”
Over the summer, crews exchanged the noisy, high-carbon diesel fuel motor on Hooter chairlift for a more energy-efficient electric one. The Black Bear lift also has new chairs, similar to Eaglecrest’s other lifts and without a pole in the middle. The chairs are courtesy of Mount Sima in Whitehose, Yukon. The old Black Bear chairs will be sold to raise funds for Eaglecrest Foundation projects.