White Pass Plans For Exciting Expansion - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

White Pass Plans For Exciting Expansion

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WHITE PASS, Wash-- White Pass has been offering great lifts for years and after about 25 years in court they're finally going to get to expand.

"We persisted, we persevered, but we had to you know it was what was right," said Kevin McCarthy, general manager at White Pass.

When White Pass opened in the 50's local photographer Ken Whitmire hit the slopes, documenting the early years of the new resort. Keeping a large scrapbook of his photographs.

"White Pass has been a great asset to the skiers in this area, to the Yakima Valley in general. Here's some of the early people doing their flips and jumps," said Whitmire.

He worked as a ski instructor and photographer, even meeting his wife during that time. Ken and others worried they'd never see White Pass expand. The land trade for the expansion was made in 1984, but has been disputed in federal court until recently. Ken feels, like many that it's about time.

"It's really for the current group of skiers and snow boarders that come to White Pass. They deserve after 50 years an expansion. A little more space, a little more room," said McCarthy.

Two new lifts will go in the Hog Back area, opening up land for 14 new runs. But, expanding presents interesting challenges, the sub alpine enviroment needs to be protected.

"The issue is that it's roadless. We can't build roads. We can drive out there ever so slightly, but we can use the snow. And using our snow cat fleet we can pull and move about out there very fast, you know snowmobiles, over snow it's no impact and it's very fast and clean," said McCarthy.

Ken still makes it up to White Pass regularly. While things have changed since the original rope tows, he'll be right there with the rest documenting the expansions. Scheduled to be completed by 2010.

"You bet I'll be around," said Whitmire.