While the Pacific Northwest ski scene, for better at least as much as for worse, is devoid of much of the overwrought base-area development typical of ski resorts in much of the West, a youngish Seattle entrepreneur is seeking to relieve the Snoqualmie Pass area in Washington of some of its shortcomings when it comes to lodging. Bryce Phillips, founder of outdoor equipment retailer Evo Gear, bought a 5.31 acre property at the base of Alpental's Summit Central ski area back in 2011 after he'd bought and sold several of the few existing houses in the area and realized the need for a "ski-centric community center." While the area itself plays host to amazing skiing along with great trails and venues for mountain biking, hiking, rock climbing, and fishing, post-activity, there's been more or less nowhere to go, gather, and stay over for the vast majority of visitors, and the lot simply turn around and head back to Seattle an hour away.
The new development, The Pass Life, is designed to provide affordable and concentrated housing for passionate mountain people and their friends and families, with 50 to 100 condos and lofts set to start at $327,000 for a two-bedroom unit - a shockingly mid-range price for mountain living within walking distance of the slopes, especially when compared to the typical million-plus price range for anything similarly located in Utah or Colorado. But that's because the project reflects the interests of its developers - mostly young thirty-somethings whose priorities are more focused on getting outside or teaching their kids to ski for the first time instead of trophy-home seekers mandating in-home movie theaters and wine cellars. There's also plans for a ski & snowboard museum, a restaurant, brewery, and coffee shop, and the first 12 energy-efficient lofts - 11 of which sold internally before the project went public - are scheduled to be up and running by December.
The units themselves aren't anything outside of the green architecture quo, although the lofts are beautifully designed with massive windows, vaulted ceilings, and plenty of gear racks (naturally). However, the concept itself, and particularly the team behind it, are what make this project so exciting.