The Eaglecrest Ski Area lodge, seen here in 2015, is the planned site of the Old Tower Bar, which would serve beer and wine during ski season. In a unanimous vote Monday, Oct. 15, 2018, the Alcohol Control Board rejected an alcohol license for the business. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

The Eaglecrest Ski Area lodge, seen here in 2015, is the planned site of the Old Tower Bar, which would serve beer and wine during ski season. In a unanimous vote Monday, Oct. 15, 2018, the Alcohol Control Board rejected an alcohol license for the business. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

Bill could pave way for alcohol at Eaglecrest

Senate Bill 16 would change way ski areas are classified in state law

Just months after the state denying Juneau’s ski area a chance to open a bar on site, the Alaska Legislature might pave the way for the bar to become a reality.

Senate Bill 16, which is mainly focused on preserving the liquor license for the Alaska State Fair, also includes changes to state law that could allow ski areas to serve alcohol.

There has been conversation for years in Juneau about Eaglecrest Ski Area eventually opening up a bar. It looked like the bar — which was set to be called the Old Tower Bar — was going to become a reality until last October when the state Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Board voted to reject the ski area’s application.

The reason for the rejection was because ski and snowboard areas are not included in Alaska Statute 04.11.210, which outlines a list of recreational places and events where alcohol sales are allowed. Examples of these events are baseball games and dog sled races. Senate Bill 16, proposed by Sen. Peter Micciche, R-Soldotna, would add ski and snowboard areas to that list.

Eaglecrest General Manager Dave Scanlan said by phone Wednesday that this bill would address the exact reason the ski area’s application was denied last year.

“It’ll give the clarity that we were looking for and should eliminate any hurdles that might be put before us,” Scanlan said, “and should pave the way for a much smoother process for us going forward.”

The bill passed the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee and now heads to the Senate Finance Committee. If the bill makes it all the way through the Legislature and into law this year, Scanlan said, Eaglecrest could have a bar open next winter.

This floor plan shows the layout of the planned Old Tower Bar at Eaglecrest Ski Area. The bar’s alcohol license was rejected by the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board Monday, Oct. 15, 2018. (AMCO document)

This floor plan shows the layout of the planned Old Tower Bar at Eaglecrest Ski Area. The bar’s alcohol license was rejected by the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board Monday, Oct. 15, 2018. (AMCO document)

SB 16 (co-sponsored by Sens. Shelley Hughes, R-Palmer and David Wilson, R-Wasilla) slightly expands the types of places that can serve alcohol service. As Micciche said in his testimony to the Labor and Commerce Committee and as he wrote in his sponsor statement, the main aim of the bill is to make sure the Alaska State Fair can continue to serve alcohol.

[Juneau could have sixth straight year of below average snowfall]

The Alaska State Fair has been serving alcohol under the recreational site license since 1981, but with the ABC board being more stringent in its reading of state law in recent years, the fair is at risk of losing that licence, Micciche wrote in his sponsor statement. Losing the ability to serve would be “financially devastating” to the fair, Micciche wrote.

In a letter to the Labor and Commerce Committee, Scanlan took a similar angle, saying that it’s getting more difficult for a ski area to make ends meet.

“Running a small community ski area is no small endeavor and due to changing weather patterns, has become more and more financially challenging,” Scanlan wrote. “Having a robust food and beverage program that includes beer and wine sales is one of the primary revenue streams for small community ski areas.”


• Contact reporter Alex McCarthy at 523-2271 or amccarthy@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @akmccarthy.


More in News

A Princess Cruise Line ship is docked in Juneau on Aug. 25, 2021. (Michael Lockett / Juneau Empire File)
Ships in Port for the week of Sept. 25

Here’s what to expect this week.

Screenshot / Alaska Public Media’s YouTube channel 
Bob Bird, left, chairman of the Alaskan Independence Party, and former Lt. Gov. Loren Leman make the case in favor of a state constitutional convention during a debate in Anchorage broadcast Thursday by Alaska Public Media.
Constitutional convention debate gets heated

Abortion, PFD factor into forum.

Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire
Faith Rogers’ loved ones, from left to right, James Rogers (father), Michelle Rogers (sister), Harmony Wentz (daughter), Maria Rogers (mother) and Mindy Voigt (friend) sit with Faith’s three dogs in their family home. Faith Rogers, 55, of Juneau was found dead along a popular trail on Wednesday, Sept. 21. Police are investigating the death as a homicide.
‘It’s shocking’: Family hopes for answers after suspicious death of loved one

“She wanted to make things beautiful, to help make people beautiful…”

People work together to raise the Xa’Kooch story pole, which commemorates the Battle of the Inian Islands. (Shaelene Grace Moler / For the Capital City Weekly)
Resilient Peoples & Place: The Xa’Kooch story pole — one step toward a journey of healing

“This pole is for the Chookaneidi, but here among us, many clans are represented…”

A bracket fungus exudes guttation drops and a small fly appears to sip one of them.( Courtesy Photo / Bob Armstrong)
On the Trails: Water drops on plants

Guttation drops contain not only water but also sugars, proteins, and probably minerals.

A chart shows what critics claim is poor financial performance by the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority, especially in subsidizing private industry projects intended to boost the state’s economy, during its 55-year existence. The chart is part of a report released Tuesday criticizing the agency. (MB Barker/LLC Erickson & Associates/EcoSystems LLC)
AIDEA’s fiscal performance fishy, critics say

Report presented by salmon industry advocates asserts state business subsidy agency cost public $10B

Police vehicles gather Wednesday evening near Kaxdigoowu Héen Dei, also known as ]]Brotherhood Bridge Trail, while investigating a homicide. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)
Police: Woman was walking dogs when she was killed

JPD said officers are working “around the clock” on the criminal investigation.

Most Read