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 that would allow Eaglecrest to serve alcohol passes Legislature

Bill just one step away from becoming a law

Juneau’s ski area is just a signature away from having an open path to serve alcohol.

The Alaska Legislature passed Senate Bill 16 on Wednesday, which paves the way for ski areas and other recreational sites around the state to serve alcohol. The measure, which passed the Senate unanimously, passed by a unanimous vote in the House. It now goes to Gov. Mike Dunleavy for final approval.

The bill would add ski and snowboard areas to Alaska Statute 04.11.210, which outlines a list of recreational places and events where alcohol sales are allowed. Events currently on that list include baseball games and dog sled races.

The main intent of this bill, actually, is to preserve the Alaska State Fair’s alcohol license. Its sponsor is Sen. Peter Micciche, R-Soldotna. 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.

Eaglecrest took center stage for a while on the House floor Wednesday, as Rep. Sara Hannan, D-Juneau, proposed an amendment that would specifically list Eaglecrest in the bill as being able to apply for a license.

Hannan asserted that the Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Board basically pulled the rug out from under Eaglecrest last October when it voted to reject Eaglecrest’s application because of ski areas not being included in AS 04.11.210. Prior to that, it appeared that the bar — which was set to be called the Old Tower Bar — was finally going to become a reality.

This amendment, she said, would clear up the law so that the ABC Board couldn’t interpret the law more broadly that the statute allows. Others, including Rep. Adam Wool, D-Fairbanks, weren’t so sure this bill would be a permanent fix.

Eaglecrest General Manager Dave Scanlan has told the Empire this session that if the bill passes, Eaglecrest could be ready to serve alcohol 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)

Unpredictable weather patterns have made it difficult for Eaglecrest in recent years, as the ski area has had to operate with less snow or even create its own snow to have enough for people to ski and snowboard on. Having a food and beverage program, Scanlan has said in the past, can help the ski area’s finances.


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


More in News

Jasmine Chavez, a crew member aboard the Quantum of the Seas cruise ship, waves to her family during a cell phone conversation after disembarking from the ship at Marine Park on May 10. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
Ships in port for the week of May 25

Here’s what to expect this week.

The LeConte state ferry departs Juneau on Tuesday afternoon, bound for Haines on a special round-trip following two cancelled sailings due to a mechanical problem. (Laurie Craig / Juneau Empire)
LeConte returns to service with special trip to Haines after weekend cancellation

State ferry will pick up half of nearly 60 stranded vehicles, others may have to wait until July.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Monday, May 27, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Anchorage pullers arrived at Wrangell’s Petroglyph Beach on May 23 for a canoe-naming ceremony. One of the canoes they will paddle to Juneau was dedicated to Wrangell’s Marge Byrd, Kiks.adi matriarch Shaawat Shoogoo. The canoe’s name is Xíxch’ dexí (Frog Backbone). (Becca Clark / Wrangell Sentinel)
Canoes making 150-mile journey from Wrangell, other Southeast communities to Celebration

Paddlers expected to arrive in Juneau on June 4, one day before biennial Alaska Native gathering.

The Alaska State Capitol and Dimond Courthouse are seen on Thursday morning, Jan. 18. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
Judicial Council recommends Alaskans keep all judges, including figure behind correspondence ruling

The Alaska Judicial Council has voted to recommend that state voters retain… Continue reading

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Sunday, May 26, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Saturday, May 25, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Friday, May 24, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Wreath bearers present wreaths for fallen comrades, brothers and sisters in arms during a Memorial Day ceremony at Alaskan Memorial Park on Monday. Laying wreaths on the graves of fallen heroes is a way to honor and remember the sacrifices made. (Jasz Garrett / Juneau Empire)
Traditional Memorial Day ceremonies offer new ways to ‘never forget’ those who served

New installations at memorial sites, fresh words of reminder shared by hundreds gathering in Juneau.

Most Read