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)

Eaglecrest moves one step closer to serving alcohol

Senate Bill 16 passes Senate, moves to House

Eaglecrest Ski Area is one step closer to being able to serve alcohol.

On Monday, the Alaska Senate unanimously passed Senate Bill 16, which is aimed at preserving the liquor license at the Alaska State Fair but also changes state law to allow ski areas to serve alcohol. 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.

SB 16, proposed by Sen. Peter Micciche, R-Soldotna, now heads to the House of Representatives. If it makes it through the House without any changes, it will then head to Gov. Mike Dunleavy for final approval. Eaglecrest General Manager Dave Scanlan said that if the bill passes, Eaglecrest could be ready to serve alcohol next winter.

Those at Eaglecrest have been looking to add a bar for years. It looked like the bar — which was set to be called the Old Tower Bar — was finally going to become a reality until October 2018 when the state Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Board voted to reject the ski area’s application on account of ski areas not being included in AS 04.11.210.

[Centennial Hall improvements could be getting less mysterious]

Scanlan said that if the bill passes, Eaglecrest can once again go through that process with the ABC Board this year and will have a much better chance to get its alcohol license approved.

“This new language in SB 16, it makes the pathway very clear for us as an allowed use under that recreational use license,” Scanlan said.

Changing weather patterns have made it difficult for Eaglecrest in recent years, as the ski area has had to make do with less snow or even create its own snow to provide a ski-friendly environment on the mountain. Having a food and beverage program, Scanlan has said in the past, can help boost the ski area’s revenue.

“It just gives another strength of business for food and beverage sales, to build community and to have different fun events for us smaller mountains,” Scanlan said Tuesday. “We’re just really excited, and like I said, even more encouraged to see that it had full support of the (Senate) as it made it through the final votes.”

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.

In a release Monday, Micciche said the bill’s main aim was to preserve the state fair’s alcohol license but it’s meant to promote small business as well.

“This bill is part of a larger effort to modernize and reform our state’s alcohol laws,” Micciche said in a release, “but this specific issue required immediate action to assist small, responsibly-operated businesses in their continued operation.”


• 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.

Bill Thomas, a lifelong Haines resident and former state lawmaker, has filed as a candidate for the District 3 House seat that includes the northern half of Juneau on Wednesday. (Alaska State Legislature photo)
Former Haines lawmaker Bill Thomas challenging Rep. Andi Story for District 3 House seat

Challenger served in Legislature from 2005-13, been a lobbyist and commercial fisherman for decades.

The student band performs at Thunder Mountain High School. (Screenshot from student film “Digging a Hole in the School Budget”)
Thunder Mountain High School graduates win film festival award

Documentary by Jade Hicks, Hayden Loggy-Smith portrays human impacts of school consolidation plan.

The city of Hoonah, which is petitioning to incorporate as a borough that includes a large surrounding area that includes Glacier Bay and a few tiny communities. (Alaska Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development photo)
Hoonah’s petition to create Alaska’s 20th borough opposed by state boundary commission staff

Xunaa Borough would rank 8th in size, 18th in population; final decision, public vote still pending.

Ian Worden, interim CEO at Bartlett Regional Hospital, presents an update about the hospital’s financial situation during a board of directors meeting on Tuesday night. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Bartlett officials seek to extend interim CEO’s contract to end of year amidst financial crisis planning

Ian Worden took over temporary leadership in October; 39 applicants so far for permanent job.

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

Most Read