Spring snow is the buzzword up on Hood right now. But in a few short months it may well be dirt that’ll have people jones’n to hit the mountain. If all goes according to plan, when the snow melts out, trail designers will be hard at work creating trails for Timberline’s proposed lift-serviced mountain bike park and skills park, which, pending approval, is set to open for riding by late summer. And today marks a big step for the project.

Tonight from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. members of the public can attend an open house being held at the Zigzag Ranger Station in Zigzag. The meeting is meant to explain project details and provide a chance meet those who will be working on the proposed park.

Timberline has contracted with Gravity Logic, a Whistler B.C.-based consulting firm that created the renowned Whistler Mountain Bike Park, to design the park. Riders can expect 17 miles of lift-serviced beginner through advanced trails within and adjacent to the southern portion of Timberline’s special use permit boundary. The trails would be accessed by the mountain’s newest lift, the Jeff Flood Express. Meanwhile, the Skills Park would be approximately .2 acres in size, and would run its operations out the day lodge.

As part of the initial process, the Forest Service has also completed a Preliminary Environmental Assessment to discern what the environmental impacts would be. The report is available for public review and should make for handy reading before tonight’s meeting.

Can’t make it make it up to Zig Zag tonight? Not to worry, the Forest Service is also accepting comments on the project via e-mail (comments-pacificnorthwest-mthood-zigzag@fs.fed.us) from now through April 4.