Seventh Heaven – Stevens Pass, WA

This drive terminal is newer than the rest of the lift.
Breakover towers up top.
Looking down the short, steep lift line.
Top bullwheel.
Top terminal and very steep unload.
Bottom drive-tension station.
Looking up the line.

38 thoughts on “Seventh Heaven – Stevens Pass, WA

  1. Jay December 23, 2017 / 9:03 pm

    Was the loading station for 7th Heaven at Stevens Pass moved in the last 30 years? My memory is foggy but I think I remember having to ride a rope tow to get to the loading station and then I remember the chair spanning a really deep ravine where the chair was like a hundred feet off the snow. Am I imagining that or was the bottom station moved?


    • Andrew December 23, 2017 / 11:32 pm

      The bottom station was replaced, and I imagine when they replaced it they made it more convenient to access.


    • JT May 6, 2018 / 11:53 pm

      A little more history than you bargained for…

      All of the lift shacks with the exception of Jupiter, (load and unload), and the origional Double Diamond chair load, (where Kehr’s is located now), were rebuilt during the summer of 1994 by Curtis, Steve, John and Lee while I worked on the lighting extension project, (I could write an entire book on that), which increased night operations by some 40%. I stuck around that winter as full time load and maintenance on the 7th Heaven chair. There was a rope tow prior to that, but it was removed as memory serves in ’92 — because the Forest Service wouldn’t sign off to replace the 2kw Briggs & Straton that powered it. The 7H unload station was closer the top of the Bobby Chute back then and the load station was uphill, (about 30′ in elevation), approximately 15 m from where it is now. The new 7H chair loadout is much the same as it was previously, except the tensioning at the base of the load is now about 10′ longer giving the chair less bounce and swing and there’s no more need of the salamander net. When the HSQ Skyline chair was put in, it was extended about 40 meters from the original unload making 7H a ride-to lift.

      Liked by 1 person

      • stmeyer2015 May 7, 2018 / 8:05 am

        Very Interesting. How did the old loading station fit onto bobby chute? Seems pretty steep from the photos


    • Steve Crutchfield June 3, 2018 / 5:14 pm

      I have the same foggy memory. In the early ’70s I rode 7th Heaven a few times. You took a rope tow from the top of “Big Chair” (the old Barrier chair that ran to the skier’s right from Skyline Express.) Once you got 7th Heaven you rode across a really deep ravine. One time the chair stopped when I was over the ravine and it was terrifying to dangle what seemed like a mile in the air. After you got to the second set of towers the chairlift steepened and you seemed to be going vertically up the side of the mountain. It was definitely a “Don’t look back” kind of ride.


    • Seattle_Pat February 3, 2020 / 4:53 pm

      I don’t know they moved the load area as much as I know they moved the offload area for the new Skyline chair 30 yards past where the old Barrier chair was. I remember the old Barrier chair going just past the top of the bowl and it was a short rope tow to get to 7th chair where it is now.


      • wwr2012 April 6, 2020 / 5:18 pm


        I think Steve Crutchfield has it right. I have been skiing Steven’s Pass since the mid 60’s. His description is exactly as I remember as a middle school kid taking friends up it. They were scared to death the first time up and yes, it did seem like a mile up. I can’t find old maps but I think Big Chair used to end just after the top of the bowl and to the right if going up the chair, as someone else here stated. When you got off Big chair you took a steep, fast rope up to the top of a mound (that is no longer there) and then you sidestepped up a steep ramp to get onto the loading area for the chair. There was a huge gully you passed over before you got to where the first pole is. I looks like they reshaped the entire top of the bowl area for Skyline in the mid-90’s and it seems that they pushed all the dirt towards 7th Heaven and filled in the gully. It is nothing like I remember, even into the early 90’s. Even the bowl doesn’t seem as steep as it was back in the day. I remember buying leather gloves for the rope because I bought some that had vinyl on the palms. That didn’t work for the rope at all and I burned up the new gloves fast. They were great for skiing a chair but not for grabbing a fast, steep rope.


        • Somebodyelse July 10, 2020 / 8:38 pm

          I use to ride 7th all the time back in the late 80s/early 90s when it was still full size. It was shortened up to clear the alignment for Skyline, which was installed on a different line closer to Cowboy Mt. than the Barrier double alignment. Skyline’s top also is well beyond Barrier’s top. Quite a bit of earthwork was done in prep for Skyline, as you mention. I’m pretty sure the top return on 7th is in the same position as it was originally. Not much reason to move the entire lift for just a few feet. I use to lap 7th as nobody liked using the hated rope tow (still the steepest rope tow I’ve ever seen). I do remember when 7th finally got a new bottom shack and ramp a couple years before the Skyline work. That was a nice improvement. I also remember the warming hut at the top of Barrier Bowl.


        • Steve Crutchfield December 8, 2020 / 2:01 pm

          Yep, Seattle_Pat, that’s my memory too. I remember a sign saying something like “Take this rope to the Barrier Hut and Seventh Heaven”. It was a nasty, fast moving rope that burned up my old gloves. I wondered what had happened to the gully, your explanation that they pushed a lot of dirt down into it make sense. I remember the bowl coming down from the warming hut and the bottom terminal of 7th was wicked steep. I went up there with my older sis who was an excellent skier. She took off straight down the bowl while I cautiously traversed back and forth until I made my way down to meet her. She was ticked off at me for making her wait.


        • wwr2012 December 8, 2020 / 4:19 pm

          We were up there yesterday and skied Coud 9 off the 7th Heaven chair. :)


  2. Ryan Gardner August 27, 2018 / 10:14 pm

    I love how steep that line is from the start!


  3. AvocadoAndy January 14, 2019 / 12:42 pm

    Anyone know why they have that odd tower right behind another one? Doesn’t seem to have any sheaves so I can’t think of any other reason they’d have it. Reinforcement maybe?


    • John March 11, 2019 / 9:27 am

      The higher tension that came with the new terminal eliminated the need for additional sheaves there.


      • Andrew March 11, 2019 / 11:20 am

        Didn’t they change the alignment when they added the new terminal? Why would they just stick in a tower they wouldn’t even use?


        • John March 11, 2019 / 1:20 pm

          They didn’t. The only thing that changed was the location of the bottom terminal when they replaced it. The two towers are so close that I suspect they couldn’t remove the one without damaging the other, thus they merely removed the sheave assemblies.


  4. Joe Blake December 21, 2019 / 11:26 am

    I was pissed when they removed the old rope because I was a young ‘un and had finally mastered the ski-up-to-it-and-grab-it technique from the old Barrier double.


  5. Raj Thorp January 27, 2020 / 10:39 am

    This lift must have been a huge challenge to install in 1960 because it is so old. Are there any plans to replace it?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Donald Reif January 27, 2020 / 4:31 pm

      Vail might add bars to it like they do with the majority of their lifts.


    • Billy Jack February 14, 2020 / 4:55 pm

      It wasn’t old when it was installed. . .

      Liked by 1 person

    • Brimless December 30, 2020 / 9:09 am

      Just because it’s “old” doesn’t have anything to do with the quality/safety/reliability. All lifts must meet the same standards for maintenance and upgrade of components. That “old” lift at your local ski area could possibly have the newest components on the hill making it one of the “ youngest” lifts.


  6. David Hablewitz February 8, 2020 / 8:07 pm

    Can you post some updates regarding the failure last Sunday? I believe the arm that holds all the rollers at the bottom terminal broke off.


    • Raj Thorp February 8, 2020 / 10:17 pm

      Yes. The sheaves at the bottom did break off. What happened during the incident is a deropement, because of all the tension on the steep lift line. This issue could easily be fixed, but it will take a while. Since this lift was built in 1960, parts for a lift of this kind are very rare, especially this one because it was retrofitted. I couldn’t see them replacing this lift next season because they just got two new lifts, so it may just take a while for the crew to fix 7th heaven and get it running again. Meanwhile, we don’t have any super challenging terrain to ski on.


      • Will February 9, 2020 / 12:10 am

        Goddamit Vail please replace it with a double chair in a new longer alignment.


        • Carson February 9, 2020 / 10:16 am

          Hay I got another idea vail leave the lift alone


  7. Raj Thorp February 19, 2020 / 7:36 pm

    Hey Peter for the missing spot for line speed, I asked the lift operator and he said it was 450, but they were running it slower at 350 after the incident


  8. themav February 19, 2020 / 8:34 pm

    Does anyone know what exactly they did to resolve the issue with this lift? Did they replace the entire sheave train, or did they just replace the bolts holding it all together.


    • Raj Thorp February 20, 2020 / 9:55 am

      They had to replace the bolts and they also had to buy some new sheaves for the ones that broke

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Tyler February 21, 2020 / 4:12 pm

    The bottom section of the lift is like 20 years old the rest of the lift is 60 years old. Hope they kept the old brooks chair for parts riblet parts are interchangeable and simple. 7th heavens has One of the best ski lines I’ve ever experienced. The chairs awesome and I like how you can almost reach the cable behind you. You don’t need safety bars they’re overrated anyway especially on a chair that short. They should take the old brooks lift if they still have it lying around and put a short lift going up from top of brooks express to top of skyline.


  10. Raj Thorp February 22, 2020 / 8:39 pm

    Is this the oldest operating Riblet double?


    • Riley March 6, 2020 / 11:28 am

      Nope, that would be Chair 1 at Mt. Spokane. 1956. And I think there is a 1959 somewhere in California…


      • Vintage Chairlifts March 10, 2020 / 10:32 am

        Also the Summit Lift at Kelly Canyon, ID (1957) and Pigtail II at White Pass, WA (1958), though the latter may not be around for much longer.


  11. MPaul Hansen January 17, 2021 / 1:13 am

    There was an incident on the riblet? chairlift decades ago at White Pass. My memory-rusty-is that the sheaves / bolts / pins were a cause of a failure.


  12. Donald Reif January 26, 2021 / 8:50 am


  13. Ben February 8, 2021 / 1:38 pm

    Does anyone have pictures of the old 7th heaven alignment or the old Barrier lift?


    • Steve Crutchfield July 29, 2021 / 9:35 am

      As I recall (my memory is bit hazy, it was over 50 years ago) the barrier lift ran to the right of Skyline (as you look uphill). Some of the towers appeared to be re-used from the t-bar that ran in this location. About 1/3 of the way up where the Broadway run from Brooks meets the Skyline run was an unload-only mid station. To the right of that there was a rope tow that head up what is now Broadway, but I never actually saw it running.


      • wwr2012 July 29, 2021 / 12:54 pm

        Interesting note. I have been skiing up there since around 1965. I don’t remember a T-bar on barrier but I may not have ridden Barrier chair until I was a little older but I know I was riding up 7th Heaven by 1968. What years was the T-bar up on Barrier? Was that before 1968? I thought Barrier chair had been then quite a while already by 1968. I do remember the mid-way station that Barrier had as well as I kind of remember a warming hut up at the top? We had four chairs back then: Big Chief (Yellow Chair), Big Chair (Barrier/Red Chair), Intermediate (Blue Chair), and 7th Heaven. Lots of memories from Stevens pass over the past 55+ years.


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