Idaho’s Schweitzer has signed on to become the 45th Ikon Pass mountain in North America. Ikon Pass holders will enjoy up to 7 days of access at Schweitzer and Ikon Base Pass holders will get 5 holiday-restricted days. Schweitzer’s top tier local passholders will receive an Ikon Base Pass valid at destinations worldwide. “This is a huge win for skiers and snowboarders and for our community,” the resort said in a statement. “We wanted to be able to offer our customers the benefit of a multi-resort pass and joining Ikon Pass allows us to do just that. The Ikon Pass includes premier mountains around the globe, and we are excited to be the newest Ikon Pass mountain destination.”
The partnership with Alterra replaces Schweitzer’s membership in the Powder Alliance reciprocal program, which brought the North Idaho mountain about 5,000 skiers per year over the last seven seasons. Schweitzer says it was the single most-redeemed destination in that alliance.
With Ikon and regional population trends, Schweitzer is planning for continued visitation growth of about 5 to 10 percent over the next couple of years and will make “continued investments to help the mountain to absorb that growth.” This summer, the resort will dedicate more than $250,000 to increase the capacity of the Stella Express by 15 percent (235 people per hour). This will be accomplished by adding 14 new six passenger chairs. The mountain will also debut a $500,000 RFID ticketing system in the fall, enabling direct-to-lift access. Following these projects and the debut of a new slopeside hotel, replacement of the Musical Chairs lift will become the mountain’s next major capital priority. The new high speed quad will span a creek near the current bottom terminal and connect to a parking lot for 1,500 cars.
The mountain’s master plan envisions at least four other new lifts in both Schweitzer and Outback bowls in the years to come.
With four major lift replacements completed over the last 15 years, North Idaho’s Schweitzer Mountain Resort is looking beyond its boundary for the next phase of on-mountain development. Completed just last summer, phase one of the resort’s 2018 master plan included two keylifts in the North Bowl replacing an outdated double. The mountain also recently completed a gorgeous summit lodge called Sky House and two morechairlifts above its village. Looking ahead, Schweitzer’s two longest lifts to date are planned for opposite ends of the resort.
Privately-held Schweitzer will proceed carefully as growth makes sense. The resort does not participate in a multi-resort pass product but skier visits have grown almost 35 percent over the last 15 years. Current development focuses on the village, including a $35 million boutique hotel under construction. “We have a pretty conservative approach,” notes President and CEO Tom Chasse. “Our business is growing but we want to make sure that we are financially sound and don’t get ahead of ourselves. We also want to maintain a razor sharp focus on improving the overall customer experience with everything that we do.”
Phase three will see the launch of a dedicated day use and ski school portal away from the overnight village. “Growth has been huge the last few years and we need to find solutions for our parking issues and ease the burden on our existing village,” notes Mountain Operations Director Rob Batchelder. “I’m very excited about solving those problems with this third phase of development in the Mid-Mountain area. Physically, we need room to grow and Mid-Mountain does that for us.” The $50 million project will include a day lodge, three dedicated beginner lifts and 6,400 foot detachable chairlift. The latter will include a half mid-station with access to six new intermediate trails. Riders staying on board will gain access to North Bowl without the need to transit the village or ride the busy Great Escape quad.
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Retired Riblet double chairs bring in $146,000 for nonprofit organizations surrounding Schweitzer Mountain Resort.
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The beloved Snow Ghost double will be retired from Schweitzer Mountain Resort next spring after 47 winter seasons, the mountain confirmed today. In its place, two new chairlifts will service Outback Bowl in improved alignments. A Leitner-Poma high speed quad will climb through the Kaniksu Woods area with a Skytrac fixed-grip triple servicing the Lakeside Chutes vicinity above. “Overall, we expect the two chair arrangement to complement our existing lift system and provide better access to some of the most popular terrain at Schweitzer,” says Tom Chasse, CEO of the north Idaho mountain. Schweitzer completed a similar project on the front side in 2007, replacing 5,500 foot Chair 1 with the Basin Express and Lakeview lifts.
The detachable quad chair will offer a capacity of 2,400 skiers per hour and rise 1,447 feet in just over five minutes. The triple chair capacity will be 1,800 per hour with a vertical of 1,360 feet and an 8 minute ride time. “We’ve seen over the years how a similar two lift system in the South Bowl has been beneficial when we have weather challenges,” said Chasse. “By having the two lifts serving different aspects of the North Bowl, our hope is to combat similar challenges on the backside of the mountain.” As part of the project, Schweitzer will add gladed terrain and four new runs surrounding the new lifts, which have yet to be named.
The only aerial tramway in Texas closes after nearly six decades. “Replacement of the Wyler Aerial Tramway is estimated to cost millions of dollars. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department does not have the financial resources to execute a capital construction project of this size at this time.”
Michael Doppelmayr is profiled for his 60th birthday. Some interesting facts: his company’s gross margin was 12.1 percent last year and his father Artur vehemently opposed Doppelmayr’s merger with Garaventa.
New York’s high court clears the way for Belleayre to expand into the former Highmount Ski Center.
Bretton Woods and Doppelmayr make great progress on New Hampshire’s first 8 passenger gondola.
The leaders of North and South Korea ride a pulse gondola during their three day summit.
The State of New Hampshire will hold a public meeting about transferring the Mt. Sunapee lease to Vail Resorts on September 26th.
Pacific Northwest favorite Schweitzer Mountain Resort will replace one long double with two new chairlifts in 2019, says CEO Tom Chasse. The first lift will service the lower two thirds of the current Snow Ghost double, a 1971 Riblet with a 13-minute ride time. The second one will replace Snow Ghost’s upper segment, servicing the Lakeside Chutes in a new alignment topping out near the new Sky House restaurant. “We don’t have enough lift capacity right now,” Chasse told the Spokane Spokesman-Review. “We think it’s going to be a draw and will bring in more people.” The Bonner County Dailyreported Schweitzer wanted to replace the nearly 2,000′ vertical lift a year ago but the $6-8 million project depended on financing becoming available. Schweitzer completed a project very similar to this one in 2007, replacing the lower section of Chair 1 with a high-speed quad and the upper section with a realigned Doppelmayr CTEC triple.
Outback Bowl has a cool lift history. The current Snow Ghost lift used to be called Chair 6 and went from the very bottom of the bowl to the Siberia Runout. You can still see the old lift line in person and on the trail map. In 1987, the entire machine was moved to start and end higher with a mid-station added, leaving the lower part of Outback serviced only by Chair 5. That lift was replaced by a uniquely-themed six-pack called Stella in 2000. Schweitzer skiers can enjoy another season and a half of Snow Ghost but 2019 can’t come soon enough! No word yet on specific models or a manufacturer for the new lifts.