Powdr has purchased SilverStar Mountain Resort from owner Jane Cann, marking the Park City-based firm’s first foray into Canada. Located in British Columbia’s Okanagan region, SilverStar operates seven modern lifts including a brand new gondola on 3,282 acres. “SilverStar is a world-class destination that fits well with who Powdr is, what our properties are community favorites—and our commitment to protecting and enhancing the authentic year-round adventure experience for generations to come,” said Justin Sibley, Powdr co-president. “The resort team is impressive and they have an incredibly strong relationship with the community, which we hope to build upon.”
“I am thrilled to pass the torch to such a competent and qualified operator as Powdr, who shares the same mission and beliefs for the SilverStar resort community and is committed to delivering memorable experiences and enhancing people’s lives,” said Jane Cann, whose father developed both SilverStar and nearby Big White into leading destination resorts. “Powdr is an enduring company focused on patiently making each of its destinations the best version of itself locally. I am confident that their scale and expertise will be beneficial in working toward the realization of SilverStar’s newly approved Master Plan.” Current season pass partnerships will remain in place for the 2019-20 season.
Exciting news for the future of SilverStar Mountain Resort. POWDR announced today the acquisition of SilverStar, which will operate this season as part of POWDR. SilverStar is POWDR’s first mountain resort in Canada. For more information visit: https://t.co/woNySZvkx6pic.twitter.com/ZSphTsSylu
Powdr has been investing heavily in its properties of late and now operates eleven resorts in six US states plus one Canadian province. Alterra Mountain Company, Boyne Resorts and Vail Resorts all also compete in the British Columbia market.
Crystal Mountain, Washington. Lutsen Mountains, Minnesota. Belleayre, New York and Ski Apache, New Mexico. Mountains from north to south, east to west and now in Canada are proving there’s no need to be a mega resort to build a great gondola. SilverStar Mountain Resort joined the club today with the Schumann Summit Express, manufactured by Doppelmayr Canada, which carried its first riders just after 11:00.
We can't thank you all enough for such an INCREDIBLE Gondola Grand Opening! Today was one of the biggest days in resort, to date, and we couldn’t have done it without your support. Thank you to everyone for coming out & making the day. #BikeSilverStar#PlayYourWaypic.twitter.com/h8tAhqqt1r
The new flagship lift is named after the late Desmond Schumann, an Australian visionary who came to grow both Big White and SilverStar into two of British Columbia’s top ski resorts. Daughter Jane Cann now presides over SilverStar and rode in the very first cabin, one painted silver in honor of the resort’s 60th anniversary (Jane’s brother, Peter Schumann, heads up nearby Big White, which is also building a new lift this summer). Doppelmayr’s Jim Anderson presented the customary Austrian-forged bell and spoke along with other dignitaries. They noted how far SilverStar has come from a local ski hill with one Poma lift and two rope tows into a significant regional and destination resort.
Cabins in a rainbow of six different colors lift riders from SilverStar’s mid-mountain village to the summit in just 4.4 minutes. A restaurant will eventually rise where the gondola and two other lifts converge. The 961′ vertical Summit Express replaces the last of SilverStar’s Mueller lifts, the Summit Double, which faithfully carried riders along a similar route from 1970 until this spring. The new gondola completes SilverStar’s impressive lift transformation undertaken entirely since Mr. Schumann’s 2001 arrival, when the last of three Lift Engineering quad chairs was replaced. It is a tale of “build it and they will come.”
Announced 13 months ago, the gondola was uniquely built over two construction seasons. Concrete foundations and the top drive terminal were installed last fall with construction pausing in November for what turned out to be a very deep winter. Doppelmayr was back at it as soon as the ski season ended with a tight timeline toward a July 1 opening. Very late season snow pushed that back a few weeks but no one seemed to care on this perfect July Saturday. In addition to free gondola rides for the thousands gathered, there was a free community barbecue, dunk tank, bungee trampoline and even a $1,000 cash giveaway. The celebration proved gondolas are for everybody – from young kids to people with disabilities, the elderly and even pets – to enjoy together.
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Silver Star Mountain Resort in Vernon, British Columbia will build a Summit Gondola next year, ending a three-year drought for new lifts in the region. The 8-passenger Doppelmayr will replace the Summit double, a 4,000′ Mueller built in 1970. The lift will open in July 2018 and serve summer guests before opening to skiers and snowboarders for 2018-19. After the upgrade, Silver Star will operate one of the most modern lift fleets in Western Canada with seven Leitner-Poma and Doppelmayr lifts built since 2002.
An initial fleet of 21 Omega IV LWI cabins in the five colors of the Silver Star logo will provide an uphill capacity of 1,200 passengers per hour, with the ability to add 22 more to meet future needs. “These new cabins will whisk guests from the bottom to the top of the summit in a third of the time of the existing double chair,” says Silver Star Director of Operations and Maintenance Brad Baker. “The ride will now take four and a half minutes from village to summit traveling at five meters per second.” Slope length will be 3,487′ and vertical rise 961′. In a unique move, all foundations and the top terminal will be completed this fall with the remainder of the lift going in next spring in time to celebrate the resort’s 60th anniversary. The addition of a gondola is a huge milestone for any resort and Silver Star will be no exception.