By Bill Sheets Herald Writer
STEVENS PASS — Starting next fall, skiers at Stevens Pass can expect to have a faster way up the mountain and more places to ski back down.
The resort is planning to spend about $4 million on a faster lift and is planning to open up a new area to skiing.
The equipment is being purchased from Doppelmayr Garaventa, a German company with a branch in Salt Lake City, Utah. The company makes ski lifts, gondolas and rope tows for ski areas.
The ski lift will replace the one on the Mill Valley run, the farthest from the lodges, said Chris Danforth, vice president of marketing and sales for Stevens Pass.
The lift will zip skiers to the top of the run about twice as fast as the one currently in place, officials said.
“We saw this improvement being asked for by quite a few of our guests,” Danforth said.
The lift will be the third high-speed line at Stevens Pass, of a total of 10.
“We are looking at (replacing) others down the road,” said Joel Martinez, vice president of operations.
The faster lift is expected to encourage skiers to visit a lesser-used part of the ski area, Danforth said.
“We hope to spread out our skiers across the mountain,” he said.
Also, a new area will be opened up for skiing. Some trees will be removed over the summer to make enough room for skiing — a method called “glading,” Martinez said. The trees will not be clear-cut, he said.
“Everybody is always wanting new terrain to ride,” Danforth said.
Installation of the new lift is expected to begin in late April or early May, he said. Work on the new ski area will take place over the summer and is scheduled to be done by the beginning of the ski season in November.
Stevens Pass also plans to buy two new snowcats for in-season snow grooming on four current runs — South Park, Corona, Pegasus and Orion, officials said. The resort added three snowcats last year, Danforth said.
Stevens Pass is operated by Stevens Pass Mountain Resort LLC, which is owned by CNL Lifestyle Properties Inc. of Orlando, Fla. The company bought the ski area in 2011 from Seattle-based Harbor Properties, which owned the ski area for nearly 35 years, Danforth said.
The Florida company also owns the Summit at Snoqualmie Resort at Snoqualmie Pass and the Wild Waves Theme Park in Federal Way.
Bill Sheets: 425-339-3439; firstname.lastname@example.org.
•New, high-speed lift on Mill Valley run
New area open to skiing
Two new snowcats for snow grooming on four runs