Crews laid down the first A-frame support structure after removing it from the previous loading terminal for the Daisy chair using a crane. (Vail Resorts)

Crews laid down the first A-frame support structure after removing it from the previous loading terminal for the Daisy chair using a crane. (Vail Resorts)

At Stevens Pass, summer work promises uplifting ski season

Two new chairlifts are part of a $35 million investment into four mountains including Stevens.

STEVENS PASS — Upgrades to two Stevens Pass chairlifts aim to speed up the path to the slopes for beginning skiers and snowboarders.

Chairlifts and loading terminals on the Daisy and Brooks trails are receiving complete overhauls this summer as part of an investment by owner Vail Resorts.

“We listened to what the team had to say about what we could do from an improvement standpoint,” said Tom Pettigrew, general manager of Stevens Pass Ski Resort. “This seemed to be where we could focus our investment to have the greatest on-mountain experience change in a positive direction.”

New four-person chairs on the Daisy lift to the beginner terrain are projected to carry 33 percent more riders, and an updated loading area is designed to foster an easier loading process for novices.

A regrade of the Brooks terminal will give skiers a downhill approach to an improved chairlift which will now seat four people, doubling the capacity of the two-person chairs.

“The chairlift improvements will help our guests spend less time in line and more time on the hill and really enjoy the experience,” Pettigrew said.

As part of the revamp, regulars at the Skyline Express chairlift will find it 140 feet farther up the mountain next winter. In a single day, crews will use the simultaneous work of two cranes to deliver the terminal to its new location.

The shift will create space for better access to the Skyline, Brooks and Hogsback Express lifts.

Seattle resident Brian Ulman has skied Stevens Pass since 1983 and, despite not riding the Daisy or Brooks lifts, he believes the changes will benefit everyone.

“It’s going to reduce the lines at the chairs I want to ski,” he said.

The full height of crane is shown as it removes the second A-frame support beam from the old Daisy chairlift loading terminal. (Vail Resorts)

The full height of crane is shown as it removes the second A-frame support beam from the old Daisy chairlift loading terminal. (Vail Resorts)

Miles McKee, a 20-year skier of Stevens Pass, will be teaching his 4-year-old son to ski this winter. He is excited to see how the remodel to Daisy makes the skiing experience easier for his son and others.

“Any improvement or any ease of access to boarding the chairlift for the first time is definitely a welcome improvement,” McKee said.

All upgrades are part of a two-year, four-mountain, $35 million capital investment announced last year by Vail Resorts, which bought Stevens Pass for $67 million in 2018.

Work began on the lifts at the end of April and is expected to be completed by the start of the 2019-2020 operating season on Dec. 4.

Dining options at the resort will also be undergoing changes, however the specifics of those investments are still undecided. Other facility improvements are also expected over time.

“We will have a winter to see how these replacements affect how the customers utilize the hill,” Pettigrew said. There are “still some older chairlifts and infrastructure that we will be evaluating in the future, so stay tuned.”

Ian Davis-Leonard: 425-339-3449; idavisleonard@heraldnet.com. Twitter: IanDavisLeonard.

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