Last season Schweitzer Mountain near Sandpoint, ID saw an unprecedented snowfall total with local skiers and riders rejoicing throughout the epic season. The slowest chair lift on the mountain and a popular destination for powder days is the beloved ‘Snow Ghost.’
As Schweitzer Mountain looks to the future, the Snow Ghost may be replaced in favor a new two lift alignment, coming summer 2019.
Modernizing chairlifts is a logical step in the development of most ski areas; as older machinery deteriorates, maintenance costs increase, and growing ridership demands faster ride times along with higher load capacities. For many ski areas it’s unfeasible to preserve antiquated chairlifts irregardless of their popularity or historical significance.
The proposed changes to Snow Ghost would be removal of the current chairlift, along with construction of two new chairlifts. The new chairlifts would extend all the way from near ‘Stella’, the resorts 6-pack chairlift at the bottom of Outback bowl, all the way to the 6378 ft. Sky House. A contentious decision to remove the Snow Ghost is reminiscent of the controversy at ski resorts across the country; how do you replace iconic chair lifts and balance the interests of your customers?
The current Snow Ghost originally called Chair 6, is a reminder of our ski history, the 1971 Riblet lift is an impressively long double chair with a 13 minute ride time. The Snow Ghost offers access to some of the most advanced terrain at Schweitzer, and the funky chairlift is appreciated for its leisurely pace along with undeniable charm.
In an industry where every chair lift is becoming a high-speed detachable 6-pack, old school Riblet chair lifts like the Snow Ghost are a welcomed sight. The construction at Schweitzer next summer will undoubtedly get more skiers up and down the Outback bowl, but we will make sure to make those Snow Ghost Laps count this winter.