Monday, May 20, 2024

Stevens Pass Announces New Parking Plans, New Kehr’s Chair Passes Load Test

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LEAVENWORTH – Winter is coming, and Stevens Pass has major updates for the upcoming season. Vice President and General Manager Ellen Galbraith shared updates at Wenatchee River Institute’s Red Barn event on Thursday, Nov. 9. The meeting included information about the new carpool incentivization plan, the new Kehr’s Chair, and new operational hours for food and beverage.

Under the carpool plan, Lots A and G, nearest to the ski area, are going to be reserved for vehicles with four or more occupants on weekends, holidays, and weekday powder days (defined as six inches or more). This will be enforced until either the lot is full or 1 p.m., whichever comes first. The plan includes three exceptions: ADA access, EV charger access, and three-occupant vehicles containing two children twelve or younger.

The plan was originally discussed in April of last season as a result of the public’s growing frustration with parking. “The biggest thing that I learned and had to lean into last year was parking at Stevens Pass,” said Galbraith. “Parking has been an issue at Stevens Pass since 1937.”

The Pass is still planning to continue to improve snow removal efforts, provide shuttle services from Yodelin, limit ticket sales, and identify suitable land for future lots. Another problem being addressed in the parking lots? A need for relief. A new pit toilet will be available in the back of Lot D this season, said Galbraith.

The new Kehr’s Chair also passed its load test on Thursday, Galbraith was excited to share. The news means it will be ready for public opening day. The new fixed-grip, four-seater chairlift will replace the old Kehr’s Chair, a two-seater Riblet chair from 1964.

Galbraith also discussed a better variety and longer operating hours for food and beverage offerings, including an additional day a week of operation for the Foggy Goggle.

As far as long-term plans go, Galbraith said she’s in the early stages of considering the possibility of expanding terrain on the front side of the mountain, such as the Grace Lakes area west of Brooks Chair, and the Northern Exposure area just east of Kehr’s Chair. For now, she’s mostly focused on daily operations.

Stevens Pass has a tentative opening date of Dec. 1.

Taylor Caldwell: 509-433-7276 or taylor@ward.media

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