Saturday, May 18, 2024

Stevens Pass opens for the 2023-2024 season, cuts ribbon on new Kehr’s Chair

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SKYKOMISH – Stevens Pass opened for the 2023-2024 season on Tuesday, Dec. 12, followed by the start of night operations, the ribbon-cutting of the new Kehr’s Chair and grand opening of a new restaurant, Pacific Cantina, on Friday, Dec. 15.

“We’ve been looking forward to opening day and it felt great to welcome guests back for the 2023/24 winter season. Our employees have been eager to get operations underway, and everyone was excited to be here,” said Ellen Galbraith, Vice President and General Manager of Stevens Pass.

Three of the 14 lifts (counting carpets and rope tows) were able to run on opening day, including Daisy, Brooks and Skyline. Stevens had a ceremonial banner break on the Brooks chair to kick off the season. 

Skiing conditions are still “early-season,” with a majority of the mountain’s terrain closed due to minimal snow coverage. The original opening date of Dec. 1 was delayed due to the fact that the base area only had around 10 inches of snow at the time.

“We were in a wait-and-see pattern for a while because we needed more snow to open,” said Galbraith.

A storm that occurred during the weekend prior to Dec. 12 brought enough snow to bring the base area up to 34 inches, allowing for a limited opening. In a day and a half, the team at Stevens worked to clear the parking lots and chairlifts of snow, pack down the trails, and set up signage and markings.

Stevens Pass has been opening up more terrain as conditions permit. Hogsback chairlift was added to the mix three days in. Four days after opening, the highly anticipated new Kehr’s Chair was able to spin. 

Director of Mountain Operations Vince Arthur led the project over the summer that replaced the old, two-seater Kehr’s Chair with a fixed-grip, four-seater chair. Arthur cut the ribbon at the grand opening.

“[I’m feeling] kind of emotional. It’s kind of cool. It was a tough, long summer for all of us, but we did it as a team, a small team, and we worked hard. Everybody worked hard for this,” said Arthur.

Arthur gave a quick speech to a crowd of skiers and snowboarders, giving thanks to the US Forest Service for its partnership and the Stevens Pass employees that worked on the chair. A ski patroller, lift mechanic, and USFS representative rode the first chair with Arthur.

“First chair with these folks right here. Enjoy the rest of the afternoon. Enjoy the new chair. Welcome to Kehr’s,” Arthur said to the crowd. 

On the same day, Pacific Cantina made its debut as the newest food offering at the Pass. The restaurant will serve margaritas and tacos out of Pacific Crest Lodge.

The ski resort anticipates the weekends will be busy, and encourages guests to arrive by 9 a.m. and carpool when possible. Lots A and G will be reserved for carpool vehicles with four or more occupants on weekends, holidays, and powder days. There is an exception for ADA and EV charger access, plus family vehicles with one driver and two or more children aged 12 years or younger.



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

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