Snow King Adding New Lift, Base Lodge In $9M Upgrade; Summer Is Key
Construction crews are busy at Snow King Mountain, as the town hill for Jackson, Wyo., continues to get a makeover after years of inactivity.
The replacement of the 35-year-old Rafferty lift with a fixed-grip quad will add another 1,000 feet to the length of the ride, and another 311 vertical feet of lift access to the beginner and intermediate terrain on the mountain’s west side. The lift installation is due to be complete by the end of June – in time for the summer viewing, hiking and biking season.
“You don’t see many ski areas with as few skier days as we have investing like this,” Snow King’s Ryan Stanley said. “But for us it’s really all about the summer. We have 30 years of summer operations experience, and that has been the financial driver that has sustained the operation.”
The new Rafferty lift will serve two new intermediate runs to be cut this summer, while continuing its original off-season purpose: serving the Alpine Slide, and mountain biking and hiking trails. Also set for this summer will be a new mountain coaster and an “adventure park” that includes a ropes course, although completion dates for these facilities are flexible.
Ground has been broken for two new base lodge buildings, which are scheduled to be in service by the 2015-2016 winter season. The lodge will house a new bar and restaurant, and also ski school headquarters.
Snow King management is making a strong push to remain a viable player in the Snake River Valley recreational scene. Ownership invested in $4 million of snowmaking to offset Mother Nature’s mercurial supply last year.
"For a small ski area, we’re really trying to bring our amenities and services to a competitive industry standard,” Stanley said. “We've been able to turn around the financially struggling ski area to what we think, in the long term, will be a really successful asset for both Snow King and the town of Jackson for visitors and locals alike.”
Photo: Jackson Hole's two ski area gets new lift and base lodge (Snow King/Facebook)