Silver Mountain (Idaho)

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Silver Mountain
Silver Mountain is located in Idaho
Silver Mountain
Silver Mountain
Location in Idaho
Silver Mountain is located in the United States
Silver Mountain
Silver Mountain
Silver Mountain (the United States)
LocationKellogg, Idaho, U.S.
Nearest major cityCoeur d'Alene: 35 mi (56 km)
Spokane: 68 mi (110 km)
Coordinates47°29′42″N 116°08′06″W / 47.495°N 116.135°W / 47.495; -116.135Coordinates: 47°29′42″N 116°08′06″W / 47.495°N 116.135°W / 47.495; -116.135
Vertical2,197 ft (670 m)
Top elevation6,297 ft (1,919 m)
Kellogg Peak
Base elevation4,100 ft (1,250 m)
lowest chairlift - (#4)
5,650 ft (1,722 m)
Mountain Haus
(gondola summit & lodge)
2,300 ft (701 m)
(gondola base & village)
Skiable area1,600 acres (6.5 km2)
Ski trail rating symbol-green circle.svg - 20% beginner
Ski trail rating symbol-blue square.svg - 40% intermediate
Ski trail rating symbol-black diamond.svg - 30% advanced
Ski trail rating symbol-double black diamond.svg - 10% expert
Longest runCentennial Trail
2.5 miles (4.0 km)
Lift system1 gondola
1 quad chairlift
2 triples
2 doubles
1 surface tows
Snowfall300 in (760 cm)
Night skiing8 runs - (chair #2)
50 acres (0.20 km2)

Silver Mountain Resort is a ski resort in the northwest United States, located in the Silver Valley region of northern Idaho, just south of Kellogg and Interstate 90 in Shoshone County. Originally opened as "Jackass Ski Bowl" in January 1968 on Wardner Peak, it was renamed "Silverhorn" in 1973 following an ownership change. With planned improvements, most notably the gondola from the city of Kellogg and expansion on Kellogg Peak, the name was changed to "Silver Mountain" in the summer of 1989.[1]


Jackass Ski Bowl[edit]

Jackass Ski Bowl, near Wardner, was constructed 53 years ago in the summer of 1967 on lands leased from the Bunker Hill Mining Company.[2][3] It was named for Noah Kellogg's borrowed ore-discovering donkey (Jenny) of 1885.[4] The ski area began operations in January 1968 and the first seasons were promising,[5][6] with plans for lift expansion,[7][8] and a 1971 season that extended to mid-May.[9] But the next two years of poor skiing weather caused the operation to fall into financial difficulty. Following its sixth season, its assets were liquidated in a foreclosure sale by the SBA in August 1973 in Wallace,[10] and were purchased by the Bunker Hill Co. for $100,100.[11]


The ski facility was reorganized as Silverhorn ski area in 1973 under the ownership of Shoshone Recreation, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Bunker Hill.[12][13] Named after Silberhorn in the Bernese Alps, it was offered for sale in 1982,[14] and was acquired by the City of Kellogg in 1984.[15][16][17] It operated only on weekends and holidays during the 1986–87 season.[18]

Falling prices for metals in 1980, combined with environmental problems, forced many of the mines to curtail production. The century-old Bunker Hill mine and smelter operations, which had experienced a turbulent early history of labor disputes, finally closed in 1981. ASARCO, Hecla, and Sunshine soon followed, resulting in the direct loss of thousands of high-wage jobs, and the indirect loss of many others, with serious economic hardship to the Silver Valley area of Shoshone County.

Kellogg (and the Silver Valley) is the site of one of the largest EPA Superfund sites. Enormous efforts over that past few years have resulted in restoration of the area. Restoration means returning a natural resource back to a healthy condition.[19]

To diversify and expand the local economy, an increased focus was placed on recreation and tourism, primarily through the existing ski area. Silverhorn had one lift, a double chair (later renamed #4, then Jackass) with a vertical drop of 1,875 feet (572 m), and a mid-mountain loading/unloading area at the parking lot & day lodge. Silverhorn was accessed by vehicle via a difficult and dangerous twisting mountain road, which climbed over 2,700 feet (820 m) in just seven miles (11 km), an average grade of over seven percent. The road approached from the northwest and terminated in the parking lot at 5,040 ft (1,540 m), the mid-mountain base area of Wardner Peak. If the ski area was to attract more visitors, a better way of reaching the mountain was definitely needed.

In December 1987, the U.S. Congress approved an appropriation bill for the U.S. Forest Service which included $6.4 million of matching funds to assist in the construction of a new gondola from the city of Kellogg to Silverhorn. The bill was greatly assisted by the members of Idaho's congressional delegation.

In September 1988, tiny and economically depressed Kellogg voted to tax itself $2 million ($100,000 per year for 20 years), approved by over 87%, and Von Roll Tramways, a Swiss lift manufacturing company, was impressed enough to agree to guarantee much of the remaining funds needed to construct the improved resort. The state government of Idaho and the local electric utility (Washington Water Power, now Avista Corp.) also assisted.

Silver Mountain[edit]

On April 25, 1989, ground was broken for the construction of the gondola and base village, additional chairlifts, and other resort improvements. Renamed Silver Mountain in July,[1] it opened for summer operations in June 1990,[20][21][22][23] and for skiing that November. The elevation at the bottom terminal of the gondola is slightly under 2,300 feet (700 m) and unloads at about 5,650 feet (1,720 m); the 3.1-mile (5.0 km) trip takes seventeen minutes, traveling south-southeast over Wardner.

Gondola and chairlift rides, mountain biking, hiking, and concerts at the high-mountain outdoor amphitheater (capacity: 2500) are the primary summer activities at Silver Mountain. The base village and gondola base are located less than a half-mile (800 m) from exit #49 of Interstate 90.

In 1996, Silver Mountain was acquired by Eagle Crest Partners, a subsidiary of Jeld-Wen Corporation.[24][25][26]

A snow tubing park was constructed in the fall of 2006 at the site of the mountain amphitheater, which was relocated and expanded. An indoor water park (Silver Rapids) opened in May 2008.[27] The excitement surrounding the favorable snow conditions and summer activities—biking, ATV riding, hiking, fishing, swimming, hunting, golf, bird watching—prompted economic growth.[citation needed] The economic downturn in 2008 has created opportunity again for investment.

In 2016, Jeld-Wen sold the resort to Seattle-area businessman Tryg Fortun for $5 million.[28] The ownership group, CMR Lands LLC, acquired a second ski area in 2019: 49 Degrees North in northeastern Washington, north of Spokane.[29]

In 2020, an avalanche on Wardner Peak killed three and injured four; it occurred in the late morning on "16 to 1" on Tuesday, January 7.[30][31]

Mountain statistics[edit]

Silver Mountain is actually two mountains: Kellogg Peak, to the east, with a summit of 6,297 feet (1,919 m) and the original Wardner Peak at 6,205 ft (1,891 m). The ski area has a vertical drop of 2,197 ft (670 m) on its north-facing slopes. There are 67 named trails on its 1,590 acres (6.4 km2) skiable plus extensive off-piste areas; the terrain is rated at 20% beginner, 40% intermediate, 30% advanced, and 10% expert.

The ski area has seven lifts: one gondola (service to the base village and parking lot in Kellogg), five chairlifts (1 quad, 2 triples, 2 doubles), and a magic carpet). Its average annual snowfall is 300 inches (760 cm), with limited snowmaking on 35 acres (0.14 km2).

The future[edit]

The master plan of Silver Mountain proposes:

• An expanded Gondola Village with new shops, meeting facilities, restaurants, entertainment plaza.

• New high-speed chairlifts and snowmaking system and new trails with increased vertical drop (by lowering the base).


  1. ^ a b "Silverhorn now Silver Mountain". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). Associated Press. July 15, 1989. p. A13.
  2. ^ Zerza, Fred (December 2, 1967). "North Idaho boast brand new ski area". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). p. 13-Sunday Magazine.
  3. ^ "Jackass Ski Bowl dedication slated". Spokane Daily Chronicle. December 14, 1967. p. 34.
  4. ^ "Colorful name finally changed". Beaver County Times. (Pennsylvania). United Press International. September 18, 1973. p. A3.
  5. ^ "Developer has high hope for ski resort". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). Associated Press. December 31, 1967. p. 8.
  6. ^ "Ski Jackass ad". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). November 28, 1970. p. 24-Sunday Magazine.
  7. ^ "Jackass Bowl election held". Spokane Daily Chronicle. (Washington). August 3, 1971. p. 14.
  8. ^ "Ski resort expansion plans told". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). February 25, 1971. p. 7.
  9. ^ "Ski Jackass: open May 15–16". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). May 14, 1971. p. 25.
  10. ^ "Jackass Bowl to be auctioned". Spokane Daily Chronicle. (Washington). July 17, 1973. p. 18.
  11. ^ "Attorney for Bunker Hill lone bidder on ski bowl". Spokane Daily Chronicle. (Washington). August 3, 1973. p. 1.
  12. ^ "Silverhorn opening". Spokane Daily Chronicle. (Washington). November 5, 1981. p. 11.
  13. ^ "Silverhorn faces uncertain future". Spokane Chronicle. (Washington). United Press International. January 28, 1982. p. 31.
  14. ^ Bandel, Chuck (April 16, 1982). "For sale: Silverhorn resort, like new". Spokane Chronicle. (Washington). p. 3.
  15. ^ Bond, Dave (October 5, 1984). "Kellogg plans Silverhorn ski area operation". Spokane Chronicle. (Washington). p. 3.
  16. ^ Univ of Idaho Library - special collections
  17. ^ Silver - about us - history
  18. ^ "Silverhorn ski area". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. December 26, 1986. p. 13.
  19. ^ "What is restoration?". Restoration Partnership. Retrieved August 30, 2016.
  20. ^ Massey, Steve (September 14, 1990). "$5.3 million will improve resort". Spokane Chronicle. (Washington). p. A12.
  21. ^ "Destination North Idaho". Spokane Chronicle. (Washington). Weekend section. June 30, 1990. p. 10.
  22. ^ Pressentin, Anne (July 1, 1990). "Hundreds cheer gondola opening". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). p. A1.
  23. ^ Earl, Larry W. (July 20, 1990). "Catching a ride to the top". Spokane Chronicle. (Washington). (Empire Weekend) section. p. 10.
  24. ^ Torbenson, Eric (October 30, 1995). "Money moguls lining up to buy Silver Mountain". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). p. B1.
  25. ^ "Broken down Idaho mining town becomes golden again". Billings Gazette. (Montana). Associated Press. September 15, 2007. Retrieved September 2, 2019.
  26. ^ "Sealed bid auction underway for Idaho ski resort". First Tracks!! Online. January 9, 2013. Retrieved September 2, 2019.
  27. ^ Silver Mountain - The first nine holes of Silver Mountain's new golf course, Galena Ridge, were opened in mid-2010.
  28. ^ Maben, Scott (October 20, 2016). "Seattle-area businessman buys Silver Mountain Resort in Kellogg". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). Retrieved September 2, 2019.
  29. ^ McDonald, Josh (May 8, 2019). "Silver Mountain owners purchase 49º North". Shoshone News-Press. (Osburn, Idaho). Retrieved September 3, 2019.
  30. ^ "At least 2 dead, 5 rescued from snow after avalanche at Idaho ski resort". USA TODAY. Retrieved 2020-01-08.
  31. ^ Carroll, Megan (January 9, 2020). "Timeline: What we know about the deadly Silver Mountain avalanche". (Spokane, Washington): KREM-TV. Retrieved January 9, 2020.
  • Ski Silverhorn 1988-89, ski area brochure
  • The Kellogg Yodel, Winter 1996-97, Shoshone County supplement to The Spokesman Review.
  • North Idaho Travel Planner, 1998

External links[edit]