Silver Mountain (Idaho)
|Location||Kellogg, Idaho, U.S.|
|Nearest city||Coeur d'Alene: 35 mi (56 km)
Spokane: 68 mi (109 km)
|Vertical||2,197 ft (670 m)|
|Top elevation||6,297 ft (1,919 m)
|Base elevation||4,100 ft (1,250 m)
lowest chairlift - (#4)
5,700 ft (1,737 m)
(gondola summit & lodge)
2,300 ft (701 m)
(gondola base & village)
|Skiable area||1,600 acres (6.5 km2)|
- 20% beginner
- 40% intermediate
- 30% advanced
- 10% expert
|Longest run||Centennial Trail
2.5 miles (4.0 km)
|Lift system||1 gondola
1 quad chairlift
2 surface tows
|Snowfall||300 in (760 cm)|
|Night skiing||8 runs - (chair #2)
50 acres (0.20 km2)
Silver Mountain Resort is a ski resort in the Silver Valley region in the Idaho Panhandle, 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. After major improvements in 1990, most notably the gondola from the city of Kellogg and expansion on Kellogg Peak, the name was changed to "Silver Mountain."
Jackass Ski Bowl
Jackass Ski Bowl, near Wardner, was constructed in the summer of 1967 on lands leased from the Bunker Hill Mining Company. It was named for Noah Kellogg's borrowed ore-discovering donkey (Jenny) of 1885. The ski area began operations in January 1968 and the first seasons were promising, with plans for lift expansion and a 1971 season that extended to mid-May. 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, and were purchased by the Bunker Hill Co. for $100,100.
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. Named after Silberhorn in the Bernese Alps, it was offered for sale in 1982 and was acquired by the City of Kellogg in 1984. It operated only on weekends and holidays during the 1986–87 season.
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. (www.restorationpartnership,org)
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 (823 m) in just 7 miles (11 km), an average grade of over 7%. The road approached from the northwest and terminated in the parking lot at 5,040 ft (1,536 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.
On April 25, 1989, ground was broken for the construction of the gondola and base village, additional chairlifts, and other resort improvements. The newly renamed Silver Mountain opened for summer operations in June 1990 and for skiing that November.
Gondola and chairlift rides, mountain biking, hiking, and concerts at the high-mountain outdoor amphitheather (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 June 1996, Silver Mountain was acquired by Eagle Crest Partners, a subsidiary of JELD-WEN Corporation.
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. The excitement surrounding the great snow conditions and fabulous summer activities—biking, ATV riding, hiking, fishing, swimming, hunting, golf, bird watching—prompted economic growth. (www.silvermt.com/pdf/seattletimes11-07.pdf) The economic downturn in 2008 has created opportunity again for investment.
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.
Silver Mountain has 7 lifts: 1 gondola (service to the base village and parking lot in Kellogg), five chairlifts (1 quad, 2 triples, 2 doubles), and a magic carpet). The average annual snowfall is 300 inches (760 cm), with limited snowmaking on 35 acres (0.14 km2).
The gondola loads at the Gondola Village (Kellogg at an elevation of 2,300 ft (701 m), a quarter mile (400 m) from exit 49 on Interstate 90. The lift ascends south-southeast and crosses over the village of Wardner; it vertically climbs 3,400 ft (1,036 m) to an elevation of 5,700 ft (1,737 m) at the Mountain Haus Lodge terminal, above mid-mountain on Kellogg Peak.) in the city of
There are 112 gondola cabins (8 passengers) and 45 towers along the 3.1 mi (5.0 km) trip, the longest single-stage people carrier in the world. (Others are longer, but have angle stations with two drive terminals or they do not carry people.) Its current capacity is 1600 passengers per hour (200 cabins) at 1,000 feet (305 m) per minute (11.3 mph, 18.3 km/h), and a one-way trip takes about 18 minutes.
Fourteen months after ground-breaking, the gondola opened to the public for summer rides on June 30, 1990. Finishing touches to the resort's chairlifts, lodges, and base area were accomplished in time for skiing on Thanksgiving Day on November 22, 1990.
The master plan of Silver Mountain proposes:
• An expanded Gondola Village with new shops, meeting facilities, restaurants, entertainment plaza.
- Zerza, Fred (December 2, 1967). "North Idaho boast brand new ski area". Spokesman-Review. p. 13-Sunday Magazine.
- "Jackass Ski Bowl dedication slated". Spokane Daily Chronicle. December 14, 1967. p. 34.
- "Colorful name finally changed". Beaver County Times. United Press International. September 18, 1973. p. A3.
- "Developer has high hope for ski resort". Lewiston Morning Tribune. Associated Press. December 31, 1967. p. 8.
- "Ski Jackass ad". Spokesman-Review. November 28, 1970. p. 24-Sunday Magazine.
- "Jackass Bowl election held". Spokane Daily Chronicle. August 3, 1971. p. 14.
- "Ski resort expansion plans told". Spokesman-Review. February 25, 1971. p. 7.
- "Ski Jackass: open May 15-16". Spokesman-Review. May 14, 1971. p. 25.
- "Jackass Bowl to be auctioned". Spokane Daily Chronicle. July 17, 1973. p. 18.
- "Attorney for Bunker Hill lone bidder on ski bowl". Spokane Daily Chronicle. August 3, 1973. p. 1.
- "Silverhorn opening". Spokane Daily Chronicle. November 5, 1981. p. 11.
- "Silverhorn faces uncertain future". Spokane Chronicle. United Press International. January 28, 1982. p. 31.
- Bandel, Chuck (April 16, 1982). "For sale: Silverhorn resort, like new". Spokane Chronicle. p. 3.
- Bond, Dave (October 5, 1984). "Kellogg plans Silverhorn ski area operation". Spokane Chronicle. p. 3.
- Univ of Idaho Library - special collections
- Silver Mountain.com - about us - history
- "Silverhorn ski area". Spokesman-Review. December 26, 1986. p. 13.
- Silver Mountain - The first nine holes of Silver Mountain's new golf course, Galena Ridge, were opened in mid-2010.
- 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
- Official website
- Visit Idaho.org - official state tourism site
- Idaho Ski Resorts.com - Silver Mountain Resort
- Ski Lifts.org - photos of Silver Mountain's lifts
- Silver Mountain - a brief history
- Bunker Hill Mining Company - University of Idaho Library: Special Collections
- Kellogg Redefined: A Mining Town Reinvents Itself - by Prof. Harley Johansen, University of Idaho, Spring 2006