Silver Mountain Resort
During the mid-1980s, city councilman, Wayne Ross came up with the concept of constructing a gondola from the valley floor to an expanded ski and summer resort area to stimulate a staggering economy, which was devastated by the loss of mining and logging jobs. The Gondola Board, comprised of Duane Little, Terry Douglas, Dale Lavigne, Terry Turnbow, and three representatives from Von Roll Tramways, worked tirelessly to attract funding for the gondola project. In December 1987, Congress approved a $6.4 million grant to assist in the construction of the gondola. Von Roll Tramways, a Swiss lift manufacturing company, agreed to guarantee the remaining funds needed to construct the gondola. In April 1989, ground was broken for the construction of the gondola and other resort improvements.
The city of Kellogg renamed the original Jackass Chair to Chair 4 and expanded the ski area adding Chairs 1, 2, and 3, the Mountain House, the gondola terminals, Timbers Restaurant, parking lot, a slew of new ski runs, and more. Chair 5 was later added along with the Amphitheatre, a new cat shop, and an eventual expansion to the new lodge. Around town, the businesses embraced a Bavarian theme, adding murals, gingerbread trim, and other design elements meant to mimic the alpine feel of Leavenworth, Wa.
Silver Mountain Resort opened for operations on June 30, 1990, to much fanfare. Concerts, hiking, huckleberry picking, scenic chairlift and gondola rides, as well as mountain biking were all a hit in the summer time. During the winter people flocked to the greatly expanded ski area, and were greeted with a completely new experience. Everything from the ski runs, to the instructors jackets and lodge was fresh and new.