The history of many ski areas is marked with break through moments. Some are accidental, and some are strategically crafted. In time, the SilverStar community may look back on July 14, 2018 as one of those moments.
It was the day SilverStar opened the Schumann Summit Express Gondola. The Doppelmayr lift top and bottom stations were installed last summer, and the balance completed this year. It can run at 5.08 metres per second and currently carries 1200 passengers per hour with 21 cabins – a number that can double.
The lift runs from the village to the summit of SilverStar offering Okanagan Lake views and access to alpine hiking trails and food and beverage facilities. Those that call into SilverStar administration on a frequent basis will recognize Diane’s friendly voice. Every Friday she does a lunch tour on the gondola and tells me the grilled cheese sandwiches are the ‘must do.’
The Schumann family, Jane Cann and husband Rob (left), and GM Ken Derpak and Brad Baker deserve to be proud of their team. SilverStar built an entire festival atmosphere around the gondola’s first day. Free gondola rides was a catalyst, but this was just the start. Activities included a complimentary community BBQ (for thousands of people), kids activities, full time music, and a new hiking trail. The Village View 1.8 km alpine hiking trail follows route between the Chute and old high t-bar lift line. All combined, the plethora of activities created a memorable experience.
SilverStar also invited many familiar faces to the celebration. Andy Spencer and Molly and Sandy Boyd, former owners of nearby Tillicum attended, and parking lot Maestro Norm Crerar was seen talking turns with Norm Kreutz. As always, Team Inter-Mtn was on hand for signage quality control.
The day may be a benchmark moment because over 4000 people discovered SilverStar that day. Those winter season pass holders and or mountain bikers saw an entirely new SilverStar. And the majority of guests had either never been to SilverStar because they do not engage in winter activity, or had not visited at all. The event (and the enclosed gondola) motivated an entirely new market segment that now see SilverStar as an ideal experience for weddings, corporate retreats, family reunions, and a day or weekend get-away vacation.
SilverStar like so many other destinations has an incredible winter experience and continues to diversify its offering into non-winter months. Introducing a SilverStar summer to thousands of new potential clients in one day, may well be considered a hallmark moment in the not so distance future.