Back in 2018, J.S.K. and Company, the operators of Timberline Lodge & Ski Area, OR, acquired their neighbor just six miles down the mountain, Summit Ski Area. Summit Ski Area was built in 1927 and is the oldest ski resort in the Pacific North West and the second oldest in the US. The merger was made official in July 2021 and has created a resort with the longest vertical terrain in the US––4,540-feet.
Timberline’s Summit Pass (formerly known as Summit Ski Area) is officially part of the Timberline ski area as of July 2021, increasing Timberline’s vertical terrain to 4,540 feet, the longest in the United States. Located in Government Camp, Oregon, the Summit Pass Lodge, and base area offer affordable access to its beginner ski and snowboard terrain, as well as lessons, rentals, a restaurant, and snow tubing area.
While this entire giant vertical, from Timberline to Summit Pass, is not yet lift-serviced, it is accessible via other transportation methods and available when there is enough snow at all elevations. In the winter, skiers and snowboarders with a lift ticket or season pass can take the Timberline Resort Shuttle from Summit Pass in Government Camp up to Timberline. At Timberline, catch the Magic Mile Chair Lift up to the Palmer Snowcat access point to be taken to the top of Palmer. Enjoy the ride down to the Alpine Trail or West Leg Road, which ends at the bottom of Summit Pass.
Through the acquisition, J.S.K and Company gained access to 52-acres of the Summit Ski Area Special Use Permit (SUP), nine-acre Snow Bunny Snow Play Area, as well as base area features such as the lodge, maintenance buildings, ski patrol A-frame, and parking. While Summit Ski Area is a small, family-friendly ski area, J.S.K and Company have much bigger plans for a potential connection between the two areas in the future.
What’s Being Proposed?
- Amending and extending the existing Summit Ski Area SUP to connect and consolidate with the Timberline Lodge & Ski Area SUP
- New ten passenger interconnect “Timberline Gondola” connecting Summit Ski Area with Timberline Lodge & Ski Area
- New four passenger chairlift at Summit Ski Area to replace the existing 1980 double chairlift
- Terrain expansion inside the new SUP boundaries to include new trails for both winter and summer use
- Improved parking, remodeled Summit Base Lodge, upgraded snowmaking, and enhanced snow play options
The goal of the project is to preserve the unique and historic character of Summit Ski Area, upgrade the guest experience and transportation options, and increase parking and facilities while moving into the future sustainably. The connector gondola and improved parking would alleviate congestion on Highway 173 (Timberline Road) leading to increased safety and less driving to get on the hill.
You can find additional information by accessing the full master development plan.
Believe it or not, the two ski areas were connected previously during the 1950s. A “skyway” of sorts that was essentially a flying bus linked the two for a brief time period, but based on pictures, I can see why it didn’t last too long.