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CEREMONY AT STEVENS PASS SUNDAY HONORS FOUNDER
March 28, 2009
(STEVENS PASS, WA) -- A local man who was a pioneer in the early Northwest ski industry and is generally considered to be the father of the modern day Stevens Pass Ski Resort just up the road from the Sky Valley on Highway 2, will be honored tomorrow at the ski destination he helped create many years ago.
Stevens Pass Ski Resort that Bruce Kehr founded. CLICK TO ENLARGE.
Bruce & Virginia Kehr in late 1930's. Photo courtesy Stevens Pass Ski Resort. CLICK TO ENLARGE
Sunday morning at Stevens Pass Resort the Big Chief chairlift will be renamed “Kehr’s Chair” in honor of the late Bruce Kehr who died December 2, 2008 at the age of 96.
Kehr is one of the original owners and one of the men who cleared the land for the Stevens Pass ski area in 1937. He was also one of the owners who operated the resort from that year until 1976 when he sold the company to Harbor Properties of Seattle, which still owns and operates the resort.
Tomorrow the Big Chief Chairlift will be opening late – at 9:30 am – to accommodate the dedication ceremony marking the name change. Members of the Kehr family and others will assemble at 9 a.m. for the ceremony which includes the unveiling of new signs and a historical display. Members of Kehr’s family will take the first ride up the new Kehr’s Chair lift.
Kehr’s life long love affair with skiing and the mountains became his new vocation when he and Don Adams, a ski pal and business partner, bought the rights to develop a section of Big Chief Mountain and in 1937 set about clearing trees and undergrowth.
Their first rope tow was wheels and ropes hooked up to an old V-8 engine that had been taken out of a Ford. The whole setup cost eight hundred bucks.
That first season the pioneering Kehr and Adams earned a grand total of $80.00 and an overall year-end loss of $8.00. The two men nevertheless trudged on with heir vision building year after year what would one day become the 1,125-acre, 37-run ski area encompassing two mountains that we see today.
Eventually Adams sold his share of the business and Kehr brought his young bride, Virginia, to the mountain to live and work beside him as the resort grew. As a team they worked long days to realize their dream of a ski destination in the Washington’s Cascade Mountains. Virginia Kehr died in 2005.