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Chitina Ski Slope

1963 to 1965, never completed

Name of Ski Area: Chitina Ski Slope
Location: Chitina, Alaska, on Cannon Hill
Type of Area: Proposed alpine ski area
Dates of Operation: Planned but never built
Who Built It?: Vern and Betty Conrad had plans to build this ski area.

Base: ~700', Top: ~1400

Lifts: A rope tow was acquired, but never put in service
Facilities: None

Tom Kizzia's book, 'Cold Mountain Path', mentions on page 82 of a "heavy rope that was being used for a ski lift [in Chitina]".

Sources of Information:

Kenny Smith, Tom Kizzia

~  MAPS  ~

 This map shows the location of Cannon Hill.  The exact location of where the rope tow was supposed to be installed on Cannon Hill is not known.

(click on this map to expand it)

Research Correspondence 
[Kenny Smith - 16 February 2022 email]

"Chitina Ski Slope", wow, very few know about that venture. It was pretty much a dream, as it got side tracked.  

In 1963-64, Vern Conrad and his wife, Betty, from the Seattle area, had bought out the surface rights at Kennecott from Ray Trotecheau. After they acquired Kennecott, they spent a lot of time in Chitina, one or two winters, during which they became friends with Howard Knutson and his wife Adina.  Howard and Adina were one third owners of Copper Valley Trading Company and Adina was postmaster who owned and ran the Chitina Hotel and bar. 

Vern and Betty were big skiers. They got Howard interested and they all decided to make Chitina a ski mecca. Howard cleared a portion of the side of "Cannon Hill" for the slope. Somehow they acquired a real tow rope. I'm not certain if they got a tow engine or not. But the rope was laying along side the ski hill, in 1965.

During this period Howard and Vern became partners in Kennecott. Formed a company called Consolidate Wrangell. By 1965 their mining aspirations were huge. The ski lodge and slope endeavor got lost in the shuffle.    



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