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SilverStar Mountain Resort
Location British Columbia, Canada
Nearest city Vernon
Coordinates 50°21′35″N 119°03′29″W / 50.35972°N 119.05806°W / 50.35972; -119.05806
Vertical 760 m (2,500 ft)
Top elevation 1915 m (6,280 ft)
Base elevation 1155 m (3,780 ft)
Skiable area 3,282 acres (13.3 km2)
Runs 132 Designated Trails
15% Beginner
40% Intermediate
35% Expert
10% Extreme
Longest run 8 km (5 mi)
Lift system 12 Total (1 8 person express gondola, 1 six-pack express, 2 detachable high-speed quads, 2 fixed grip quads,1 t-bar, 3 beginner magic carpets, 2 tube lifts)
Lift capacity 14,000 boarders/skiers per hour
Terrain parks Terrain Park
Snowfall 700 cm (23 ft) /annually
Snowmaking None
Website SilverStar Mountain Resort

SilverStar Mountain Resort (SilverStar) is a ski resort located near Silver Star Provincial Park in the Shuswap Highland of the Monashee Mountains, 22 km northeast of the city of Vernon, British Columbia, Canada. SilverStar's snow season runs from late November to mid-April weather permitting. SilverStar provides summer lift access for mountain biking and hiking from the end of June through to September.

Alpine Skiing Terrain

SilverStar has an annual snowfall of 700 cm or 23 ft (7.0 m) There are a total of 132 marked trails, with a vertical drop of 760 m (2,500 ft). The elevation of the village is 1,609 m (5,280 ft) whilst the summit is 1,915 m (6,280 ft) above sea level. With access to nearby Sovereign Lake Nordic Centre, SilverStar offers extensive Cross Country skiing with more than 105 kilometres (60 miles) of daily groomed trails.

SilverStar has a total of 12 lifts: One eight-seater gondola (summit express), one Six-Pack Express chairlift (Comet Six-Pack Express), two detachable high-speed quads (Silverwoods Express, Powder Gulch Express), two fixed-grip quads (Silver Queen Chair, Alpine Meadows Chair) one T-bar (Home Run T-bar), three beginner magic carpets, and two tube lifts, on 3,269 acres (13 km2) of skiable terrain.

The resort spans over four mountain faces, giving it four distinct areas :

Vance Creek offers most of the beginner and intermediate runs on the mountain. Therefore it is usually the busiest face of the mountain and has mostly groomed runs along with intermediate and expert runs. Vance Creek is serviced by the "Comet Six-pack Express" which ferries skiers from below the Village base and Silver Woods areas to the summit at 1,915 m. The "Summit Express”is a gondola that takes skiers directly from the Village to the summit as well.

Attridge is a small area beside Vance Creek which offers a wide variety of glade and groomed runs. The "Alpine Meadows" chair is a fixed grip quad and offers ski-in/ski-out access to the mountain from the developed area called Alpine Meadows.

Silver Woods is a recent expansion of the resort which is part of a catchment below the Comet Express and is serviced by the "Silver Woods Express" which is a detachable high-speed quad. Silver Woods offers many intermediate treed and glade runs and is an access point to the hill from the "Knoll Residential Area".

Putnam Creek is an area which introduces skiers to more difficult terrain than the rest of the mountain. Most of the runs in the Putnam Creek area are black diamond and double black diamond runs consisting of steep lines with moguls and tree skiing. The "Powder Gulch Express", a Detachable high-speed quad gives lift access to the many runs and a way out with the "Home Run T-bar" back to the village.


The Early Days

Vernon resident Bert Thorburn became the first person to ski in the Silver Star area in 1930. He rode his bike up to the end of a logging road in the area and then walked a distance following forestry trails to a forest fire lookout. He camped there for the night and skied down the next day. In 1946 the first rope tow was built on Burney Ridge, south of Vernon above the lookout overlooking Kalamalka Lake 800 ft (240 m) long. It was powered by an old four cylinder engine. The cooling system was a 40-gallon water drum hooked up to the radiator. For $.50, you could ski all day.

A few years later the ski hill was moved to Lavington on Michael Freeman's farm on the north slope above Highway 6. This had one or two rope tows and a shack for warming up with an oil barrel wood fired stove. You walked across the pasture to get to the shed. But skiing was limited to a few months of the year. The Ski Club had their eyes on Silver Star Mountain where they could ski 6 months of the year. But Silver Star was part of a Class A provincial park with no development allowed.

Silver Star Sports was started by Russ Postill, Mike Lattey, Bill Attridge, Joe Peters, John Kassa, Joyce Balestra and maybe John Hindle in 1956 or 1957. They got approval from the Province to build a ski hill in the Class A park in the summer of 1957 to go ahead but it was too late to build anything substantial so they brought in a trailer and small portable rope tow near Sovereign Lake where the snowmobile station is now. In 1958 the final three kilometers of the Silver Star road was pushed through by local contractor Russ Postill to the current day village area.

Construction of two rope-tow lifts and an A-frame day lodge (now renovated into Pinnacles condominiums) were built in 1958. In 1959 a poma lift was installed from the 5,000-foot (1,500 m) level at the parking lot to the top of SilverStar Mountain, replacing the rope tow. In 1964 new t-bars were installed to replace the slower rope tows and in 1965 a second A-frame structure was added to the day lodge. In 1967 and 1968 the Summit and Yellow Chairs (6,000 feet) built by GMD Mueller were installed, making Silver Star Mountain one of the largest ski areas in Canada.

One of the challenges of the early rope tows was that the rope stretched as it was used and had to be cut, shortened and spliced at regular intervals. This was the job of Mike Lattey who would sit out in the snow undoing and splicing the cold wet rope under a tarp while everyone else stayed inside drinking hot chocolate. He was also the official photographer. Some of his photos can be seen in Paradise Camp and the pub in the village.

SilverStar Mountain Resort Era

In 1981 Silver Star Sports purchased by Norm Crerar, Charlie Locke, John Hindle, Rob Marshall and John Gow and becomes Silver Star Mountain Resorts Ltd. The first Nordic trails were also cleared. In 1983 the Putnam Station Hotel is built by Russell Haubrich and Shella Ledingham, it is Silver Star's first on hill hotel. From 1984-1990 many new hotels and amenities are built on the hill. In 1990 the Silver Queen chair was built by Yan and replaced by a Doppelmayr quad chair and serves as the bunny hill. In 1991 the original Putnam Creek and Vance Creek express quads were built and opened up extensive amounts of terrain. In 2001 the Schumann family, owners of Big White Ski Resort since 1985, reached an agreement in principle with the Honourable Judd Buchanan, (Order of Canada),the majority shareholder of Silver Star Mountain Resort on the purchase of the majority assets of Silver Star Mountain Resort.

In 2002 Silver Star Mountain Resort invested heavily in new chair lifts and opening up new terrain followed by further expansion in 2005/06 to open up the Silver Woods ski area. The Comet Express, made by Leitner-Poma and carrying a rated 2600 passengers per hour, is Canada's largest 6-passenger chairlift. 2005 saw the expansion of the Silver Star Bike Park to start using the Comet Six-Pack chairlift for biking. New trails were cut and all of the existing trails were extended all the way down to the bottom of the Comet chair.

In 2012, following the death of father Desmond Schumann, Jane Cann received 100% stake in Siver Star Resort. Cann's brother Peter Schumann was given ownership of Big White. Formerly operated as a joint venture, the two resorts became separate entities.

On July 14, 2018, Silver Star held an opening event for its new Gondola, the Schumann Summit Express. The Gondola was manufactured by Doppelmayr. It can transport skiers and mountain bikers from the mid-mountain village to the summit in 4.4 minutes. Initially beginning with 21 cabins, the gondola is can grow to an estimated 43 cabins total, each holding 8 people, for an ultimate lift capacity of 2400 passengers per hour. The Summit Double chairlift, which carried skiers up a similar route since 1970, has been retired. Silver Star managing director Ken Derpak stated plans for future capital improvements including an Alpine Restaurant to be located at the summit between the Comet chairlift and the Schumann Gondola exits.

In 2019, Silver Star president Jane Cann announced that US adventure lifestyle company POWDR would acquire Silver Star Resort and Silver Star Holidays. POWDR is headquartered in Park City, Utah. Silver Star is the first Canadian property and one of ten resorts owned by POWDR, including Killington and Pico Mountain in Vermont, Mount Bachelor in Oregon, Snowbird in Utah, and Copper Mountain in Colorado.

Cann through Schumann Resorts, Ltd. retains 12 hectares of real estate development land at Silver Star.

Nordic Skiing

SilverStar is renowned for its cross-country skiing facilities. SilverStar offers extensive cross-country skiing with more than 105 kilometres (60 miles) of daily groomed trails. The lower trail system is directly accessible from the village, but cross country skiers can also take advantage of summit trails (lift-served). Five km of trails are lit for night skiing. The extensive trail system allows for an array of abilities to take in the sport, and access to nearby Sovereign Lake Nordic Centre draws experts including the Canadian National Team for regular early-season training.

Terrain park

SilverStar's terrain park consists of an extensive rail garden and also has an assortment of table-top and step-up jumps for all abilities. Silver Star also has an Aerial Training Site, a Dual Moguls Race Course, and a race center which hosted the 2005 Canadian Masters Slalom Championships.

Silver StarBike Park

Expanded in 2005 to start using the Comet Six-Pack the bike park features more than 50 km of downhill bike trails and more than 30 km of XC trail. The bike park features a 4 bike carrier lift system that uses a bike carrier on every second chair so you hardly ever wait in line. Biking terrain (XC and DH combined) consists of roughly 23% beginner green trails, 43% intermediate blue trails and 34% advanced and expert trails.

On-mountain activities

Apart from skiing and snowboarding, there are several other on-mountain activities. These are:

SilverStar’s My1Pass; is an all-inclusive seasons pass offering seven activities including downhill and cross-country skiing, snowboarding, tubing, skating, Fat Biking and snowshoeing.

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