Kelly Canyon gearing up for ski season with installation of poles for new lift - East Idaho News
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Kelly Canyon gearing up for ski season with installation of poles for new lift

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Salt Lake City-based lift manufacturer SkyTrac installed 15 poles for Kelly Canyon’s new ski lift Saturday morning via helicopter. Watch some of it in the video player above. | Photo courtesy Valerie Jewett

RIRIE – Kelly Canyon is one step closer to the completion of its new ski lift.

The ski resort worked with Salt Lake City-based lift manufacturer SkyTrac Saturday morning to install 15 ski poles for the new Fix-grip Triple Lift.

Resort Owner Mike VanSteenkiste tells the new lift will be able to serve 1,500 skiers per hour — nearly triple the amount the old lifts could accommodate in that same timeframe.

“For a long time, people have wanted something new and upgraded,” VanSteenkiste says. “It will help create a better experience here at Kelly’s.”

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Skiers have used two lifts at Kelly Canyon in previous years.

Another reason for the new ski lift, VanSteenkiste says, is partly due to wind issues on the ridge near the mid-station on the second lift, which has been a safety concern in the past and would sometimes result in lift one being shutdown during prime skiing time.

VanSteenkiste and his crew have been working to open up new terrain on the mountain and the new lift goes up an additional 600 feet to accommodate that.

“There’s a whole bunch of area that’s been opened up that people haven’t been able to ski. They’ll also be able to ski down Moose and some other terrain that you previously had to hike to,” he says.

The original lifts were installed in 1957. The first one will be decommissioned prior to the start of ski season. The second one will continue to operate in conjunction with the new one.

The new ski lift is one of several changes in the works at Kelly Canyon. VanSteenkiste became the new owner in 2019 and one of the first changes was the addition of a mountain bike park for people to use during the summer. There are 19 miles of trails throughout the mountain and he says people have really enjoyed this new feature.

RELATED | Kelly Canyon opens summer season under new ownership

“That’s been going good. We’re excited about the bike park,” VanSteenkiste says.

Earlier this year, the resort also invested in a magic carpet lift, a ramp-style conveyor that runs along the ground, to replace the traditional rope tow at the base of the mountain near the lodge.

They also have a brand-new Latitude 90 snowmaking machine from Canada to ensure there is always fresh snow for skiers.

“It produces snow 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It’s pretty cool technology. There’s only two in the United States,” VanSteenkiste explains. “We’ll probably do some type of rail jam, where we (produce snow in the summer). Some of our snowmaking capabilities have been subpar in the past, so we’re trying to kick that up as well.”

Fiber optic internet has been added to allow for improved wi-fi connection at the lodge and a year-round restaurant is in the works as well.

“The year-round restaurant will be fun. It will be a great place to eat, grab a burger, come hang out on the hill. There will be an outdoor eating area (on the east side) with pavers. It will be a nice facelift and addition to Kelly’s,” he says.

He’s looking forward to rolling out some real estate options in the future, too.

Ski season typically begins in mid-December. VanSteenkiste says they’ve invested a lot of money into this project and he’s excited for people to see the improvements and enjoy a day on the slopes.

“We really appreciate the support of the community. This has been a long time coming,” he says. “We’re excited for the community to experience something new.”