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Hatcher Pass Ski Area

Proposed in the 1970's, never built

Name of Ski Area: Hatcher Pass Ski Area
Location: Palmer, Alaska at Hatcher Pass
Type of Area: Lift serviced ski area
Dates of Operation: Proposed in the 1970's (still researching), never built
Who?: This ski area may have been proposed by the Alaska Pacific Consolidated Mining Company in conjunction with Hap Wurlitzer (still researching).
Base/Vertical Drop:

Base: ~2800' / Vertical: ~1500'

Lifts: Proposed lifts were and 8300 foot Riblet chairlift and rope tows.  The possibility of a gondola or lift serving the Willow Creek side of Hatcher Pass was also proposed.  None of these lifts were built.
Facilities: A day lodge and hotel were proposed by never built.
History: The photo/proposal below was found by UAA archivists in a folder in Alaska Pacific Consolidated Mining Company materials.  The archivists estimated that this proposal was from the 1970's, this is still being researched.
Sources of Information:

Arlene Schmuland, Megan Friedel and Mariecris Gatlabayan of the Archives and Special Collections Department of the Consortium Library at the University of Alaska, Anchorage

~  PHOTOS  ~

Photo credit: Alaska-Pacific Consolidated Mining Company records, Archives and Special Collections, Consortium Library, University of Alaska Anchorage.

Text that appears on the above photo:


[Upper right text] Cost figures reflect M.E.A power directly to the base area.

Matanuska Electric Association power lines would not follow road route. They would sweep up along the foothills what contain a heavy brush cover.

This would make the lines completely obscure from sightseers.


Top terminal of present chair will tie in with future chair or gondola system from the willow side. This will link both sides of the pass to form a combination ski area.

Day lodge will contain complete restaurant facilities to handle summer traffic. The lodge will also contain apartments and dorms to house working crews.

[Right middle text] Please note that cost of hotel or main lodge is not included in the above cost figure. The hotel will be constructed at a later time when the site and type of facility can be more appropriately determined.

[Lower left text] New Highway construction should terminate at the base parking area. Visitors reaching this area have direct access to the entire ski area on foot, cross country skis or chair lift.

The remaining road system beyond this point should remain as it is now with the exception of routine road maintenance and grading for summer traffic safety. The road that winds up through the Pass is a popular ski run and disruption to the present road could create a danger for skiers. For example, posts hidden below the snows surface. During the winter months motorized vehicles would be confined to the base parking area.

The base parking area is a natural flat strip (a former airstrip) capable of parking several thousands of vehicles if this becomes necessary. No excavation would be necessary to handle this load. The day lodge sewage system will be incorporated under the parking area with little or no environmental damage.

Access to Independence Mine and tows in this area would be by cross country skis, aerial lift or by road if it proves feasible to operate the facilities at the Mine as an added attraction to the area. The nature of the terrain between the Mine and the hotel would probably be more popular for cross country skiing.

[Lower right text] A number of secondary rope tows would be installed in the main area as well as around the base lodge and hotel. At this time it is difficult to determine where they can be placed until the area is skied out and location for this equipment becomes apparent. This would also hold true for a round house or warm-ups that would eventually be placed at a point near the mid-way on the chair lift.

The hotel location is ideally situated. The area is flat and completely free of avalanche danger. The hotel would command a view of the entire area, Independence Mine, Palmer and the Matanuska Valley. The view of the main ski bowl would be unique in that one can see the entire ski run from the top chair lift terminal to the base area.

Our observation over the past 12 years show a zero avalanche danger in the main ski area (under the chair lift). The area’s northern exposure provides excellent snow conditions throughout the ski season. A temperature inversion that exists at this elevation provides for warmer weather during cold periods. Wind is reduced to a minimum from the protected afforded by higher peaks. No excavation or clearing is needed anywhere on the mountain. Rocks and brush are non-existent in the main ski area.

In our estimate the chair lift will open up the slopes with the greatest down-hill ski potential with the least environmental damage in the surrounding area. The vertical drop from the top to the base is considered to be moderate. For this reason the area should be popular with all types of skiers including cross country.

~  MAPS  ~

This large scale topo map shows the area location of the once proposed  Ski Area.

(click on this map to expand it)

This topo map shows the approximate location of the once proposed Hatcher Pass / Hatcher Creek Area lifts.

(click on this map to expand it)

Research Correspondence 



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