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Summit Lake Ski Hill

1950's to late 1970's

Name of Ski Area: Summit Lake Ski Hill
Location: On the mountainside to east of the Summit Lake Lodge, at Summit Lake on the Kenai Peninsula.  Mile 45.5 of the Seward Highway.
Type of Area: Ski Hill
Dates of Operation: 1950's to late 1970's 
Who Built It?: Clarence Hass, the man who built the Summit Lake Lodge in 1954, built and ran this ski area.  His ski area venture partner was Paul Dall.
Base/Top/ Vertical Drop:

Base: ~1400' / Top: ~1800' / Vert: ~400'  (all guesses)

Lifts: 1 Rope Tow run by a Chevy 350 engine
Facilities: Warming hut
Miscellaneous: Family and single memberships were once sold for this ski hill.  A lot of backcountry skiing, snowboarding and snowmobiling is done in this area today.
Sources of Information:

Marty Amoldy (owner of the Summit Lake Lodge), Dave Brann, Bill Mielke; Tim Kelley; Larry Daniels

Photos: Does anyone have pictures of skiing at the Summit Lake Ski Hill (or current pictures of the vicinity) that they would like to contribute to alsap ?

~  PHOTOS  ~

Late Spring 2005 - Site Photos by Dave Brann

[Photo Credits:  Dave Brann]

Summit Lake Ski Hill Rope tow pole Rope tow power plant shed ruins
More shots of ruins of Summit Lake Rope Tow power plant shed

[Left] The rope tow engine.

[Right] Here is a picture of the old poster in Marty Amoldy's office at the Summit Lake Lodge.  A poster from "back in the day" ... when season passes were $40.00 !!

Fall 2005 - Site Photos by Tim Kelley

[Photo Credits:  Tim Kelley]

The Summit Lake Rope Tow power plant was on the upper level of a structure made out of rough-cut lumber.  Over time this building caved in. A foot pedal. You can see the rope groove in the drive wheel tire.
The rope tow engine. The engine mount posts. A shift lever.
A guide pulley with a rope groove. Maybe this tow shack also had a snack bar with some tasty fried food? Tow shack remains.
The only remaining lift tower that is still standing.   Front axle assembly with tire rim.  Note the guide to keep the rope from skipping off the rim.
At the base of the hill in the bushes there is the remains of the rope tow base.  You can see remains of the post in the background.  Looks like the top of the post was cut off with a chainsaw at some time. On to the base post was attached a welded rope return spreader.  You can make out this beefy ladder-like contraption with two tire rims attached in the weeds.  


This 1997 aerial view shows the location of the Summit Lake Ski Hill in relation to Summit Lake, and Summit Lake Lodge at mile 45.5 on the Seward Highway

(click on this aerial view to expand it)

terra_summitlake.jpg (98882 bytes)

Zooming in on the ski hill, you can see where the ski slope and where the rope tow used to be.

(click on view to expand it)

Research Correspondence 

[Marty Amoldy, Owner, Summit Lake Lodge - email October 29, 2004] 

Hello Tim,

I am afraid that i do not have that much info about the old ski tow.  I do belive that if was built by Mr Hass.  I have talked to his son  Buzz and that is what he had told me.  There was only one tow rope run by a old 350 ci chevy engine  They had a warming hut at the base of the hill which is still there today.  They sold family and single memberships for the season.  I have a poster of this in my office at the Lodge.  I am out of state as of now but next time you are in my area ( this coming summer ) I will be glad to shoe the poster to you.  If I come up with any more info I will let you know


Summit Lake Lodge


[Bill Mielke - 12 December 2004, email to Dave Brann, excerpt] 

Also my brother and I took an old rear end out of a Ford down to Randy Witmer who ran the tow at Summit Lake in about 1970.  We got 75 bucks and free tow tickets. 

[Larry Daniels - 09 March 2016 email] 

I went to work at Alyeska in 74.  At the time, we have 4 rope tows.  Out of necessity, I learned to splice and maintain those tows.  I know we still had at least one tow as late as 1981 as my son broke his leg on one.  Anyway, in the late 70s (sorry I cannot be more specific) I was hired by the owner of Summit Lake Lodge to put the tow into operation.  I put a couple of splices into the rope, aligned the sheaves and set up the safety gate and stop switches so that it could pass USFS inspections.  I did this work in the fall before there was snow but never had the opportunity to ride it.



Do you have further information, stories or pictures that you would like to contribute about this ski area?