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Today's word on journalism

Monday, January 29, 2007

Words as weapons:

"When he had a pen in his hand it was like giving a kid a machine gun."

--Peter Hall, theater director, on "Angry Young Man" playwright John Osborne (1929-1994)

Harry's dream at Beaver Mountain needs only snow to become reality

By Dave Mehr

December 15, 2006 | LOGAN -- Employees at Beaver Mountain's office in Logan continue to answer the phone just to hear the same question again and again: "When can we ski the Beav?" This is something everyone in Cache Valley would like to know the answer to.

Beaver Mountain ski area opened Dec. 13 last winter, and now with only a few inches of snow, employees continue to deal with anxious skiiers and snowboarders at the Logan office. The ski resort hosts about 90,000 people a year on all 1,100 acres of well-maintained slopes.

"We'd be concerned if they weren't calling," Ted Seeholzer, owner of the ski area, said recently in an interview.

For many snow fanatics, Beaver Mountain's new triple chairlift, "Harry's Dream," is what they are looking forward to. Harry's Dream was named after Ted's father and founder of the ski resort, Harold Seeholzer, who died in 1968. Installed in 1970, it was only a double lift, and now 36 years later, the lift has been improved and is better than ever.

"Our double was maxed out at 900 people per hour. The triple wil move 400 people per hour," Seeholzer said.

The Seeholzer family, which has owned and operated the Beaver Mountain ski area since it opened in 1939, decided to replace the original Harry's Dream lift with a higher capacity lift. The sheave trains that the ropes run on were replaced and seven additional towers were installed; the same electric motor is being used and there is a new 24-volt safety system and a remodeled gear box as well. The 4,600 feet long lift goes up and down a 1,600 foot vertical mountain with a loading interval of 7.9 seconds, loading 21 people each minute onto 150 chairs.

"There's one way to make them go and 100 ways to make them stop," Seeholzer said. "The lift runs very well; it did very well on the load test. It's well-balanced on stops."

Engineering for the new lift begain about two years ago, and Seeholzer said that more than $1 million has been put into remodeling Harry's Dream. Seeholzer's wife, Marge, has a chairlift in her name as well, called "Marge's Triple." It was installed in 2002.

"That was my husband's doing," Marge said.

"She didn't have anything named after her, so I thought it was time," Seeholzer said.

The Seeholzer family is proud to say that Beaver Mountain is the longest continuous family-owned ski resort in the United States. Seeholzer said that while there are currently about 600 ski resorts in the country, that number used to be twice as large. The family often receives offers from people wanting to buy the resort.

"We're far enough from the Salt Lake ski resorts that we still have that niche," Seeholzer said.

Seeholzer thinks his father would be impressed with the ski area today.

"I think he would be impressed with what we've done," Seeholzer said. "Dad was a conservative person and I think we've been pretty conservative."

Just like every other avid skier or snowboarder, Seeholzer is anxious to see more snow.

"It's kind of frustrating when you've got everything ready to go but Mother Nature isn't cooperating with you," he said. According to Seeholzer, the "Farmer's Almanac" is the most accurate weather predicter.

Those interested in keeping up to date on Beaver Mountain news and information can go to Beaver Mountain's Web site.

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