Dodge Ridge Ski Resort celebrates its 60th anniversary this year with a nod to its past as it prepares for the significant changes in store for the future.
The resort opened in 1950 under the direction of owner Earl Purdy.
At the time, the resort had fewer than 50 seasonal employees, a single lodge, chair lift and rope tow, according to a release by Marketing Manager Amber Jenquin.
The current owners, Frank and Sally Helm, bought Dodge Ridge in 1976.
Under the guidance of the Helm family, Dodge Ridge expanded both in the
number of people it serves and in the amenities it offers.
Four hundred seasonal workers attend to thousands of visitors who
come from across California to play on the 832 acres of skiable area.
The resort offers eight chair lifts, three surface lifts, two full-service base area lodges and one mid-mountain lodge.
Two of the newest chair lifts, added in 1985 and 1998 respectively,
tripled the skiable acreage at Dodge Ridge, opening up higher
elevations and challenging routes to expert skiers and snowboarders
looking for a test of their skill.
"The past 35 years has been both exciting and challenging," said
owner Frank Helm. "Challenges are nothing new to anyone in the ski
industry, but after 35 years, Sally and I couldn't imagine doing
This season, Dodge Ridge is adding something for the kids, Jenquin wrote.
The resort will install two new conveyor lifts - what staff are
calling "magic carpets" - to bring youngsters and inexperienced skiers
to the Children's Learning Area on large conveyor belts similar to
those found in some airports.
The new lifts will help small children and beginners who have difficulty navigating traditional chair lifts.
The new lifts are only part of capital improvements envisioned in a 15-year development plan in the works at the resort.
That Master Development Plan got underway in 2007, Jenquin said.
Part of that plan includes a snow-making system that will ensure
that Dodge Ridge has skiable snow predictably throughout the season.
The mountain already averages between 300 and 500 inches of snow each year.
More immediately, the resort plans to install high-speed detachable
chair lifts that will shave minutes off of the time it takes visitors
to travel from the bottom of the mountain to the top of the ski trails.
To celebrate its 60th year, Dodge Ridge will put on a host of
events, including a Family Winter Carnival and a Senior Challenge
Proceeds of the Senior Challenge will go to the local Habitat for
Humanity chapter. Both of those events will include fireworks, which
were reintroduced to Dodge Ridge last year after a seven-year hiatus.
"The fireworks are amazing," Jenquin said. "They explode over the snow and it gives you almost a water-like visual effect."
A full calendar of events is available at www.dodgeridge.com.
The 2010/2011 ski season will kick off when the snow builds up, hopefully by mid-December, Jenquin said.
Contact Ashley Archibald at email@example.com or 588-4526.