Summit Ski Area was established in 1927, and is the second oldest continuously operating ski area in the United States. Summit’s base elevation is 4,000 ft. and has 306 ft. of vertical lift for skiing. The winter sports facility, as referred to many years ago, was developed as a result of a massive search for lost skiers during a storm the first week of January, 1926.
Summit’s first owner was the Portland Advertising Club, lead by President William P. Merry. The resort was run by volunteer members for the first two years. The following year, volunteers no longer wanted to work to operate Summit Ski Area ~ they wanted to be out on the hill skiing. Without the help of the volunteers, the resort was sold.
Adrian J. Johanns, a Westmoreland builder of distinction, along with his brother, John Henry, bought Summit that year (1930). Many expansions took place, tobogganing, a new lunch room, and “red devil shack”. When World War II began the Johanns sold out.
Everett Darr, owner of the original Mountain Shop, a retail ski shop in Portland, bought Summit Ski Area in 1944 and began ski operations in 1946. The Darrs added the “Bumble Bee run,” named after a bee infestation in the area. In 1959 a T-bar was installed and in 1966 the “Hut” was replaced with the present lodge. In 1980 the current chairlift was built. The lift is 2,300 feet long providing access to trails over one-half mile each to ski.
In June, 1991, the Darrs sold Summit Ski Area to Northwest Nordic, Inc. The vision is to ensure nordic as well as downhill skiing, snowboarding, and tubing. 1992 brought 15k of Nordic trails, designed by four-time Olympian, Bill Koch and Charlie Wessinger.
Recently, during the winter of 2010/2011, the operation of the ski area is now managed by Kirk Hanna, owner of Mt. Hood Skibowl.