SEATTLE - Washington’s ski and snowboard industry is bursting with history dating back more than 100 years, and the Snoqualmie Pass area will soon be home to a permanent museum.
Dave Moffett of Mercer Island and the former president of Snoqualmie Summit’s four ski areas, is spearheading the Washington State Ski and Snowboard Museum (WSSSM) Project.
“We’ve been looking for the right place to build a museum, but the problem was finding the ideal space for it,” Moffett said. “This has been in the back of my mind since we sold the ski areas in 1997.”
“We’ve had about three false-starts creating a museum going back to the mid-1980s, and now it looks like our vision of making this happen will come true,” Moffett said.
The idea of preserving Washington’s snowsport history originated with the late Irv Pratt of Mercer Island, who was the curator for the Ancient Skiers collection of ski memorabilia. Pratt’s collection has items dating back to the 1890s.
“Pratt (who died last April) came up with the idea that there should be a permanent display of the skiing history in our state,” Moffett said. “His vision of a museum came about in the 1980s and 1990s when the U.S. Forest Service Building on Snoqualmie Pass served this purpose. It was a pretty small museum (which has since closed).”
Recently, Crystal Mountain Resort has been the home to some of the displays in their main lodge.
Word started to spread about a year ago that Bryce Phillips, owner of evo Ski & Snowboard Shop in Seattle, along with The Pass, LLC, was planning to build a development on 5.31 acres directly across the access road from The Summit Inn at Snoqualmie Pass.
As part of the development, Moffett says they’ll be allowed to lease a 1,740-square foot space - which includes a mezzanine - within a section of the building that will house a restaurant and microbrewery.
Work is expected to be finished by December, and a grand opening for the museum is planned for Jan. 3.
The nonprofit museum’s financial obligations include a five-year lease on the space, and the group hopes to raise about $350,000 through pledges.
Exhibits include interactive maps of statewide ski venues and narrative with a slideshow on the state’s history of skiing.