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Schweitzer donates chairlift chair to boost Sled Hill campaign

| August 20, 2023 1:00 AM

SANDPOINT — In a remarkable show of community support, Schweitzer has donated 50 chairlift chairs to Kaniksu Land Trust to bolster its ongoing “Save the Sled Hill” campaign.

The chairs, previously part of the beloved Musical Chairs chairlift at Schweitzer (also known as Chair 2), are being replaced by the new Creekside Express high-speed quad. KLT officials said the creative gift will make a significant impact on the fundraising effort to purchase and establish the historic Pine Street Sled Hill property for the community.

The Sled Hill had been the site of a community ski hill in the 1940s prior to Schweitzer opening in 1963, and later served as a community sledding hill until 2021.

Kaniksu Land Trust announced its intent to purchase the 48-acre parcel in the fall of 2021 upon learning that the land would be listed for sale. Friends of KLT purchased the property in order to give the community time to raise the $2.1 million needed to buy the land and pay for establishment costs required to make the land accessible to the public. 

The donated chairs will play a pivotal role in advancing the “Save the Sled Hill” campaign while providing a unique opportunity to own a piece of Schweitzer nostalgia. 

“We are immensely grateful for Schweitzer’s extraordinary donation of these chairs from the Musical Chairs lift. It’s so fitting that the small community hill where recreational skiing first took root is being saved with the help of Schweitzer” said Katie Cox, KLT executive director. “This gift not only underscores Schweitzer’s commitment to our community’s well-being, but will also take us considerably closer to achieving our fundraising goals for the ‘Save the Sled Hill’ campaign.” 

The first 10 chairs will be  available for purchase with a $2,000 tax-deductible gift to Kaniksu Land Trust at the upcoming SledFest event on Aug. 26. Community members will be able to select their preferred chair numbers from the available 50, creating a personalized connection with this historic gift.

The remaining chairs will be made available for online purchase at kaniksu.org starting Monday, Aug. 28 at 10 a.m., ensuring that a broader audience has a chance to contribute to the cause. Proceeds from the chairlift sales will go directly toward the “Save the Sled Hill” campaign. KLT will designate pick up dates for chairs over the coming weeks.

A major aspect of the Save the Sled Hill campaign is the community’s emotional connection with the land that holds the memories of generations of skiers, sledders, and visitors to the hill. The SledFest event was organized so that all in the community can come together to share their memories, celebrate the future of the sled hill property, and be a part of contributing toward the success of the campaign.

Promising to be a memorable community celebration, the all-day music festival will include food trucks and beverages, a Kaniksu Folk School mercantile with blacksmith demonstrations, a sled art silent auction, and the Musical Chairs sale. KLT hopes to welcome as many community members to the sled hill for the event as possible, even creating a special “Community Ticket” to ensure that all can afford to attend. Details and tickets to the event are available at kaniksu.org/sledfest.

This philanthropic partnership with Schweitzer signifies a remarkable stride forward in preserving the natural beauty and winter recreation opportunities of our region. 

“It’s an honor for Schweitzer to lend a helping hand in preserving a valuable piece of our community’s history,” said Tom Chasse, president and CEO of Schweitzer. “For nearly a century, the Sled Hill has been a place where memories are made. Our hope is that future generations have access to places that help develop an appreciation of the natural beauty in our area as well as a passion for winter recreation."

Information: Kaniksu Land Trust, kaniksu.org or 208-263-9471