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Feather River Bulletin
Quincy, California
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April 16, 2014     Feather River Bulletin
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April 16, 2014
 

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I~Ulle~ln, t ecoro, vrogresslve, I~epon:er Wednesday, April 16, 2014 1B I A crowd gathers at the annual Longboard Revival Races put on by the Plumas Ski Club at the ski bowl. The races celebrate the historical downhill ski races that started in the 1860s. These events also raise funds for the ski hill. Photos by Carolyn Shipp i! !:ii:i!i;;!i!i;!i!!:! :! !: Two cross-country skiers stand on top of the ridge at the ski bowl. Though the ski lifts are not operational anymore, many cross-country and backcountry skiers and snowshoers still take advantage of the bowl for winter recreation. Aged and broken Poma lifts will no longer be the norm for the ski hill. With the efforts of the Eastern Plumas Recreation District and the community, the lifts are being replaced and operations should run more smoothly, with less need for repairs. Johnsville Historic Ski Bowl set to reopen in winter of 2015 Carolyn Shipp Staff Writer cshipp@plumasnews.com The Johnsville Historic 8ki-l~wt ~$ ,been a common topic of conversation for Eastern Plumas County citizens over the past few years. For years the mountain has been without the echo of jubilant skiers, and the community has been left without the economic boost the winter activities could bring to the area. However, that could very soon change. Through the collaborative efforts of the Eastern Plumas Recreation District and Plumas-Eureka State Park, as well as a myriad of other entities, the ski hill could reawaken as soon as next winter. Yet, the question arises: How will this ski hill operate? What will prevent it from shutting down again like it did in the past? The board members of the recreation district are prepared to answer those questions. What happened to the hill? Downhill skiing has been a historical necessity of the county since the 1850s. It acted as one of the only forms of transportation during the area's treacherous winters. However, When the miners of the Lost Sierra organized the first downhill ski competition in the 1860s, they turned necessity into recreation and opened up a venue for winter activity that historians believe had never before been introduced in the Western Hemisphere. The ski bowl in JohnsviUe, which sits at the bottom of Eureka Peak in Plumas-Eureka State Park, hosted one of the first recorded downhill ski competitions. Miners zoomed down the 2,600-foot run on their 14-foot skis at 90 miles per hour, creating a sporting and social event for residents to look forward to during the gloomy winter. In the 1950s the Plumas Ski Club, a pri ate nonprofit entity, adopted the hill. For years, the club contributed immensely to the hill's success. By installing two Poma lifts and one surface lift, the hill turned into a family-oriented venue complete with a rustic \ \k "\. \ \, The newly installed chairlift at the Johnsville Historic Ski Bowl at Plumas-Eureka State Park sits at the bottom of the hill waiting for completion. The Eastern Plumas Recreation District currentl~ has an operation agreement with the park and it plans to have ' the hill back open next winter. The old red lodge built by the Plumas Ski Club when the club took over operations in 1950 commemorates the history of Iongboard ski racing on the hill with a plaque. The Johnsville Ski Hill was the location of the first recorded downhill ski race. 2012, highlights a detailed method for getting the hill operational again, and keeping it operational. The plan is complete with 28 pages full of marketing and sales plans, details on operations, details on financials and much more. Through relentless fundraising efforts by the district and other entities, the district has acquired a double chair lift and three surface lifts from the Squaw Valley ski facility. After four years of efforts and gaining support, the project is heading into its final phase of construction. In November 2013, the district, and volunteers from the community, installed the first terminal of the chair lift, breaking ground*at the hill. We are seeing a movement in the community. People see something happening up there. I am very confident we will open next year. Don Fregulia, Chairman of the Board, Eastern Plumas Recreation District one-room lodge. Parks and Recreation. in and secured a 10-year Many Plumas County Because of the aging operating agreement with residents reminisce about chairlifts, the Gold Mountain the state park, A viable business spending time at Johnsville Foundation created a project "I think there is a greatFregulia said that ticket and learning to ski there, proposal to install a newinterest up here to get that sales alone will not keep the However, the day came when chairlift at the hill. However, ski hill going again," said hill operational, as day With the rising enthusiasm the ski club, which ran on the plan fell through andRecreation District boardpasses will cost as little as for the ski hill, momentum of volunteer labor, had Gold Mountain's lease waschairman Don Fregulia. $25 - $35. However, due to the the fundraising and the exhausted its resources and terminated in June 2002. intuition of district board installation of the chair lifts, could no longer manage the The hill then defaulted Their business here member and ski hill ad hoc Fregulia expressed no doubt facility, back to the Plumas Ski Club. To receive their operating committee member Dan when he said the ski hill In 1999, The Gold Mountain However, representatives for agreement with the park, the Gallagher, the hill will soon would open in winter 2015. Foundation, a real estate Plumas-Eureka State Park recreation district had to transition from primarily a "We are seeing a group in Portola, bought the said that the ski hill would be construct a business plan for winter recreation center to a movement in the community. facility from the club and better suited for operation by the operation of the hill. year-round events center.People see something went on a month-to-month a public entity. The business plan, written Fregulia said the hill will happening up there. I am operation contract with the In 2010, the Eastern Plumas by ski hill advocate and host its first wedding this very confident we will open California Department of Recreation District stepped businessman Jack Bridge in fall. It is also becoming a next year," he said. very popular concert venue after the success of the Lost Sierra Hoedown last year. The new lifts will also contribute to smoother operation for the hill. The better-quality machines, which will replace the outdated Poma lifts, have fewer moving parts and will break down less, "putting more people on the mountain," said Fregulia. There will still be room for volunteer assistance, mostly for snow patrol, but the district plans to hire a full-time mountain manager, a part-time assistant manager and a food and beverage manager. Fregulia said this was advantageous for the district and in cases of winters with little snow, the only money they would have to pay would be for the full-time manager and the ski hill's insurance.