Steamboat Resort auctioning chairs from Priest Creek chairlift |

Steamboat Resort auctioning chairs from Priest Creek chairlift

Robert Vaughn and Jeff Kelley remove a chair from the Priest Creek chairlift. (Courtesy photo)

Robbie Shine has a collection of chairs from former chairlifts sitting in his backyard. He began collecting them in 1995, the year he moved to Steamboat Springs, and he currently has chairs from Thunderhead, Storm Peak and Burgess Creek chairlifts.

Shine, who serves as Howelsen ski/rodeo supervisor for the city of Steamboat, said Thursday he is excited to place a bid on a chair from the historic Priest Creek chairlift, which Steamboat Resort is removing and auctioning off.

Maren Franciosi, Steamboat Ski & Resort Corp. spokesperson, said the resort has long planned to remove the Priest Creek chairlift, as it was installed in 1973 and is the oldest on the mountain.

Work crews began disassembling the chairlift Thursday as part of the construction across the mountain. Priest Creek lift operated zero days last year and six days over the past three years, and its removal is not expected to impact daily operations.

“The Priest Creek lift sitting dormant is not really in line with those goals right now, so we’re just taking advantage of having people on site and starting the removal,” Franciosi said.

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From Aug. 24-27, members of the public will be able to bid on chairs from the lift online with plans for the proceeds to be given to local nonprofit organizations.

“It’s just a fun part of the history,” Shine said. “Hopefully, they don’t go for too much so us locals can grab one.”

Deb Werner, Ski Corp. director of lift operations, said she remembers when the lift was installed, as she ran the it along with an all-female team, which she said was difficult in 1972 as skiing was a male-dominated industry.

“That was in the ’70s so people weren’t as open minded then about the opportunities that women had,” Werner said. “I think it was just really a novel thing at that point to have a group of all women running a chairlift.”

Despite facing barriers, Werner said the team had high hopes for the lift, as it would open up the Priest Creek section of the ski area, which Werner said is one of the most beautiful but underrated areas on the mountain.

“We actually said we would make it the best lift on the mountain, and I think we really achieved that,” Werner said.

Werner said the lift will always be a fond memory, but she thinks it’s time for something new.

“We’re really growing and everything has its life, and that chair has hit its life expectancy,” Werner said.

All chairs awarded through the auction must be picked up in person from 8 a.m. to noon Sept. 10. Chairs will not be shipped, delivered or stored beyond this time frame.

Funds collected from the auction will go to the Wildlife Habitat Improvement- Local District (WHILD) through the Yampa Valley Community Foundation and the following nonprofit organizations: Bud Werner Memorial Library; CMC Foundation; Come As You Are/Breaking Bonds; Grand Futures; Heeling Friends; High Altitude Basketball; Housing First Alliance of Craig; Humane Society of Moffat County; Mountain Valley Horse Rescue; Northwest Rocky Mountain CASA; Opera Steamboat; Routt County 4-H Council; Routt County Riders; South Routt Education Endowment; Steamboat Creates; Steamboat Dance Theater; Steamboat Springs Youth Hockey Association; Steamboat Reading; Young Tracks; Family Development Center/Discovery Learning Center/Newborn Network; Hayden Totally Kids; Northwest Colorado Center for Independence; and Yampa River Botanic Park.

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