Mountain manager Travis Seeholzer and I slid off the Harry's Dream Lift at Beaver Mountain, looking out on the vast expanse of state and national forest between Logan and Bear Lake. It's a magical view, with hoar frost on the trees and three to four inches of fluffy powder blanketing the mountainside.
You instantly know you're at a unique place when random skiing guests come up to say hi to the resort owner by name. It's a midweek morning and we have, essentially, a small private ski area with friends today.
It's a story that began in 1918 when Harold Seeholzer got his first pair of skis. In 1937, he and the Mt. Logan Ski Club started pushing their way up the canyon. Together with his wife Luella, Harold pioneered Beaver Mountain, which is still today a part of the Seeholzer family.
Skiing with Travis is a real treat - a nice pace as we arced turns on the groomers and dipped into the powder fluff on the edges. We skied two hours and did five runs. Mostly we talked, standing on ridgelines, stopping alongside groves of aspen and chatting with other skiers.
Beaver Mountain may have only 1,100 acres, but it skis big. A single lift ride gives you 1,700 feet of vertical with terrain that cascades over pitches and rolls down the mountainside.
Most of all, though, you feel like part of the family when you're skiing the Beav!
This episode of Last Chair: The Ski Utah Podcast is unique in its exploration of a family ski area that provides the same spirit and joy today that is at the root of what we all enjoy as skiers and snowboarders.
the real appreciation and the joy is letting someone enjoy your mountain and hopefully appreciate all the work that you put into it." Travis Seeholzer
What's the character of Beaver Mountain as a local ski area?
I think we're pretty well loved in the community. People enjoy Beaver Mountain and feel some ownership in it - not necessarily because it's family run, but it is the local ski hill. Because it is a local family, they tend to feel more comfortable in claiming ownership.
Tell us about Harold Seeholzer, and the early days of Beaver Mountain? He was very quiet and soft spoken. He loved hunting and fishing and the winter and the snow. And I think his passion was instilling in his kids something quality that they could do to pass those years so that they didn't get in trouble. He said that more than once, something that was constructive and that they enjoyed and that they could enjoy as a family. Harold was a trapper and he knew Logan Canyon like the back of his hand. And then they kind of picked the spot. And I swear to this day, he was inspired.
Marge, what motivated your husband Ted to take the torch from his father Harold?
He loved the pride of what his parents had started. And to continue it on, I think he loved that. He was very proud of what his parents had started for us.
How would you characterize the family aspect of Beaver Mountain?
We're a pretty small community up here. And that's what I tell our employees every year. That's what makes it a really enjoyable job, as you do get to know the guests very well, because you see the same people every week. And for me, it's been year after year and, you know, a lot of history and second and third generation families that ski at Beaver.
There's plenty more in this episode of Last Chair: The Ski Utah Podcast.
How did early skiers navigate Logan Canyon?
Beaver Creek vs. Beaver Mountain (this is a great story)
How long has Marge been selling lift tickets?
What's Travis' favorite run at Beaver Mountain?
Take a listen today. Tune in to Last Chair: The Ski Utah Podcast presented by High West Distillery and Saloon on your favorite podcast platform. Subscribe to get first access to every episode.
Beaver Mountain is truly a family affair! It's the longest continuously-run, family-owned mountain ski area in America, dating back to 1937 - all in the Seeholzer family. Present matriarch Marge, a second-generation in the Seeholzer ski area family, still runs the ticket office and always has a welcoming smile for guests who have been returning for decades. Marge and Ted's sons, Travis and Jeff, manage the resort with their families.
Checkout the complete history of Beaver Mountain at skithebeav.com.
Tom Kelly: |00:00:00| We're here today with Travis Seeholzer. Travis, welcome. Thank you for joining us on Last Chair.
Travis Seeholzer: |00:00:06| Absolutely. Glad to be here, Tom. Glad we get to show you around a little bit and see a little bit of Beaver this morning.
Tom Kelly: |00:00:11| I have to say, by the way, we're doing this interview in late January. I know that you didn't report snow overnight, but I think you just were keeping it a secret. Being the PR guy, I'm going to say we had three to four inches of fluffy little snow on the edges.
Travis Seeholzer: |00:00:29| We did have that debate with the guests we ran into. I called it frost and it was hoarie and very light. But yeah, I think two to three. We do our Ski Utah report early and locals in the snow always know that it may snow a fair bit between the time that ski report goes in and the time the lifts actually start turning. And that's kind of the uncounted snowfall for the day.
Tom Kelly: |00:00:49| Well, it was I have to say, it was the most enjoyable ski day I've had this year. And there were a number of things that made it fun. First of all, it's a new place for me. It was great to come up and try a new mountain. Nice long runs, really perfect terrain for my ability level. I just love the essentially the blues that you took me on today, but it's just the atmosphere. I mean, it just was a lot of fun being out there and having you. By the way, for any listeners, if you do go skiing with Travis up here at Beaver Mountain, do plan on him running into a lot of guests that he knows, right?
Travis Seeholzer: |00:01:26| Yeah, we're a pretty small community up here. And that's what I tell our employees every year and live training. And I think that's what makes it a really enjoyable job, as you do get to know the guests very well, because you see the same people every week. And for me, it's been year after year and, you know, a lot of history and second and third generation families that ski at Beaver.
Tom Kelly: |00:01:45| Well, you could really tell that. And it was a lot of fun. You know, the other thing that I really enjoyed, I mean, I do love the super, hyper fast lifts today, but it was really relaxing today to have a little bit of a chairlift ride where we could actually get a good conversation in and enjoy the scenery. But I really did have a great day.
Travis Seeholzer: |00:02:06| We have fixed-grip lifts here, obviously. So and I legitimately ... I'm of the school of thought that I enjoy and need that little bit of time on the chairlift. If I ski on a detach all day, I get tired and, you know, with my kids and my family, I have a captive audience for that eight or nine minute ride to get up there. And my kids can't get away from me. And so I can put the screws to them on the right and the left and then we get to go have fun.
Tom Kelly: |00:02:30| I love it. It was just a nice pace. Beautiful drive up Logan Canyon this morning. Just a great day. We're going to get into the history. And there is an amazing history of this place that we'll explore a little bit later on. But talking in the short term, I know that like all resorts, COVID has really changed the management of what you do here day to day. But the good news is that you and others in the industry have provided an opportunity for skiers to get out there and ski. What are some of the things that you had to manage this year at Beaver Mountain to make this place, get this place open for everyone to come out and enjoy?
Families come back that haven't been here for years and they'll say, 'oh, we're so happy you're still here.' That to me is fun because I think sometimes I should retire and stay home, but I don't want to. I love it. I love it here and I love the people."
Travis Seeholzer: |00:03:10| Well, everyone listening that's in the industry understands it was a long and painful summer and fall of preparation and the unknown, there was a lot of resources provided by the National Ski Areas Association and different partners in planning. But frankly, you know, we said it amongst our own staff and department heads. You know, you have all these plans and all these things on paper, but we had no idea what that was really going to look like. You know, it was pretty frightening. A buddy of mine that works in the industry said opening day at his ski area was like jumping out of an airplane without a parachute. And that was the analogy. And overall, I think some things we misjudged, some things we got right and others we have adapted for the biggest concern, I think for me locally and Beaver Mountain, we have a lack of facilities already. And for the number of people we have, we don't have extra interspace to convert to something. There's a lot of skiers have done and we frankly are already bursting at the seams. And so my big concern, one of them was, was this day lodge and the indoor spaces with lockers and everything else. And that has actually been probably the smoothest transition. And we have not required reservations at Beaver Mountain, which is definitely in the minority and in the minority in the state of Utah.
Travis Seeholzer: |00:04:30| And there was a lot of thought and debate gone into that decision. And we have seen an influx of people because of it. But I don't think it's really affected the other departments in the indoor spaces and ski patrol and things we were concerned about that way. But the big thing is our Day Lodge is limited to probably about 40 percent of its capacity last year, which is significant. We provided last weekend we actually had five different food venues, four of them being outside food trucks, different things. And the guests have really embraced the tailgating. One bright side of having a lot of winter this year, as we've had a lot of nice sunny days for people to sit outside and eat. And so we've been wondering when winter returns, hopefully soon, how excited they're going to be about that when it's 10 degrees and snowing sideways. And we'll see how that goes. But we do have a tent set up in the parking lot, which functions as our rental desk. So we do all the paperwork there and then the guests come inside, which limits some of the numbers in the indoor space.
Tom Kelly: |00:05:26| One of the things I really liked when I arrived here. And again, it was my first visit to Beaver Mountain, but I parked in the parking lot. And by the way, I came on a midweek day and I highly recommend if you want to come up to Beaver Mountain, come on up in the middle of the week. It's like a private ski area. It was so much fun this morning, but not having been here before and you don't know the lay of the land, but you had a guest service tent right out in the parking lot where you had someone who was able to direct me and give me a trail map and get me set up with my ticket and everything. It was just a great way to get here and know where I needed to go to enjoy the day.
Travis Seeholzer: |00:06:02| Yeah. The guest services this year is greatly enhanced. And that was really due to the COVID situation and all the changes for our regular guests, what doors they can go in and what they can. What protocol is for getting your rental skis and getting a ski lesson and all of the different functions of the resort. But it's going to be one of those things, I think, in our operation that we've really seen the value of that even beyond covid issues are covered questions and the bigger part of that department. I think most resorts are probably staffed extremely heavy this year, both due to staff absences and greater needs for people in unforeseen mask requirements counting noses, because in our lodge we don't require reservations to come inside, but we are counting people and keeping it under that covid carrying capacity number. And so that department has been pretty broad between helping the guests like yourself and explaining where you go and how you do things, but also taking up all these other responsibilities of enforcing what we would like to have happen so we can keep skiing this year. And overall, as I mentioned, it's been good. We know we've missed a few things and we have been able to adapt to some of them, but we have been very busy, which has been interesting with the slow start to the winter.
Travis Seeholzer: |00:07:22| And we've had OK, snow and OK coverage. But it isn't what we're used to. We're all snow snobs here in northern Utah,
Tom Kelly: |00:07:28| Aren't we all?
Travis Seeholzer: |00:07:28| Yeah, it's been a little painful, but we don't make any snow at Beaver Mountains, so we are strictly relying on Mother Nature. And I think when you get out there and if we do have suitable coverage, the product probably is a little better than man-made snow. But that's what we have to work with. So we're pretty good at it.
|00:07:47| The snow was fun today and it was really good snow, good consistency, really good coverage knowing what we've had here in Utah. But really, really good day. Have you seen a change in your customer base? I know that historically you are a Logan local area for the most part. Have you started to see an influx of more people coming from greater? Distances to enjoy Beaver Mountain.
Travis Seeholzer: |00:08:12| Yeah, it's kind of been growing for a few years, actually, and we kind of bill ourselves as Utah's best kept secret. And the running joke locally is we're not a secret anymore. Our traditional market is Logan Cache Valley, southern Idaho, southwestern Wyoming. We do have a fair number of guests from Rock Springs, even Star Valley, Kemmerer, that area. But this year we have seen lots of different license plates. And as I mentioned, this is an all this year or just due to COVID. But I think that's part of it is people are out and about. Seems like every morning we pull in the parking lot and there's three or four new campers sitting here waiting for us. And people are driving around skiing around the country. And quite a few of those, I think, are part of the Indy Pass we've noticed. And to this point, with the indy Pass, a small ski area coalition where a member of we've redeemed over 25 different states, which is pretty fun. But that is not the Beaver Mountain that I grew up skiing at, because we are, I'd say, 90 percent locals, which we really love. And we love getting to know everyone. But it is fun seeing people from other places discover us a little bit and enjoy our mountain.
Tom Kelly: |00:09:19| What do you hear from those people who've traveled here, be it on the Indy Pass or just coming to buy a ticket? What do you hear from them? What's their feedback when they get up and they ski the Beav?
Travis Seeholzer: |00:09:30| Well, that reminded me of one interesting story. And it wasn't this season. It was last year. And we actually had some guests that thought they had booked at Beaver Creek, Colorado. And instead, they ended up at Beaver Mountain, Utah, which couldn't be a more contrasting ski area to Beaver Creek. And when we heard about this, I thought, boy, they're going to want to get out of here and want no part of this. And they want ski-in/ski-out and everything else. And they loved it. They really loved their experience here. And they came back this year, which was awesome. And we've kind of seen that even with people staying in Bear Lake and in Garden City. And sometimes, you know, in years past, it was because it was the last thing available in their timeshare. And where is Beaver Mountain, where's Bear Lake and grumbling about it. And by the time they leave, they really fall in love with the place. And then they come back. And we've kind of seen that, I think this year with people that have come that, you know, maybe it was because it was on the Indy Pass and we were a Utah resort.
Travis Seeholzer: |00:10:26| But we have had a fair amount of press lately, national media coverage that people say, oh, I saw you on this website or I saw you in this magazine article. And it's a fine line because we really want to remember, you know, kind of who we are and what we do and where our roots are. And we love catering to locals. I mean, that is our business. And for the majority of bigger ski areas, you know, locals are kind of a write off and they're over here and they're not a big part of it. And we do cater to locals. That's our thing. And it's a ski mountain. First and foremost. We have no lodging here. We say we're all-mountain, no resort. There's a saying on one of our T-shirts. And so we're trying to manage the growth and still keep our identity, you know, continue to improve the offering at the mountain. But we know we are going to have to grow to accommodate that because our numbers have grown significantly the past few years. But overall, these people that have shown up, I think this year, especially again with the snow conditions, I think we've been a little better than the majority of the state until the last storm which went south of us. But, you know, we've heard that quite a bit. I ski somewhere and I read somewhere and you guys do have the best coverage and your mountain looks great and it's well taken care of. And the employees were helpful and friendly. And we like the vibe as well. And they kind of like getting away from the big ski area vibe or lack thereof. It's just a different experience. You know, we're you know, we say it's skiing the way it used to be, but that's what we do here. It's a ski mountain.
Tom Kelly: |00:11:57| Travis, one of the things that I noticed this morning. I mean, you have, what, eleven hundred twelve hundred acres here?
Travis Seeholzer: |00:12:02| Yeah, just under eleven hundred.
Tom Kelly: |00:12:03| So it's skis big and there's seemingly a lot of terrain. It seems like it's bigger than that. Can you give us a little rundown on what you have on the mountain?
Travis Seeholzer: |00:12:15| Yeah, and that's that's a common comment we hear, and I think I think as we talked, the reason sometimes it does feel a little bigger than it looks is the lack of lifts. And not that we don't cover the terrain. We're very blessed at Beaver by having really good trees. Everything goes down. I kind of forget how good it is and I'll ski somewhere else. And there's catwalks and gullies and flats. And, you know, we definitely have a little bit of that. But for the most part, for being and we're 1700 vertical, which is as far from the biggest. But you do get a lot of turning in and that 700 it's good quality runs. We do have one like satellite lift - Marge's triple, which is our northernmost lift, which is the only one out of the main base area. And that is our newest terrain. We've been in Marge's for 25 years now, but that was the newest terrain at the mountain and an additional 400 acres of not quite as good a fall line skiing, but it's definitely got its following. It's a little quieter over there and people that like that side of the mountain head there immediately. And I think the snow quality shows that a little bit, too, because we just don't get quite the amount of traffic.
Travis Seeholzer: |00:13:25| But the main lift on this side of the mountain is called Harry's Dream Lift. That's named after the founder of Beaver Mountain, which was my grandpa, Harold Seeholzer. And the name came from ... the lift wasn't completed till after Harry passed away. And he always wanted a lift to the top of the mountain. And so that's where Harry's Dream came from. And that is definitely the most used part of the mountain. But one thing we're really excited about this year, which we didn't see this morning, is our beginner area. We did add an additional magic carpet this year. So we have two conveyors in the beginner area and a recently upgraded beginner chair. We have a Skytrack fixed grip triple over there from Salt Lake with a lot of the growth of Logan as well. There's a lot of people and kids learning to ski. And through the holidays with the crowds that we had, we really appreciated that second conveyor to spread people out. Our ski school loved it. And it was so far a huge success in getting that. But I think the common theme on the front side is, you know, great skiing, good grooming, and we have great slope maintenance and really nice tree skiing and steeper powder skiing.
Tom Kelly: |00:14:30| You know, I didn't really take much of a foray into the trees today, but you could just see with the light snow that we had and some of the dips that we did into some of those glades, that you really do have some nice open tree skiing.
Travis Seeholzer: |00:14:43| Yeah, we have a lot of aspens and we try to keep it up. And it's a constant battle, just kind of thinning and cutting out new growth and undergrowth. And it's always interesting through the winter how that happens. All of a sudden you're up in the branches when you have seven or eight feet on the ground and you realize how much higher you are in the trees now. But I think Beaver has a kind of well-known for that and has a lot of really good tree skiers that love that about the mountain. One other thing that usually works in our favor is we get very little wind. And so it really, really helps the snow quality. If we're getting you know, if you're skiing powder, it's very rarely wind affected these treed areas or even better that way because we really don't get the wind in there. And it's a mix of, you know, fir and pine. But a lot of the aspen, I think, is really quality tree skiing. And one of the ski Utah bloggers a couple of years ago said, I'm going to go ahead and say Beaver has the best tree skiing in the state of Utah. And I don't know about that, but it's fun. It's a good time.
Tom Kelly: |00:15:41| It was a lot of fun today. Just had a great time up in the mountain. Just one more thing before we take a short break. Ski school. Just before we came in for the interview, saw the ski school getting ready to go out in the afternoon. And this seems like a great place to learn to ski or snowboard.
Travis Seeholzer: |00:15:56| Yeah, it is. And what they were doing today actually is we work with Utah State University and students can take ski classes through the university and then we fulfill them here at the mountain. And that program is as big this year. We do have a lot of schools generally from the Cache Valley area that come up, middle schools, elementary schools, which has been downsized significantly due to covid issues, which is a bummer this year. But they'll ... we'll be back next year. And so we can get groups of upwards of 200 school kids that come up here and we fulfill a rental and get them in a lesson. And this is kudos to our snowsports school and our rental shop. It's a well-oiled machine to take 200 12-year-olds off a bus and get them in proper equipment, get them on the snow is easier said than done. And those guys are pros and they do a great job of it. And that's one aspect of it. And then also, you know, the families, I think it's kind of typical in the ski world. You have a ski bum that maybe grows up and real life hits and they get away from things and they're married. And quite often it's their kids that bring them back to the sport. And you see them come back as their kids get old enough to start skiing. And so then they bring their three and four year olds and all of us. They used to think we were rock star skiers. We just hang out on the magic carpet at the Beginner Hill now because we're hanging out with our kids. But it's super rewarding, you know, and my kids are old enough now. We just ski the whole mountain. And that's when the payoff comes, when you're kids and you can just ski together and it's up most family time, and that's kind of what Beaver is known for, is that family experience.
Tom Kelly: |00:17:23| We're with Travis Seeholzer here at Beaver Mountain. We're going to take a short break and be right back for the second half of this episode of Last Chair. And we have pried, Marge, out of the ticket booth. And she's going to join us with Travis to talk a little bit about the history of this amazing mountain. We'll be right back with Last Chair.
Tom Kelly: |00:19:19| And we're back at Beaver Mountain, I have Travis Seeholzer and Marge. And Marge, welcome, thank you for joining us on Last Chair. We were able to pry you out of the ticket booth for a while.
Marge Seeholzer: |00:19:29| Thank you.
Tom Kelly: |00:19:30| How are things out there today?
Marge Seeholzer: |00:19:32| Good. Good. It's fun. College classes ... first college class this week, and they've got their feet under them now. Last week was a disaster because they come here. They've never been here before. They don't know anything about anything. But now they're feeling a little more confident today. So it's good.
Tom Kelly: |00:19:52| Do you get a lot of college students from Utah State up here?
Marge Seeholzer: |00:19:55| We do, yeah. We have a lot. We have a good following. We do offer a student season pass and Utah State kids purchase those. In fact, we're still selling them today. They're still buying them for this season.
Tom Kelly: |00:20:09| So, Travis, I want to start off with you and then Marge will have you weigh in. You are the longest continually operated family resort in the United States, as far as anyone knows, and has been able to tell Travis, in your mind, in managing the the resort, what are some of the characteristics that you bring out here at Beaver Mountain because of the long tradition you have in being a family run resort?
Travis Seeholzer: |00:20:34| Well, it's kind of endless. Some things that are fun to discuss growing up in a family like that is everybody else doesn't go take a Snowcat out to cut their Christmas tree down or just growing up at a ski area. And those people, you know, in the industry will appreciate that. And I have friends and family ski areas that have grown up that way. And you just kind of take a lot of that for granted, I guess, which is a pretty cool way to grow up. You do get put to work a lot. And, you know, that's one thing at Beaver Mountain, we're still small enough that we have a lot of different jobs and we're not real specialized. We're not too worked up about titles. We just get the work done. And, you know, my dad was famous for everything they did was twenty miles uphill in the snow, both directions and bare feet. But the reality is, as I've grown and been around here is a lot of it was kind of true. I mean, it was unreal what went on, you know, back in those days with, you know, old technology to either, you know, clear a ski run or put in a lift, you know, in the fifties. And that's not easy now to do and to think of how hard that was in those days was.
Travis Seeholzer: |00:21:49| It's pretty humbling. And some of the years you see the amount of work that was done here by a small group of people and with all the equipment is pretty impressive in the early days of the resort. But I think as far as the modern day experience and what we have here, I think we're pretty well loved in the community. I mean, people enjoy Beaver Mountain and feel some ownership in it and not necessarily because it's family run, but it is the local ski hill. And I think because it is a local family, they tend to feel more comfortable in claiming ownership. It can be good and bad because we are very accessible, as you saw today, which normally is a really good thing. But, you know, as soon as we got off the lift today, someone had a suggestion for me and the whole suggestion was he wanted a private ski area and how could he get here without everybody else participating? But that's pretty typical. And like I said, most of the time, that's a good thing. And, you know, the door's always open. We're here, we're visible, we're accessible. This is what we do. And, you know, this lady next to me in the ticket office works 65 plus hours a week still. I mean, she gets here at 6:00 a.m. We come with our early crew for grooming and snow removal. And she's the next one here. And a couple of years ago, we were trying to get her a Wednesday off once in a while. And she got her back up and said, you're not putting me out to pasture yet. And we said, well, 65 hours a week isn't exactly putting you out to pasture, but a day off is OK once in a while.
Tom Kelly: |00:23:19| By the way, I want to go back to that comment you made about the private ski area. You know, when you were having that conversation, I kind of looked around a little bit and I'm trying to count the people. I said it does not get much more private than this.
Travis Seeholzer: |00:23:31| Yeah. For the day and today. And that and that gentleman skis a lot of days here. And I'm sure he's probably an 80 plus day year skier. And he loves Beaver, is very complimentary and a good guy to boot. But I think a little bit of it is, you know, post holiday, the holidays were busy and some of this growth we've talked about and he's lucky enough he can ski all week and we're standing there with, you know, 25 percent capacity lift and thought, well, yeah, exactly how much more private do you need than this? Like I said to you, sorry about the lift lines, and I don't think we ever encountered anyone in the maze when we speed up to the left. But, you know, those weekends are busy and, you know, that's the resort business in general. And I think especially this year. But, yeah, that. An interesting observation on your end, Tom, to pick up on how crowded it really wasn't at the time.
Tom Kelly: |00:24:24| Marge, you actually are second generation in the lineage here at Beaver Mountain. When you were growing up, you had the kids to go to work for you as well. And how did you utilize that? I mean, was this a real family experience to be here in running the mountain?
Marge Seeholzer: |00:24:46| Oh, yes. In fact, when these kids were young, I smile about this because I see it now with our grandkids. You know, if they want to play sports on a Saturday morning, basketball, that's always good for kids. Will you choose? And, you know, if you want to go skiing, if they want to go with me, they get up in the middle of the night. They think, you know, they get up in the early hours. So they have a ride here and we work. And when they're young and we have three generations working here now. And I'm pretty proud of that.
Tom Kelly: |00:25:20| Yeah. When when you were courting and eventually married your husband, were you a skier then or did you have any?
Marge Seeholzer: |00:25:28| I was not a skier. My family were not skiers. My brother had skied when he was young, just with some buddies. But no, we weren't a skiing family. And I want to tell you that the Seeholzer family was the skiing family in the community at that time, and it was hugely intimidating for me.
Tom Kelly: |00:25:48| So did you know what you were buying into?
Marge Seeholzer: |00:25:50| No, I didn't. We came home from our honeymoon early because Ted's father called and said, we're getting snow, come home now. It was that and we deal. No, it was in November of 1964. Wow.
Tom Kelly: |00:26:08| And pretty soon. And when did you. So when did you start in the ticket office?
Marge Seeholzer: |00:26:12| Well, we ran the cafe in the lodge the first few years we were married and then Ted's dad got sick. He got cancer quite young. And so then Ted took over as general manager. And then I got into the ticket office when his mother kind of stepped aside. And so I've been in there for many, many years. In fact, people will come in that have grown children and they'll say, wow, you're still here. How long have you worked here?
Tom Kelly: |00:26:44| It's a badge of honor, isn't it?
Marge Seeholzer: |00:26:46| Well, I think it is. It's kind of funny because they think I'm old as dirt and I guess I am. But I love seeing the generations, you know, and I knew them when they were little. And now I see their kids and their grandkids and their friends. And I love that.
Tom Kelly: |00:27:01| You know, one of the things about skiing and I think this is what really has built my passion in it, is it is a lifelong sport. It's the little kids. It's grand for families. It's just a great activity for families. And you've been able to witness that every year in that ticket booth.
Marge Seeholzer: |00:27:20| We do. And like Travis said, sometimes when the parents they get married and have a young family and they're in school and they can't afford to ski, they think, and it's the kids that bring them back. And so we see them return. And I love that. It's just it's awesome.
Tom Kelly: |00:27:36| Let's talk a little bit about the history. And if you go to the Beaver Mountain website, there is a fantastic chronology that goes all the way back to 1918 where Harold Seeholzer, who is essentially the origins of this place, started skiing, bought his first pair of skis. Marg, can you start us out on that history and give us a little bit of the chronology of Beaver Mountain?
Marge Seeholzer: |00:28:03| Well, I'm not very good at the dates and the sequence, but, yeah, they started bringing the kids, wanting the kids to do something in the winter just for their kids and the kids' friends to have some winter fun. And Harold was a trapper and he knew Logan Canyon like the back of his hand. There wasn't a highway through Logan Canyon. And so they snowshoed and that was the early times. And there were trappers in Logan Canyon and the trappers would be up in the mountains for weeks on end. And sometimes the wives would get worried and they'd go to Harold and say, could you go check on them and see if they're OK? So he would either take the snowshoes or the skis and go be sure they were OK. And it started from that because he loved Logan Canyon so much. And then they kind of picked the spot. And I swear to this day, he was inspired. The spot he picked many times. We've got to the turnoff on that road and it's been raining and we turn and it turns to snow in that mile to Beaver Mountain.
Tom Kelly: |00:29:14| You know, it's a little bit of a drive up Logan Canyon, about forty miles. It's also a gorgeous, gorgeous drive, but I was thinking back to those olden days, and I think it was 1937 when theoretically a road was put in to maybe within a mile or so of Beaver Mountain. But in those early days, how did people get up here? I mean, were they able to drive once this road was put in? And how did they get up here before the road?
Marge Seeholzer: |00:29:43| Well, that's how they did, as far as I know. That's what my in-laws always told me, was that it would be on snowshoes or skis. And then when the road was first put in, there wasn't the road into Beaver. And so they would have to hike in and they would hike to the top and start the motor up there for the rope tow. That's how it all started.
Travis Seeholzer: |00:30:09| There was a funny joke in my grandpa's memoirs about everybody just parking out on the highway and they're stomping in here, skiing in here. And my grandma Luella always or excuse me, it was Harry always said, make sure you park where we can get out and we don't get blocked. And she just laughed at him and says, we're always the first ones here in the last ones to leave. Why would it matter where we park? But, you know, we're a mile off of Highway Highway 243 off of 89, which is the main road through Logan Canyon. It's a mile in here. And I assume there was some well-worn path that they kept up and just walked in or skied in with their eight foot pine skis. And they went into the base and she mentioned the rope tow and somebody had a hike to the top to start the motor. And that was the case with several of the early surface lifts. Somebody had to walk to the top and started. And the first person before the evolution of the formation of the national ski patrol system, first person here for the day was the ski patrol around. And he handed him a vest, said your ski patrol today. And that's just kind of how it worked.
Tom Kelly: |00:31:13| I love that they had to climb to the top of the mountain to start a lift.
Marge Seeholzer: |00:31:17| Yeah, that's dedication, don't you think?
Marge Seeholzer: |00:31:20| It's true dedication. It totally is.
Travis Seeholzer: |00:31:23| That goes back to that walking uphill the schools thinking it was kind of true.
Marge Seeholzer: |00:31:27| Well, and also there was just a small group, just a few families that participated. And he'd always make it very clear that you pack before you go around, if that's what you did. There weren't machines and groomers and all that sort of stuff. So you had to do your share but packing before you had any fun.
Tom Kelly: |00:31:46| Did you know Harold, Marge?
Marge Seeholzer: |00:31:48| Yes, I did.
Tom Kelly: |00:31:49| I want to talk about Harold and then we'll move on to Ted. But what were some of the passions that Harold had? What was it that inspired him to be so active in the outdoors?
Marge Seeholzer: |00:32:01| He was very quiet and soft spoken. He loved hunting and fishing and the winter and the snow. And I think his passion was instilling in his kids something quality that they could do to pass those years so that they didn't get in trouble. He said that more than once, something that was constructive and that they enjoyed and that they could enjoy as a family.
Tom Kelly: |00:32:28| And that certainly was passed down to his son, Ted.
Marge Seeholzer: |00:32:32| It was. Yeah, it definitely was. And Harold and Luella did this as a donation for many years. They both worked full time. He was a lather, which is a lost art with plastering. And Luella worked in a women's clothing store in Logan so they could support their habit. And Ted was the first full time paid employee. But that was many years later because all the kids donated time even as adults and married adults, they donated their time on weekends and holidays to build up the ski resort.
Tom Kelly: |00:33:10| Was there a good cadre of people in the Logan area who shared that passion and came up here to Beaver Mountain?
Marge Seeholzer: |00:33:19| It was a small group at the start, but I think they were a very dedicated group. The families that were involved, I think really loved it and supported Harold and Luella in their efforts and loved it for their children, too.
Tom Kelly: |00:33:33| There's a great memorial for Harold and Luella. Travis, can you speak to that a little bit? And when was that put in? It's right at the entrance to the resort and really a nice documentation of what they contributed to start Beaver Mountain.
Travis Seeholzer: |00:33:49| Yeah, it's relatively new. It was installed two years ago, so it would've been in the fall of 2019 and it was a long time coming. And one thing, you know, we as a family wanted to do to honor them and their achievements here and my older brother Kim, I think really was the spearhead to, you know, we talked about it a lot and had meetings and talked and had meetings and then we finally got it done and made it happen. And we had a really nice dedication for that. There is a short summation on the memorial of kind of the history of the mountain. And the photo that was used for that relief was a photo of Harry and Luella in a double chair on Beaver's face lift, taking a phone to the top left shack.
Travis Seeholzer: |00:34:40| And Harold was wearing his long, furry Berber kind of alpaca coat that all the photos I ever saw of him, that's what he was wearing. And, well, I had big wool socks on, I assume, over the top of her boots in the photo. And it was kind of neat during the little dedication we did that day, we basically invited anyone that wanted to come. And we didn't have a clue if that was 100 people or 200 really had no idea. And we were trying to provide some food and a few things. And I think we just ended up with four or 50, close to 500 people. I drove up the canyon in the fall and we had a nice, nice fall day. And, you know, got to feel that appreciation, I think, from the community that had a rooted interest in Beaver Mountain and growing up here. But one of our old old employees and good friends of ours and I did not know this till it happened, but he presented us that telephone and my grandma had given that to him 30 something years ago. I had no idea I even had it. And maybe these guys did. But he said, well, we decided it's time to give it back. And it was just timely because that's what they're doing in the picture and they're going up to get, you know, and even something as simple as that is not that easy in those days to get a phone to the top of the mountain, to be able to talk back and forth. And this thing weighs like 80 pounds and it's not very big. But understanding old phone technology, that he handed that to me that day. And I was like, I don't know if I can lift this thing, but it's a super cool thing to have for our collection, you know, in the house. But a nice gesture by someone to return that and kind of see the significance of that. And the gentleman's name is Bill Grilli, and he's been in the ski industry for years, selling snowcats and working at Beaver Mountain. But it was a fun day and I think a lot of people enjoyed it. And we were able to put some of this history into words and put out these little pamphlets for the program. And we've had people come back wanting more and more copies. I want to send one of my kids I want to do this. And there's some old photographs and some of the timeline you mentioned in there. So that was fun.
Tom Kelly: |00:36:49| Marge, this place has really been an integral part of the greater Logan community, hasn't it?
Marge Seeholzer: |00:36:55| Yeah. Yeah, it has. You know, we forget, like Travis said, I think through the years and this is where we work. So I think we forget, even, like you mentioned, the beauty of driving Logan Canyon. I forget because, well, I'm driving. I'm in my mind now. What have I got to do today? And I check off this list and think, what have I got to do when I hurry home? And sometimes you forget how lucky you are to be where you are and have this place.
Tom Kelly: |00:37:25| And I'm guessing, though, Marge, when you're driving it, it's oftentimes dark. Yes, it is. And it's a lot nicer in the sunshine.
Marge Seeholzer: |00:37:33| Right?
Tom Kelly: |00:37:34| It was gorgeous today. You know, because we've had this snow coming in and out. There were just a little rays of sunlight that were illuminating the white snow that had accumulated on the red rock cliffs. It was just a gorgeous, gorgeous drive up today. Travis, what have been some of the big innovations? And let's go back to one that we take for granted right now. But the chairlift, I think it was the early 60s when the resort got its first chairlift.
Travis Seeholzer: |00:38:04| Yeah, we had up to that point had several iterations of surface lifts t bar. There was a T bar right up the run that is known as Beaver Space, which is a bit steep and it's 35 degrees. And it's that left probably had a vertical of maybe eleven hundred feet, the original T bar and then the Beaver's face lift was put in, which in that era and most of this is just obviously historical to me, but it was done from Pomagalski in France and, you know, and on a budget that was a huge investment for this business at this time.
Travis Seeholzer: |00:38:45| And Harold was able to acquire some suitable waterpipe for the towers, which are still there today. And they're good towers, but they were a little easier way to find than from a ski lift company. But, you know, the early chairlifts, a lot of them had what? Hours and some of the Wasatch Front and everything we had was still towers, but everything was hauled up on the blade of a dozer and even some of the footings were dug by hand because we didn't have equipment to get up there. And again, this is before my time, but I can't imagine how big of an impact the first chairlift had and what a splash that was. I still get super excited to pull into a parking lot at a ski area and see cables go up a mountain. I think ski lifts are super cool and even any other resort I go to, ski lifts excite me. And I think, you know, the very first one to see chairs going up a mountain and I can sit on this and go to the top and ski down. Had to be just phenomenal. I mean, surface lifts have their place, but it's not the same as sitting on a chair and going up the hill.
Tom Kelly: |00:39:51| You know, I think a lot as a skier and I've skied for 50 years. I didn't ski as a kid, though. But there's no sport really like this. And ski areas take up a fair amount of real estate. But what we can do with those lift rides and how we can transfer that six to eight minute ride up the mountain into this super exciting and pleasurable experience sliding down on snow. It's it's really an amazing sport. And we've seen this year because I think because of COVID so many more people coming out and participating and getting outdoors and having that exhilaration of the snow and the wind in their face, you know, it's going to be interesting to see.
Travis Seeholzer: |00:40:36| I think, you know, the outdoor industry as a whole keeps that momentum, as we saw even throughout the summer, you know, and into the fall. And different people have had different takes on. You know, some people thought it was fully just going to be all brand new people to the sport of skiing. And I think we've seen a fair bit of that, which is always a challenge in our industry. But I think that's the takeaway. I think you kind of hit that on the head, the essence of Beaver Mountain and with my parents, my grandparents, and obviously was a financial you know, nobody was getting rich up here building a ski area. But the real appreciation and the joy is letting someone enjoy your mountain and hopefully appreciate all the work that you put into it. But getting that thrill of smooth, fast acceleration on a pair of skis, you know, for somebody to be able to do that, it is unique. And it attracts a unique guest, I think. And I've always felt like ski people are good people. There are people I like to hang out with and I'm not sure why that is. But it's exciting to get to share that with people and share something you love doing.
Tom Kelly: |00:41:38| Marge, what was the joy that your husband Ted got from skiing?
Marge Seeholzer: |00:41:44| Oh, I think he loved it. He loved the outdoors. He loved to hunt and fish. And he's passed that on to Travis and got it from his dad. So he enjoyed the outdoors. And I think he loved the pride of what his parents had started. And to continue it on, I think he loved that. He was pretty gruff and the exterior. So you had to get past that to see that. But he was very proud of what his parents had started for us.
Tom Kelly: |00:42:18| I think the industry has a lot of people like that who they have this inner sense of really wanting to give this back and give it back to the next generation when the kids were growing up, were they bombing all over the mountain?
Marge Seeholzer: |00:42:34| Oh, yeah. Yeah. They started to ski very young and yeah, they were little hot dogs. And of course, you know, the employees and the public would say, oh yeah, that's that little Seeholzer brat. They would ski circles around the big people. But you know, another thing that I think about and thinking back of the history and how things have changed, we didn't have electricity here for years. We had generators. So and Ted and I would come and it'd be in the dark. He would leave the truck lights on, walk down to the generator house with the flashlight in his hand, turn the generator on it, made all kinds of noise and it stunk to high heaven. And then the lights went on. So we'd do the reverse at night. They'd go down and turn the generator off and it would be black and quiet.
Marge Seeholzer: |00:43:23| And then from that, the same with phones. We didn't have phones here. We had the radios. We had a radio right by our bed. I had a radio in my car. Ted had one in his truck. We had one here at the mountain. And if there wasn't somebody by the radio and we had trouble, then we were in big trouble.
Tom Kelly: |00:43:46| Times have changed, haven't they?
Travis Seeholzer: |00:43:49| You know, we feel like we're pretty tech now because we have phones and electricity. And the one other thing, as a kid, I remember and I was here for the generator experience and but the next task after that was going to stop the coal furnace and we would go in and pull all the clinkers out, which we would spread on the parking lot and stoke the furnace for the day. And that's kind of what I remember growing up, as you'd have to go down and turn the generator on. And my cousins took great joy out of hiding in the generator house and scaring the hell out of you when you walked down there because it was dark in this long, creaky old stairway down into the generator. My one cousin in particular are tied up in the loft and just love to scare the crap out of you when you walk down there. But yeah, it wasn't until the reason we got power at the resort as a generator burning built that excuse me, burned down midwinter and some groomer's found at about 3:00 in the morning. Fire is being fed by a 3000 gallon diesel tank. And the ski industry in Utah in particular, really supported Beaver Mountain and offered all of our holders they could use our passes at their resort because we were done. We were dead in the water. And I think the resort was only closed. It was under two weeks, 10 days or something. By the time we got a new generator from the Midwest, which a local company offered a truck that was out there to bring this thing back and.
Marge Seeholzer: |00:45:13| Volunteers to help build the building.
Travis Seeholzer: |00:45:15| The ski patrol built the building. There's a building down here I kind of joke about that. Looks like it was built in a day because it was. And they framed it up and got this thing built and was a bunch of our ski patrol.
Marge Seeholzer: |00:45:23| My dad was a builder.
Travis Seeholzer: |00:45:25| And my grandpa, Quinn. And they got all this put together and we were back around them with the blessing in disguise was we got hit off the power the next year and we had to bring it in from Bear Lake. So we brought it in here 15 miles, which was a significant investment, you know, to do. But in hindsight, probably worth it. We're glad we have power here now.
Tom Kelly: |00:45:45| You know, that's really a great story. And I think you're right that the industry historically has always banded together. It is a family helping each other. And that's really a heartwarming story to hear that happened. I want to thank both of you for taking the time and telling the story of Beaver Mountain.
Tom Kelly: |00:46:03| We're going to move now into the closing section that I call Fresh Tracks. And I've got a few questions for each of you. Hopefully simple things, maybe tax your mind and pick a few favorites and things that you haven't read. So, Travis, this, I hope will be an easy question. Maybe it won't be, but what is your favorite ski run here at Beaver?
Travis Seeholzer: |00:46:54| That is a loaded question. Depends on the day. But I think if I had to pick one, and we did ski at our last run today, it would be Stan's Bonanza. And it's just a great fall line around. It all goes downhill with a pretty good pitch, little bit of a European fall line kind of has a double fall line at the bottom and great visibility. And it's pretty much top to bottom, pretty, I'd say 1500 vertical feet at that pitch to the bottom. And I still like to kind of go fast once in a while. And it's a fun place to do that on.
Tom Kelly: |00:47:27| You were fast today.
Travis Seeholzer: |00:47:29| I was feeling it.
Tom Kelly: |00:47:30| Well, you were definitely feeling it. And that one had a little bit of terrain that I didn't know. So that was the one run where you really got a big lead on me. So good for you there. How about outside of Beaver Mountain here in Utah? Do you have a favorite run or favorite other resort that you like to sneak away to once in a while?
Travis Seeholzer: |00:47:50| It's probably a little cliche, but I think Highboy - Alf's High Rustler is pretty hard to beat and I've spent quite a bit of time and to know, you know, their operation. And I love the history and sometimes it's irritating, like even last week when they kick on that snow machine they have down there and we feel like we ought to be getting snow in little Cottonwood just seems to always produce. And we're pretty spoiled here and we have pretty good quality snow. But I've had some really enjoyable days at Alta and appreciate the culture there and the quality of the snow on the depth of the snow.
Tom Kelly: |00:48:26| Cool. By the way, that run comes up frequently with podcast guests here on Last Chair. Marge, do you have any idea how many people you have greeted here at Beaver Mountain since you started in that ticket booth in 1964?
Marge Seeholzer: |00:48:43| Oh, no. I don't, but I love it, I love everyone, and you know what, 99 percent of them, it's always good. You know, you get to hear the bad things that they complain to you if the snow is bad or something wasn't right, you hear that. But the good outweighs the bad so much. And that's one of the very favorite things about my job, is meeting all the people and all the friends I have.
Tom Kelly: |00:49:08| Do you have any particular heartwarming story that you could share with us from over the years?
Marge Seeholzer: |00:49:16| Oh, so many. I know I I have these families that come back that haven't been here for years and years and they'll come and they'll say, oh, we're so happy you're still here. And that to me is fun because I think sometimes I guess I should retire and stay home, but I don't want to. I love it. I love it here and I love the people. And yeah, we just have generations. You see the parents and then their children and then the grandchildren. And I can tell you how many lots.
Tom Kelly: |00:49:53| Cool. So for either one of you, for people who may be making a trip up here to ski at Beaver Mountain, what's another fun thing to do either around Beaver Mountain or down in Logan?
Travis Seeholzer: |00:50:08| One thing I think a lot of people, if you're into, you know, the outdoor experiences just up the road from us is Beaver Creek Lodge, which does have snowmobile rentals. I have had a few buddies that, you know, even came up with their families and people in the ski industry that have just never been on a snowmobile and haven't done that. And they've come up and stayed to ski. But for something else to do, they've gone for a snowmobile ride. And it's as hard as you want to make it. But it's, you know, a guided trip with a lot of great instruction, which is definitely necessary. And you a lot of the areas that they travel, you get to see the ski area from. So you kind of get to see it from a different perspective. But that's one thing that I think is fun for people if they're looking for something different to do.
Tom Kelly: |00:50:53| That's a good one. So just going to close it out with a couple more for you, Travis. First of all, do you have a favorite Utah craft beer?
Travis Seeholzer: |00:51:03| Mm hmm. That's almost as hard as my favorite ski run, but probably, say Squatters IPA, I think that would be the go to.
Tom Kelly: |00:51:12| And last one for you, Travis, groomers, moguls, glades or powder.
Travis Seeholzer: |00:51:18| It's got to be powder. I hear that question. I kind of laugh and a lot of people have different answers, but absolutely powder in my book. Nothing like it.
Tom Kelly: |00:51:27| Travis Seeholzer, Marge Seeholzer, thank you so much for joining us here today on Last Chair, but also for all you've put into the sport and making such an enjoyable experience. I had a great time on the mountain today.
Travis Seeholzer: |00:51:41| Yah, we appreciate it, come back and see us soon.
Marge Seeholzer: |00:51:43| Thank you.
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