The Summit Chair at Whitewater was retired after last season, and one of the chairs is being donated to Touchstones Museum. Photo courtesy of Elliott Kramer, Whitewater Ski Resort

Summit Chair coming to Touchstones

Whitewater Ski Resort donated two chairs from retired lift

It’s more than just a chairlift.

When local historian Ed Mannings learned that Whitewater Ski Resort was retiring its Summit chairlift this season, he knew Touchstones Museum had to get involved somehow. So he approached executive director Astrid Heyerdahl to see if they could get their hands on one of the seats.

“He told me ‘we have to get on this, it’s an important part of Nelson history,’” Touchstones director Astrid Heyerdahl told the Star.

“As soon as news dropped that they were possibly selling off individual chairs from the lift, we realized we had to get on this. So we emailed them and said ‘we want a chair.’”

And the answer was yes, so now Heyerdahl’s coming up with a vision for how to incorporate it into their collection.

“The Summit Chair really is a part of the fabric of this area. And though not everybody is a skier or snowboarder, nobody can deny that Whitewater plays an important role in the history of this place,” she said.

Not only that: the chair originally operated in Washington.

“This object itself had a history and a life before coming to Nelson, which makes it a piece of B.C. history. It speaks to the larger concept of ski culture in B.C.”

Ultimately Touchstones hopes to incorporate the chair into its permanent collection, and use it for an exhibit celebrating skiing in Nelson. And Whitewater’s Rebeckah Hornung couldn’t be more stoked about the idea.

“One of the things that makes Whitewater so special is the community that supports it,” she said.

“It’s for this reason that Whitewater has chosen to donate two of the original Summit chairs to a couple of Nelson’s key community organizations: Touchstones Museum and the Chamber of Commerce’s Visitor Information Centre.”

She’s happy to see it immortalized.

“Keeping the ties of the history of Whitewater embedded deep in the community is very important to the resort.”