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Work on the new Rampart fixed-grip quad chairlift is scheduled to begin this June at The Summit at Snoqualmie, operators have announced. It is part of a major face-lift at the ski area located less than an hour from Seattle.

“This will be the fourth lift installed in the last six years, and we’ve been doing something to improve the hillsides every season with hopefully more to come,” said Guy Lawrence, marketing director for the multi-area ski complex.

The lift, with a new easy conveyor-loading system, will be built and installed by Salt Lake City-based SkyTrac Inc. It is part of about $3.5 million in improvements for the Summit’s next winter season.

Summit East, formerly known as Hyak, was nearly wiped out in January of 2009 when an avalanche took out homes and damaged a chairlift. It has always been one of the most diverse areas at Snoqualmie.

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“Getting this lift in will definitely make that mountainside work a lot better, and will spread the load from the other (East Peak chairlift) as we’re starting to see some pretty decent crowds there,” Lawrence said.

The Rampart chairlift, to be located on the north-facing slope at Summit East, will substantially boost uphill capacity and open a good amount of gladed terrain in the area. In connection with the installation, several new runs will be cut into the hillside this summer.

It will complement existing popular runs at Summit East, “which is a very family- friendly and diverse hillside, so it’s no mystery why a lot of people go there,” Lawrence said. “The terrain is great for all abilities of skiers and snowboarders with wonderful views and tree-lined trails.”

This past winter, The Summit at Snoqualmie opened the new Silver Fir Lodge at the base of the Silver Fir high-speed quad chairlift.

“This (Rampart chairlift) is one of the last pieces as far as lifts go although we’ve got more things coming up in the master plan,” Lawrence said.

While nothing is certain yet, there are plans to build a restaurant on top of Mount Hyak.

Other work scheduled for the Summit’s four areas this summer includes purchasing maintenance equipment to help with brush cutting and trail manicuring; better lighting and winch grooming at Alpental; day lodge upgrades at Summit Central, East and Alpental; and upgrades at the tubing center. or 206-464-8780

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