Ski Idlewild Founders Get Classic Fraser Valley Chair Lift

Posted By: The Ski Channel on August 27, 2009 5:00 pm

Dwight and Jean Miller opened Ski Idlewild in Hideaway Park, Colorado in 1957. In 1986, something very unfortunate happened—the wheel system of the chairlift failed and fell to the ground. No one was injured or killed, but a few people did have to be evacuated from the lift by the ski patrol. Ski Idlewild was broke at the time and couldn’t afford to pay for an inspection of the lift. So…it was shut down. Today, the area formerly known as Ski Idlewild has been absorbed by the Rendezvous Development company, Koelbel and Co. The president of Koelbel and Co is Walter “Buz” Koelbel Jr. On Wednesday, good ol’ Buz gave a very sentimental gift to Dwight and Jean Miller. The chair lift that broke back in ’86. It’s chair number 8. Dwight and Jean Miller explained that not only could they not afford the inspection of the chair, they could barely afford the chair itself. Buz response to that: “[that] gave us the benefit of skiing for only $3.25 cents a day.” Ski Idlewild was known as a family-friendly, good for beginners type of ski area. Buz and his brothers and sisters learned to ski there, so for him, giving the lift chair to the Millers some 49 years later was in many ways like coming “full circle”. So what do the Millers plan on doing with their new gift? “We plan to make a swing out of it. We’re pleased indeed to have a chair from that lift,” she said, “to be able to sit and think how it was. … We feel like it was a unique part of our lives.” We hope the chair stays in the family for years to come.