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Front side of Hyak on 17 February 2013

Summit East, more commonly known as Hyak, is one of the four main ski areas at Snoqualmie Pass. Opened in 1959, the area has had a troubled history, and had the most owners of any other area on the Pass. From 1981-1990, the area was known as PacWest.

HistoryEdit

Hyak Skiing Center (1959-1981)Edit

In summer 1959, the Hyak Corporation, a real-estate company led by Robert J. Block, Frederick D. Voorhees, J. Vernon Williams, Frederick W. Kimball, and John B. Woodward, spent $220,000 to install ropetows, two pomalifts, an access road, a Day Lodge, and a ticket booth, amongst other facilities, at the newly-founded Hyak Skiing Center.

Summit East
Hyak Logo - Copy
Original logo, 1959-1981
Some attributes
Also Known As Hyak (1959-1981, 1990-1997)

PacWest (1981-1990)

Years of Operation 1959-2009, 2011-present
Founder(s) Robert J. Block
Other attributes
 They aquired a 30-year lease on the land, which consisted of at least half of the former Milwaukee Ski Bowl, with additional land to the north. The original list setup consisted two single ropetows, two double sided ropetows, and an upper and lower pomalift. The area officially opened in December 1959. Eventually, Bill Romans became Managing Director of the Hyak Ski Corperation, and the area itself, a position he would maintain for several years. In summer 1965, a unique up-and-over double chairlift was installed that would later be known as the Dinosaur. The lift proved to be of poor design, and it became difficult to maintain. On December 30, 1971, the chairlift went out-of-control in reverse, "injuring about a half dozen skiers" along with 18 year old Bill Tagliani, who became paralyzed from the waist down as a result.    A lawsuit was filed in January 1971 that saught $3 million in damages. It is not known how the issue was resolved, but it is most likely that Hyak and Mr. Tagliana settled for a lower price. The poor winter of 1976-77 caused Hyak to only be open one day (on which it was raining all day), and in February 1977, the Hyak Corporation sought court assistance, being $2.7 million in debt. In court, it was agreed that Hyak could have more time to pay it's debts. By April 1978, the Hyak Corperation was in debt by $3.6 million, and it's investors were at risk of personal bankruptcy. In June 1978, Hyak general manager Pat Deenan claimed that if the coropration were to acquire certain building permits on the Pass, then it would be able to sell much of it's real estate to developers in order to pay off the debt. It appears that these permits were not acquired, as the Hyak Ski Corperation went bankrupt in 1978. The area continued to operate, however, while the transition of ownership began.

PacWest (1981-1990)Edit

Return to Hyak and Snoqualmie Unification (1990-1997)Edit

In 1990, all four major ski areas on Snoqualmie Pass were unified

Summit East and Decline Years (1997-2009)Edit

In 1997, Hyak was renamed Summit East, in an attempt to create further continuity and unity between the four areas in what was now called The Summit at Snoqualmie. This decision was controversial at the time, and still criticised today. In this era, Hyak began to decline as a result of neglect from the ownership in the late 1990s. In 1997, almost all of the night lanterns were removed from Hyak, causing night skiing to cease. It is commonly believed that these night lanterns were removed for the purpose of being re-installed at Alpental, as Alpental was a major financial focus of the Snoqualmie owners during this time. Hyak's closing time was then established as 3:00, sometimes 4:00, which it remains at. The Dinosaur, which had been difficult for PacWest to maintain, had fallen out of use. It is rumored that during the new managment changes in 1990, the decision was made to keep the lift in place, but not use it, with the long-term plan of having Riblet refit the lift for future use. However, the new management in 1997 decided not to invest as much money in Hyak, so the lift was abandoned all together. In these years, only Keechelus and Easy Gold were in operation, limiting accesible terrain to about 60% of what was available during the area's heyday.

The area was not maintained well during this time. Both chairlifts broke down frequently, rendering the area difficult or impossible to access without hiking. The slopes were not groomed as frequently as the other three areas, and some runs were usually left only partially groomed, or not groomed at all. Crowds were usually minimal due to the area's poor management and consequential unpopularity. Ironically, this eventually caused a new wave of Hyak-goers to frequent the area, both skiiers and snowboarders alike. The people found that they could escape the crowds of the other three areas, and also enjoy some fresh, ungroomed snow. This new reputation led to the Summit branding Hyak as their "best-kept secret". However, some long-time Hyak-goers were dismayed at the loss of terrain, lack of night-skiing, and general poor management.

The Summit at Snoqualmie Master Development Plan released in 1998, and revised in 2004 and 2008, showed that the various owners over the years desired many changes for Hyak. These included the return of night-skiing and the refit or replacement of the Dinosaur (and the removal of Keechelus as a result). The plans also showed interest of a new lift on Hidden Valley, and two possible new lifts in the wrap-around forest on the frontside. In the years following the Plan's release, no progress was made.

Landslide and Rebuilding (2009-2011)Edit

On January 7th, 2009, there was a major landslide on the front side of Hyak, on the "face" of the hill. This landslide, believed to be caused by loose dirt that was put in during the construction of Keechelus combined with heavy rainfall and flooding, took out several homes near the bottom of the hill. It also caused irreversible damage to Keechelus, taking out three of the lift's towers. Easy Gold sustained mininal damage. Repairing and reconstructing of the damaged homes began very soon, but Hyak was immediately closed for the season.

Reopening and Revival (2011-present)Edit

The East Peak Triple on the front side of Hyak opened in the 2011-2012 ski season and the Hidden Valley double opened later the same season providing access to Hidden Valley again. The most recent addition to Summit East was the Rampart Quad that opened on January 1st 2015.

Section heading                             Edit

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Summit East
Hyak Logo - Copy
Original logo, 1959-1981
Some attributes
Also Known As Hyak (1959-1981, 1990-1997)

PacWest (1981-1990)

Years of Operation 1959-2009, 2011-present
Founder(s) Robert J. Block
Other attributes

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