In 1983 Irv Pratt founded The Ancient Skiers, an organization dedicated to those who participated in the origins of the ski industry in the Pacific Northwest. In 1987 the Ancient Skiers established The Northwest Ski Hall of Fame with the induction of its five original members. Beginning with that initial class, seventy-eight Northwestern skiers have received the honor of Hall of Fame membership! In 1994 the Ancient Skiers incorporated the non-profit Northwest Ski Museum and Hall of Fame preserving skiing’s legacy in the Northwest. The primary focus of the NSMHF has been the biennial selection of inductees to the Northwest Ski Hall of Fame. But Irv Pratt also always envisioned a museum. In the late 1980’s and early 1990’s the U. S. Forest Service building on Snoqualmie Pass served this purpose and more recently some displays were staged in the lodge at Crystal Mountain. There also has been interest in a ski museum at Leavenworth. Unfortunately various efforts to date have lacked funding and a suitable location to bring the original vision of Irv Pratt and the Ancient Skiers to fruition.
Site on Snoqualmie Pass
The WSSSM opened on Snoqualmie Pass on October 10, 2015. The Summit at Snoqualmie is Washington’s most visited ski resort, the location is convenient to reach by the largest population center in the state and I-90 is one of the most heavily traveled east-west freeways in the United States. A new development on Snoqualmie Pass, led by Bryce Phillips of Evo and evolution projects, provides the perfect location for the WSSSM directly opposite the Summit Inn/Traveler’s Rest at the top of the Pass. Phase I of the development of this 5-acre parcel is complete with the occupancy of 30 townhomes. WSSSM is housed between the Commonwealth Café and Dru Bru Tap Room & Brewery—both of which provide substantial number of walk-in museum visitors. WSSSM has 1,200 square feet of museum space plus 400 square feet of mezzanine.
The Washington State Ski and Snowboard Museum (WSSSM) received IRS approval as a 501(c) 3 non-profit. The Ancient Skiers and the NW Ski Museum & Hall of Fame have both been very supportive of WSSSM and its location on Snoqualmie Pass.
WSSSM is a “story-telling” museum with artifact displays supplementing these stories. Admission is free. With advances in electronic technology this is the current trend among museums in Washington and around the country (e.g. Seattle’s MOHAI, EMP and Gates Visitor Center). Attached to this summary is a description of the exhibits, with associated videos, artifacts and photographs. Note that a fully secure display includes one of Phil Mahre’s World Cup trophies (on loan), Debbie Armstrong’s Olympic gold medal (on loan), various current items from 2010 and 2014 Olympian, Patrick Deneen, and more! Many artifacts relating to the history of snow sports in Washington State are on display. Two highly regarded museum vendors were retained to assist WSSSM: EDX (design) and Turner Exhibits (fabricator).