Chairlift to crosshairs: Riding lifts for archery practice

Now you can get in some archery practice high in the mountains, without having to hoof your heart rate up.

With ski resorts looking for ways to bolster revenue in the off-season, Idaho’s Pebble Creek Ski Area is taking a unique approach by targeting archers. Located in Bannock County, the resort recently stocked their ski runs with 80 targets and now lets archers ride chairlifts with their bows and arrows to test their skills on its 3D shooting gallery. It also hosts an annual two-day archery tournament, which this year drew more than 100 archers to its target-studded slopes.

“It was pretty well received by the archery community,” says the resort’s Dana Kmetz. “We plan to offer it every year.”

As for the ride-a-lift-to-shoot trend making its way south into Colorado Hunter territory, the jury is still out.“It’s not on our radar at this time,” says Steamboat Ski & Resort Corp pubic relations manager Loryn Kasten.

An archery target at Idaho’s Pebble Creek Ski Resort. 

Closer to Grand Junction, Powderhorn Ski Resort is more open to the idea, having already welcomed bow hunters to its slopes for this year’s second annual Train to Hunt event, which has archers simulating backcountry hunting scenarios via physical challenges before shooting at targets. “It’s certainly not something we’re opposed to,” says resort spokesman Ryan Robinson, likening Pebble Creek’s program to a Frisbee golf approach toward luring summer visitors. “We haven’t gotten any requests for it, but it’s not out of the question.”

Robinson adds that 700 acres of private land are located immediately below the resort, which archers already hunt. And this year’s Train to Hunt program included both a regional qualifier in June and a national event in July.

“The Train to Hunt event is held concurrently with our bike park operations and hiking options,” says Robinson. “It encourages everyone to recreate happily together.”

—Eugene Buchanan