In 1938 the Bald Mountain Ski Club installed a rope tow up Stewart Slope, and instigated the beginning of Terry Peak Ski Area.
Back in those days, club members groomed the slope by hiking horizontally up and down with their skis to pack the snow.
Many of the founding members of the Bald Mountain Ski Club left the area to serve in World War II. Ed Keene, one of the founding members of the club, served with the 10th Mountain Division and upon his return started what is now known as Black Hills Chairlift d.b.a. Terry Peak Ski Area.
In 1952, Ed Keene, Ken Keller, Ken Stormo, John Finola and Richard Morcom formed the Black Hills Chairlift Company. Originally the Ringer Chairlift was installed going up Kussy, but was only utilized for the Summer Chairlift Ride business. In 1954, the Black Hills Chairlift Company began winter ski operations.
The Ringer Chairlift was replaced in 1967 by the Blue Chairlift (#1). The Empress Chairlift (#2) was installed in 1975, followed by the Surprise Chairlift (#3) in 1978.
Development continued and in 1985 two surface Poma lifts on Stewart Slope we replaced by the Stewart Chairlift (#4). Business was booming and lift lines were growing, so an additional Blue Chairlift (#5) was installed in 1986, parallel to the #1 Blue Chairlift going up Kussy. In1996, the Beginner Chairlift was installed for ski school classes and beginner skiers and snowboarders.
Due to the unpredictable Black Hills winters, Terry Peak began snowmaking in the 1970s. Snowmaking improvements have continued through present day, with coverage on 60 percent of the slopes. In 2002, Terry Peak acquired three wells and three holding ponds as part of the reclamation of the Golden Reward mine. The acquisition gave Terry Peak over 14 million gallons of water storage for snowmaking.
At the base of Stewart Slope, the original lodge, K-2 Bar and ski school building were replaced by the current Stewart Day Lodge in 1988. In the summer of 2001, a 3,000 square foot sun deck was added to the lodge.
In 1999, the Black Hills Chairlift Company approved a five-year plan for major improvements at Terry Peak Ski Area. The Kussy Express, a high-speed detachable quad chairlift, replaced the two Blue chairlifts (#1 and #5). In 2002 the Yellow Chairlift (#3) was replaced with the Surprise Express, also a high-speed detachable quad chairlift.
The first Half-Pipe was built on the top of Holy Terror in 2000. A Pipe-Dragon grooming machine was shared with neighboring Antelope Butte Ski Area but eventually Peak purchased its own. In 2003, the first Terrain Park was implemented on Snowstorm. A lack of snow made it a struggle the first year, so snowmaking was added to Snowstorm the following year.
Heading into the 2004-05 Season, Terry Peak began its largest terrain expansion in over 25 years. New trails that were developed include North Side Glades, Ben Hur Glades, Maringo, Missing Link, and Lower Black Moon. This 100-acre expansion accommodates intermediate to expert skiers and snowboarders.
Today Terry Peak Ski Area maintains the title of South Dakota’s largest ski area. Winter sports enthusiasts throughout the five-state region and beyond come to ski the Black Hills at Terry Peak. Over 25 trails, 600 acres of skiable terrain, two high-speed quad detachable chairlifts, a double and a triple chairlift and the snow carpet, make Terry Peak the perfect affordable family winter vacation. Watch our videos for more information about Terry Peak.