Bruce Orvis, the founder of Bear Valley ski resort, has passed away at the age of 83.
According to information from the Ebbetts Pass Historical Association, Orvis acquired 400 acres of Forest Service land in 1963 through a land exchange to start a winter sports complex. Orvis put together a ski package for Mt. Reba under a Forest Service permit, and helped convince the state to extend Highway 4 so that there is access to Bear Valley.
The Bear Valley Lodge and other amenities were built in the mid-sixties, and in the winter of 1967, the ski resort fired up its lifts for the first time. By 1968 there were 125 winter-summer homes and thousands of skiers were visiting on the weekends. Orvis passed away last week following a sudden illness.