Have you heard about the new Falcon SuperChair on Peak 10 at Breckenridge?
Previously a quad, when Breckenridge opens for the winter on Friday, November 10, 2017, the Falcon SuperChair will be a high-speed six pack.
While you might think this upgrade would be as easy as switching out the chairs, it’s not.
In July, it took a Black Hawk helicopter two hours to remove 19 existing towers, each of which weighs a few tons. And this was just one of many steps involved in deconstruction and construction.
After clearing these old towers out, new towers and terminals will be installed in September.
Watch the helicopter in action on a beautiful summer day.
In addition to this ski lift upgrade at Breckenridge, here’s some information on other resorts getting new lifts in 2017.
I’ve included information about lift upgrades at ski resorts open to the public (the private Yellowstone Club is getting a gondola and two new lifts, as well).
I researched each of the new lifts on resort websites and through news media, based on a technical list I received from Peter Landsman of Liftblog.com. Landsman, a lifelong skier and Jackson Hole Mountain Resort lift supervisor, keeps track of these things. You can see the Liftoblog.com list here.
Want to get a head start on 2018-19? Landsman has a technical list for those chairlifts, too.
Alta is replacing the Cecret and Supreme lifts with one Leitner-Poma high-speed detachable quad. The new lift will load to the southeast of Alf’s Restaurant and end at the existing Supreme upper terminal.
Arizona Snowbowl, AZ
Arizona Snowbowl is replacing the two-passenger Hart Prairie beginner lift with a Doppelmayr four-passenger lift with comfort bars, foot rests and padded seats. The new Hart Prairie lift will better allow families to ride together and allow ski instructors to ride with more students.
Bear Valley, CA
Bear Valley is installing a high-speed six pack, the Bear Express, in a busy area near the ski area lodge. In addition to significantly speeding up the lift ride and adding capacity, the new lift will be used for summer hiking and biking.
Beaver Creek, CO
Beaver Creek is upgrading and renaming a beginner lift at the top of the mountain. The old two-passenger Drink of Water Lift (#5) is being replaced by a high-speed quad called the Red Buffalo Express (#5). Ride time will be reduced from 8.6 minutes to 4.3 minutes and uphill capacity will increase by 75 percent.
Belleayre broke ground on the Catskill Thunder Gondola on June 19, 2017 and hopes to have the 60 cabin lift completed by December. Cabins hold up to 8 adults each and travel at a max speed for 1000 feet per minute.
Big Sky, MT
Construction on the Stagecoach lift at Big Sky began in 2008, when this part of the mountain was actually a separate resort called Moonlight Basin. The project will be completed this fall.
Bridger Bowl, MT
The Virginia City lift was the last of Bridger’s iconic red lifts. While it was removed in favor of a new three-passenger lift, this oldie-but-goodie will find new life at Teton Pass. Additionally, Bridger is relocating the Snowflake lift to a new beginner area.
Burke Mountain, VT
In collaboration with Burke Mountain Academy, a new Leitner-Poma T-bar is replacing a WW II-era Poma lift. The new lift will reach higher on the mountain and increase uphill capacity by more than five times. In addition to the new surface lift, Burke is adding additional snowmaking and a dedicated slalom hill. Burke Mountain was recently named a US Ski Team Development Site and High Performance Center.
China Peak, CA
China Peak Mountain Resort near Fresno is doubling capacity on Exhibition (Chair 2) from two to four passengers for this year’s 60th Anniversary!
Copper Mountain, CO
Copper Mountain is replacing the existing Kokomo lift with the Kokomo Express, a Doppelmayr high speed quad. The new lift will provide easier access from Copper’s West Village. It serves beginner terrain.
This ski area near Boulder will open its first high-speed lift this winter. The Alpenglow Express will replace the Cannonball and Challenge chairlifts and cut ride time from the base to the top of the mountain from 11 minutes to 4.5 minutes.
Giants Ridge, MN
Giants Ridge, northwest of Duluth, is one of the larger ski areas in Minnesota. This summer, Giants Ridge is installing two new quad chairs. A high-speed quad will replace the current Sarajevo Lift, while the Helsinki Lift is being replace with a fixed grip quad.
Keystone is replacing the current four passenger Montezuma Express with a high-speed six pack. This new lift, which serves Dercum Mountain, will increase efficiency and capacity by up to 25%.
Here are two really interesting videos. They are short but go into detail about how lifts are both constructed and deconstructed, how resorts choose which lifts to replace and with what equipment, and more.
Magic Mountain, VT
Over 12 years ago, the then owners of Magic Mountain in southern Vermont began installing the Green Chair. This year, a new ownership group is finishing the job with a double chairlift running from the base to midmountain, improving access to novice and intermediate terrain.
Mont Bechervaise, QC
Mont Bechervaise, near Gaspé, Quebec is installing a carpet-load chairlift this summer. The Quebec government is funding half of the $3.2 CDN cost, with the remainder paid for by the ski area and with donations from local companies and citizens.
Montana Snowbowl, MT
Montana Snowbowl is the closest ski area to Missoula, Montana and currently has big plans for expansion. While a lift upgrade begun last fall had to be postponed until this summer, long-range plans include adding an additional three lifts and over 1,000 acres of skiable terrain. The lift opening this winter will provide better beginner and intermediate access on TV Mountain.
Mount Baker, WA
Mount Baker is upgrading Chair 7, a fixed-grip quad, with another fixed-grip quad, this one from Skytrac. Mount Baker does not have any detachable chairlifts. The new lift serves green terrain and rises 579′ from the White Salmon base area.
Mount Hood Meadows, OR
This one-minute video tells you all you need to know about the Buttercup chairlift replacement at Mount Hood Meadows.
Mount Peter, NY
Mount Peter was founded in 1936 by Macy’s Department store, as a means of selling ski clothes. Located just 54 miles from New York City, Mt. Peter has a free beginner ski and snowboard school, a respected racing program, a tubing hill and, this season, a new Partek quad lift, called Sam’s.
Pats Peak, NH
This summer Pats Peak is replacing the double Peak chairlift with a triple carpet-load chair acquired from Ascutney, Vermont. The new chair, which runs from the lodge to the top of the mountain will nearly double uphill skier and snowboarder capacity.
After being shuttered for two seasons, Saddleback is back with new ownerships and two new lifts are planned for the coming season.
The Rangeley Double Chair, a Tristar fixed grip quad, will replace the Rangeley Double chair, while a new surface lift will replace the Cupsuptic T-Bar. Doppelmayr will install both lifts, although construction may not be completed until next summer.
Snow Valley, CA
Snow Valley’s new Leitner Poma detachable six-pack will be the first six-passenger chairlift in Southern California. The resort, located in the San Bernardino Mountains, is replacing Chair 1 rising from the base to the heart of the mountain.
Snowbasin is installing a new high-speed six-pack in the heart of the original ski area. The new Wildcat Express will take the place of the current Wildcat fixed-grip triple and will serve all levels of terrain.
This season, Sugarbush says goodbye to two 50+ year old lifts and welcomes two new quad chairlifts. The Sunshine lift at the base of Mt. Ellen will be upgraded in the same alignment, while the beginner Village lift will be upgraded and relocated a bit higher on the hill to improve the experience for beginners.
Sunday River, ME
Sunday River is replacing the old Spruce Peak triple chairlift with a new Doppelmayr carpet-load triple chair. The new chair will cut the ride time from 11 minutes to 8 minutes.
Ski Stoneham near Quebec City is building its first new lift in 28 years. A 4,700′ long Doppelmayr carpet-load quad will replace La Bordée and Le Chinook. The new lift will have a vertical rise of 1,250 feet.
A fixed grip quad will replace both the Orange and Yellow t-bars at Sunridge, Alberta. This new lift will provide faster and easier access to the mountain’s other chairlifts. Additionally, Sunridge is replacing the Bunny Hill rope tow with a 300-foot magic carpet.
Taos Ski Valley, NM
Taos completely renewed their Children’s Center and Strawberry Hill beginner area with a terrain based learning teaching area and a new pulse gondola connecting to the resort plaza. the The Rueggli lift has also been upgraded to a fixed-grip triple.
Vail is upgrading the Northwoods Express #11 lift from a high-speed quad to a high-speed six pack. Northwoods Express #11 provides access to the Back Bowls and Blue Sky Basin, as well to popular frontside trails.
Whaleback is a small ski area in New Hampshire’s Upper Valley. This summer, Whaleback is installing a T-bar to serve the area’s westside.
Whitewater Ski Resort, BC
Whitewater Ski Resort is upgrading their original Summit Chair with a Leitner-Poma fixed-grip quad chairlift. In the same location and alignment as the original, the new quad chair will provide easier progression around the mountain, increase the resort’s efficiency, and decrease noise pollution.
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