Lewis & Clark is a 2005 Doppelmayr CTEC Uni-GS detachable quad in the Spanish Peaks residential development in Big Sky, Montana. It was built during Big Sky’s real estate boom when the Yellowstone Club, Spanish Peaks and Moonlight Basin were all developed. For those who haven’t been to the area, each resort includes lifts and ski trails connected to the original Big Sky Resort. 17 lifts were built during the boom years from 2004 to 2007. No lifts have been built in Big Sky since.
Spanish Peaks was developed by timber billionaire Tim Blixseth, (who founded the neighboring Yellowstone Club) and James Dolan, the CEO of Cablevision. Doppelmayr built all 5 of Spanish Peaks’ lifts in the summer of 2005. In addition to Lewis & Clark, there are 2 triples and 2 platters. Lifts and trails opened for the 2005-06 ski season.
Lewis & Clark is the main base to summit lift at Spanish Peaks. It has a 400 HP top drive terminal, a bottom tension terminal and 15 towers. The lift profile is mellow, rising only 715 vertical feet over 4,135 feet of slope length. Like the detachables at the Yellowstone Club, half of Lewis & Clark’s 26 chairs have bubbles. All of the chairs have Doppelmayr’s “couch” style European seats. The current capacity is only 800 passengers per hour with an 18 second chair interval. Design capacity is 1600 per hour if another 26 chairs were added.
Spanish Peaks operated 6 seasons before it ran out of money in October 2011 following on the heels of bankruptcies at the Yellowstone Club in 2008 and Moonlight in 2009. Lewis and Clark’s chairs were removed and it sat idle for 2 years.
CrossHarbor Capital Partners and Boyne Resorts bought Spanish Peaks for a fire sale price of $26 million in summer 2013. Lifts reopened for the 2013-14 season operated by Boyne Resorts. The public can now ski the Lewis & Clark lift with a Big Sky lift ticket. While the terrain is not very interesting the lift is one of the most comfortable anywhere.