Lift Profile: Lewis & Clark at Big Sky, MT

Top/drive terminal of Lewis & Clark.
Top/drive terminal of Lewis & Clark.

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.

The original Spanish Peaks trail map from 2006.
Spanish Peaks original trail map from 2006.

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.

Summer view of the lift line.
Summer view of the lift line.

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.

Lewis & Clark has the fanciest chairs around.
Lewis & Clark has the fanciest chairs around!

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.

Lewis & Clark sat idle for 2 years, seats removed.
Lewis & Clark sat idle for 2 years, seats removed.

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.

Spanish Peaks is now part of Big Sky Resort.
Spanish Peaks is now part of Big Sky Resort.
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9 thoughts on “Lift Profile: Lewis & Clark at Big Sky, MT

  1. Eric Drissell March 17, 2016 / 7:43 pm

    I used to work on that lift for both SP & then Big Sky… lots of fun memories there.. (also have some good pics inside the terminals if you’re interested)

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      • Skircher5 March 18, 2016 / 11:09 am

        Not as quiet as the cabin lift below it. Lifty there said the most people he saw there in a day was 12 people. they are building more condos over there soon though.

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      • Eric Drissell January 15, 2018 / 2:43 pm

        wow… just saw this reply- almost 2 years later. oops. But yes, we did find creative ways to pass the time… lifties & patrolers often teamed up to build snow sofas, snow bars (complete with hidden ‘fridge” compartments to store cans of beer in), etc…

        I go ahead & send those pics I promised 2 years ago.. sorry for the wait! haha

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      • Eric Drissell January 15, 2018 / 2:50 pm

        Skircher5… 12 people in one day on Cabin would have been extremely busy! Most days Cabin saw like 3 people at most… the magic carpet between the Clubhouse & L&C was equally slow.

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  2. Matt Campbell April 25, 2016 / 12:54 pm

    I try to make it over there at least once a season when the conditions are terrible everywhere else to see if I can find something fun to ski. So far no luck…

    Like

    • Eric Drissell January 15, 2018 / 2:51 pm

      Moose Drop. Always full of powder even when it has been skied off everywhere else

      Like

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