Jackson Hole’s Casper lift is an example of how the right lift can revitalize an entire section of a mountain. Prior to 2012, Casper was a 1974 Heron-Poma triple chair with a 10-minute ride time. The lift and nearby trails felt like no-man’s land in between the much newer Bridger Gondola and Apres Vous high speed quad. Casper had a race course and restaurant, but few people wanted to ride the lift.
In the summer of 2012, Jackson Hole invested $5 million to build a new Casper high speed quad and re-grade three major runs in the Casper pod. The race course was moved elsewhere and the entire area dubbed “all new, all-blue.” The new Casper opened December 6, 2012 and completely changed intermediate skiing at Jackson Hole.
Casper is one of Leitner-Poma’s first dozen lifts to utilize the new LPA terminals and grips, which debuted at Vail in 2010. While not without the usual hiccups, Casper is a machine well-liked by mechanics, operators and skiers. The lift shacks and terminals are spacious with many thoughtful features. For example, the chairs have clips that prevent seats from blowing up in high winds. The lift can auto-slow and auto-stop at pre-set wind speeds. A touchscreen at the return terminal gives operators just as much information as at the drive. Tower ladders extend all the way to the top of the lifting frames.
Casper can move 2,160 passengers an hour, up from 1,450 on the old triple chair. The lift rises just over 1,000 feet in only 3.4 minutes. Chairs are far enough apart that Casper is one of those lifts that can run all day without a stop, even at its maximum speed of 1,000 feet a minute. It has 62 chairs and 14 towers. The chairs have Leitner-Poma’s all plastic footrests that are simple to change.
Casper is only 3,400 feet long but has become one of the most important lifts at JHMR. On a mountain with a reputation for extreme skiing, it is usually the third or fourth most-ridden lift on any day. Next summer a second gondola will be built with direct access to Casper from Teton Village.