The Ten Longest Lift Rides in North America

The average lift ride in the United States and Canada takes just under five minutes.  In fact, only about four percent of lifts (fewer than a hundred) take more than ten minutes to ride. You wouldn’t know it hearing the average skier complaining about long and slow lifts at just about any ski area.  Below are the ten longest lifts by actual ride time at design speed.  Of course lifts do not always run at their design speed but this gives a pretty good idea of the longest rides.  Two of the top ten are detachable lifts that are so long that they take more than 15 minutes.

Silver Mountain's Gondola is one of only three lifts on the continent that takes more than 15 minutes to ride at design speed.
Silver Mountain’s Gondola is one of only four lifts on the continent that takes more than 15 minutes to ride at design speed.

1. Burfield Quad – Sun Peaks Resort, BC – 1997 Doppelmayr Fixed-grip quad

9,510 feet at 453 fpm = 21 minutes

2. Cyclone – Sunrise Park Resort, AZ – 1983 Yan Fixed-grip triple

7,982 feet at 450 fpm = 17.7 minutes

3. Gondola – Silver Mountain, ID – 1990 VonRoll 8-passenger gondola

16,350 feet at 1,000 fpm = 16.4 minutes

4. Castlerock – Sugarbush Resort, VT – 2001 Poma fixed-grip double

4,707 feet at 300 fpm = 15.7 minutes

5. Wallowa Lake Tramway, OR – 1968 Hall 4-passenger gondola

9.650 feet at 650 fpm = 14.9 minutes

6. Primo – Sunlight Mountain Resort, CO – 1966 Riblet fixed-grip double

7,260 feet at 500 fpm = 14.5 minutes

7. Chair 3 – Sandia Peak, NM – 1980 Riblet fixed-grip double

7,200 feet at 500 fpm = 14.4 minutes

8. Sundance – Mt. Snow, VT – 1984 Yan fixed-grip triple

7,101 feet at 500 fpm = 14.2 minutes

Sugarloaf's West Mountain lift is a nearly 7,000 foot double chair.
Sugarloaf’s West Mountain lift is a nearly 7,000 foot double chair that almost no one rides.

9. West Mountain – Sugarloaf, ME – 1984 Borvig fixed-grip double

6,968 feet at 500 fpm = 13.9 minutes

10. Lift 1A/Bell Mountain – Aspen Mountain, CO – 1985 Riblet double

6,803 feet at 500 fpm = 13.6 minutes


11 thoughts on “The Ten Longest Lift Rides in North America

  1. jaytrem September 21, 2015 / 6:18 am

    Nice list but I’m 99.9% sure Castlerock doesn’t run at 300 fpm. I rode it about 12 times one day this past April, at 300 fpm that would be pure torture. I don’t think the old one even ran that slow. They do still have the crazy spacing on it though, so it does make for much lower capacity than a typical double.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Peter Landsman September 21, 2015 / 8:30 am

      I agree 300 seems awfully low but that is what SAM listed it at in the 2002 lift construction survey. As a double chair serving advanced terrain Castlerock should be running 500-550 fpm.


      • jaytrem September 21, 2015 / 9:11 am

        Looks like it has 300HP motor, I suspect they put that number in both places by mistake. Can see it cranking along at a nice speed in a number of youtube videos. Couldn’t find the real speed listed anywhere though.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Teddy's Lift World August 28, 2019 / 1:57 pm

        I just calculated it based off of my video. The ride time was 11:10.


  2. trj820 September 25, 2015 / 10:20 pm

    I think that Bell Mountain isn’t the same as 1A; that’s shadow mountain.


  3. Somebody... February 27, 2016 / 1:35 pm

    Sunshine at telluride is a 15 minute ride with all the beginners skiing UTE and having to have the lift stopped to down load. If you get lucky you might be able to clutch it in 11 though.


  4. northeastchairlifts March 31, 2017 / 9:29 pm

    Stowe’s Toll House double is about a 16 minute ride without any interruptions:

    I think you should add that in


  5. Collin Parsons August 28, 2019 / 4:39 pm

    Mount Snow’s Sundance Triple is not 7100 feet long. It was shortened in 1997 and is now about 5175 feet long. The database shows the original length statistic. Of course the reason it was shortened was because it was so unpopular because of the long ride time, and because ASC wanted to create a novice area out of Sundance Lodge.

    Killington’s former Northeast Passage Triple was 9243 feet long with a 550 fpm top speed, so the ride would’ve taken 16.8 minutes. Another long lift made shorter by ASC.


  6. James Eischen August 28, 2020 / 9:23 am

    Sandia Peak chair 3 has been slowed to 425fpm . To ease the loading process.


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