374 Lifts That Aren’t Where They Used to Be

In any given year, about a third of ski areas’ “new lifts” are actually lifts removed from other locations that are finding a new home.  There are entire websites dedicated to the buying and selling of second-hand ski lifts.  By my count, at least 374 lifts in the US and Canada have been re-engineered and re-installed at new places, either at the same ski resort or clear across the country.

Jackson Hole's Sweetwater lift, originally built by Yan in 1983, is in its second state and third location.  Along the way it picked up some Poma chairs and Doppelmayr controls.
Jackson Hole’s Sweetwater lift, originally built by Yan in 1983, is in its second state and third location.  Along the way it picked up some Poma chairs and Doppelmayr controls.

The ski area that has sent the most lifts to other places is, not surprisingly, Whistler-Blackcomb. Ten of its former chairlifts live on at ski areas across the US and Canada.  Some resorts operate fleets of lifts pieced together entirely from other places.  Big Sky Resort operates nine used lifts, many of them hand me downs from other Boyne Resorts.  Removed lifts that don’t get snapped up by other ski areas often end up at amusement parks and zoos.

The Raptor shuffle.  A single Garaventa CTEC fixed-grip quad was installed three different times at The Canyons in just five seasons.
A single Garaventa CTEC fixed-grip quad was installed three different times at The Canyons over just five years in what I call the Raptor shuffle.

A handful of lifts have been moved multiple times.  The Dreamscape lift at Park City (formerly Canyons) is in its third location on the same mountain.  Originally installed by Garaventa CTEC in 1996 as the Saddleback quad, it was replaced the very next season by a detachable quad.  The fixed-grip quad became Raptor, which served the runs between Super Condor Express and Golden Eagle for three seasons, after which it was removed (and still not replaced.)  That same summer, Raptor went to the opposite side of the mountain to anchor a major expansion called Dreamscape.  I would not be surprised to see Vail Resorts replace Dreamscape this coming summer, giving the still-not-that-old quad chair a chance at a fourth life.

The Jubilee lift is one of six lifts at Ski Discovery, MT that came from other ski areas including Park City, Sun Valley,  Keystone, Mt. Bachelor and Ski Apache.
The Jubilee chair is one of six lifts at Ski Discovery, MT that came from other ski areas including Park City, Sun Valley, Keystone, Mt. Bachelor and Ski Apache.

An interesting case study of the economics of used lifts is the 2014 replacement of the base-to-summit T-Bar at Camden Snow Bowl in Maine.  Because the ski area is owned by a municipality, the documents related to buying the lift are public record.  The ski area decided to purchase a 30-year old Riblet triple in 2010 from another Maine ski area for $120,000.  As the documents linked above show, the cost of buying the used lift paled in comparison to the costs involved with upgrading and re-installing it.  The Snow Bowl paid $30,000 for preliminary engineering and transportation from Shawnee Peak.  Another $260,000 went to buy a new haul rope, terminal supports and a new drive.  The largest expense was $350,000 to put the machine up.  By the time the project was finished more than two months behind schedule, the City of Camden spent more than $750,000 to re-install a 30-year old lift.  Was it the right decision?  Doppelmayr had argued against it and I suspect they were right but there’s no way to say for sure.  A new lift would have cost the town’s residents at least $1.5 million.

Camden Snow Bowl's new 30-year old Riblet chairlift.
Camden Snow Bowl’s new 30-year old Riblet chairlift.

Over the past few years, I’ve attempted to put more of the used lift puzzle together.  Sometimes resorts are proud to say when they are recycling a lift while others make no mention of where their “new” lift came from.  The below spreadsheet is a work in progress and if you can fill in any blanks or correct data please leave a comment.

View the list in full screen here.

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9 thoughts on “374 Lifts That Aren’t Where They Used to Be

  1. vons November 1, 2015 / 11:11 am

    Taos reused the old chair 1 for 7th Heaven, it is a Stedeli not a Pullman-berry, last I heard the old Kachina was sitting in the bone yard.

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    • Peter Landsman November 2, 2015 / 9:17 pm

      Thanks vons, I need to get to Taos and check out all of those Stadelis.

      Like

  2. skidv25 November 1, 2015 / 9:08 pm

    Wow, this was an amazing post. Thank you for all the effort you put into this blog. I have a couple questions…

    Is the current Jubilee lift at Ski Discovery, MT the old Ski Team lift from PCMR? (This seems to have been left off the spreadsheet.) If so, do you know where the triple chairs came from?

    You said the lift at Warner Canyon, OR is the old Carpenter from DV, but I thought DV used Carpenter to create Red Cloud and Crown Point. Do you know anything about this?

    Like

    • Peter Landsman November 2, 2015 / 9:15 pm

      Yes, the terminals and operator houses came from Park City. There are even some pictures out there of the new Jubilee still in Park City white with the Ski Team name. I’m guessing the chairs came from Deer Valley…perhaps Sterling. That lift went to Nordic Valley but only a fraction of the chairs were needed there. Peter Pitcher, the owner of Discovery has bought at least 7 different used lifts and probably has quite the boneyard.

      I have a copy of Yan’s official installation history and both Red Cloud and Crown point show as brand new lifts in 1990.

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  3. PCSkier13 November 2, 2015 / 11:55 pm

    Great effort! Looking forward to a possible update on Park City, love the blog though!

    Like

  4. Scott Reimels April 19, 2017 / 3:31 pm

    Pretty impressive research. I went through that list thinking I might be able to add something, but it looks like you have that thing built out pretty well!.
    Nice job.

    Like

  5. Cameron Halmrast April 20, 2017 / 6:13 pm

    I’m pretty sure that the old Doppelmayr high-speed quad from Blue Mountain, Ontario (replaced by a six-packed) ended up at Owl’s Head as well.

    Like

  6. Cameron Halmrast April 21, 2017 / 11:26 am

    In addition, for Willamette Pass, the old Summit double (RIblet) which ran from the base to the summit was relocated to be Sleepy Hollow back in the late 80s whenn the new Riblet triples were installed.

    Like

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