Intrawest announced in its second quarter earnings call today that Steamboat will get its 8th detachable lift this summer, a high speed quad replacing the Elkhead chair. The new lift will better serve beginner and low-intermediate skiers. Intrawest CEO Tom Marano noted, “Elkhead services a high-volume area of the mountain and facilitates lunchtime and end-of-day egress from the popular beginner and intermediate terrain pods on the south side of the mountain. The increased speed and capacity of this new lift will substantially improve the guest experience at Steamboat.”
Elkhead is a Yan fixed-grip quad built in 1984 with newer Doppelmayr line equipment. At just under 2,500 feet, the current 5.8 minute lift ride will be cut to just 2.5 minutes with a detachable quad. The existing chair rises 707 vertical feet at 425 feet/minute. No word yet on which manufacturer will build the Elkhead Express but Leitner-Poma built the Christie Peak Express for Steamboat in 2007 and the Wildhorse Gondola in 2009. This is the second major lift announcement from Colorado in recent weeks; Vail announced in December it’s replacing Chair 17 with a detachable quad this summer. With stellar snow across the west, it might be a busy one for lift manufacturers.