Vermont’s Woodstock Inn & Resort unveiled plans Thursday for a new quad chairlift at its Suicide Six Ski Area. Normally this wouldn’t be a big deal, but it marks the first (and possibly only) major lift project in the Northeast United States for 2016. Over the last ten seasons, Northeastern ski resorts have built an average of ten new lifts each year, testament to this year’s huge departure from normal in the wake of a rough winter.
The new Lift #1 will replace a 1975 Borvig double and be built by Leitner-Poma of America. The Laurance S. Rockefeller Fund will foot the bill for the $1.5 million project. The Rockefeller Family’s RockResorts once owned Suicide Six and the Woodstock Inn and spun them off as the nonprofit Woodstock Foundation in the 1980s. Vail Resorts bought RockResorts in 2001.
The 2000′ Borvig double chair being replaced closed in February after the ski area found tower cracks following the Timberline, WV crossarm failure. Although the two lifts’ towers were of different design, the State of Vermont ordered inspections of all Borvig-brand lifts. The new quad will be Suicide Six’s first new lift since Poma built the 1,600′ chairlift way back in 1978. The mountain first opened for skiing in 1936 and currently has two double chairs, a J-Bar and 24 trails.
Woodstock President and General Manager Gary Thulander said in a news release, “We recognized the need to upgrade this chairlift as part of the long-term support of the regional ski community including local schools, season pass holders, the Woodstock Ski Runners program, and visiting skiers. Increased chair capacity means a dramatic upgrade to the overall experience of the mountain by all levels of skiers, racers and snowboarders.” Removal of the old chair is already underway.
This is Leitner-Poma’s eighth new lift project for 2016, up from seven last year. With this news from Suicide Six and other recent announcements, the total new lift count for North America stands at 39, up 11 percent from last summer’s 35.