Sunday River announced this morning a $2.1 million Doppelmayr fixed-grip triple will replace the Spruce Peak triple, where a terminal literally fell over last month. Willis MountainGuard and Boyne Resorts deemed the lift a loss after suspected grout failure sent the top station sliding from the bedrock it was anchored to the weekend of July 9th. The 1986 Borvig triple was Sunday River’s second oldest lift and the new version will re-use its new Chairkit loading conveyor. Doppelmayr will also replace the top terminal of Sunday River’s other Borvig triple on Locke Mountain.
Exactly when the new lift will open is unclear. Doppelmayr already has a packed summer building 17 lifts across the US and Canada. In the meantime, most of Spruce Peak can be accessed from the Chondola and Aurora lifts.
This is far from the first (and won’t be the last) late-season lift replacement after unexpected disaster. On June 11, 2012, a wildfire burned through Ski Apache in New Mexico, damaging two chairlifts and a gondola. The Native American tribe that owns the mountain announced a $15 million deal with Doppelmayr on September 5th and three new lifts were completed by January.
Lightning struck the Governor’s Express at Marble Mountain, Newfoundland on August 8th, 2014, burning a terminal and sending the haul rope to the ground in similar fashion to Spruce Peak. After a few weeks of study, repairing the lift was deemed unfeasible and the provincial government chipped in $3.5 million for a new lift in late September. Leitner-Poma built through the fall and winter and a new high speed quad dubbed Lighting Express opened in March 2015.
A fire tore through the drive station of TGV at Mont Tremblant October 12, 2014, just two months after the fire at Marble Mountain. Leitner-Poma took components from the Governor’s Express’ un-burned drive terminal to get TGV back running by Christmas. Much of the rest of the Governor’s Express returned to Colorado and later became the Flat Top Flyer at Powderhorn.
The moral of the story is lift manufacturers work with their customers to get lifts repaired or replaced as quickly as possible when incidents happen, no matter what time of year. In Sunday River’s case, quick assessment and a decision on Spruce Peak could mean the new lift will be ready sometime this winter.