Skytrac to Replace Aging Chairlifts at Mt. Baker and Mt. Hood Meadows

Chair 7 at Mt. Baker is 27 years old and slated to be replaced with a Skytrac quad chair this summer.

For the first time, Skytrac has posted lift projects in advance of construction on its “A Skytrac Near You” page, revealing two older fixed-grip lifts in the Pacific Northwest will be replaced this off season.


At Mt. Baker, Washington, the Chair 7 fixed-grip quad will be removed and swapped with a modern, galvanized 250-horsepower Skytrac quad.  Seven is 2,349′ long and rises 579′ out of the White Salmon base area.  Although only middle-aged by North American standards, the 1990 quad chair is a so-called “orphaned lift” as a late-model Riblet.  Keep an eye out for its sister ship, Chair 8, to also be up for replacement in the next few years.  Mt. Baker’s four newer Doppelmayr CTEC fixed-grip models should be safe for years to come, as long as the ski area holds out on building a detachable.  Keep in mind, any lift decision at Baker weighs the fact that lifts run on diesel fuel full time.  The new seven will be Skytrac’s third project in Washington, following on the heels of a new Chair 6 at Crystal Mountain and Rampart at The Summit at Snoqualmie.

The short Buttercup double at Mt. Hood Meadows will also be replaced with a fixed-grip quad chair.

Five volcanoes to the south, Skytrac apparently also won the bidding to swap the Buttercup beginner double chair with a 100-horsepower Monarch fixed-grip quad at Mt. Hood Meadows.  Yan built the existing double chair in 1979, making it Meadows’ fourth oldest lift.  Buttercup is only 920’x 122′ and has height adjustable terminals at both ends.  The new lift will be Skytrac’s first in Oregon.

Skytrac Lifts, acquired by Leitner-Poma in April, specializes in building sub-500 horsepower fixed-grip chairlifts at its facility in Salt Lake City.  These two new quad chairs will be the company’s 27th and 28th complete lifts, following its best year ever supplying eight lifts in 2016.  We’ll likely see more additions to the Skytrac project page as the spring progresses and you can keep up on all of North America’s new lift projects for 2017 here.  Notably absent from Skytrac’s list is Bridger Bowl’s Virginia City replacement project.

19 thoughts on “Skytrac to Replace Aging Chairlifts at Mt. Baker and Mt. Hood Meadows

  1. Dhowe February 27, 2017 / 8:51 pm

    How many ski areas are off the grid in addition to baker?


    • Peter Landsman February 27, 2017 / 8:57 pm

      Lost Trail is. Kirkwood no longer is. Others have individual lift pods that are. Hidden Valley and Rampart at Snoqualmie’s Hyak, Haul Back and Polar Peak at Fernie, Crystal at Sun Peaks to name a few.


      • JT February 27, 2017 / 9:08 pm

        Mt Bohemia in MI also runs its lifts on diesel generators

        Liked by 1 person

      • Dhowe February 28, 2017 / 8:38 am

        Thanks. Hard to imagine in this day and age


  2. Will February 27, 2017 / 8:54 pm

    Has Bridger announced a manufacturer yet?


  3. texarc February 27, 2017 / 9:09 pm

    I’m kind of surprised to learn that the driving power for any chair lift can be less than 500 horsepower. It’ud be neat if some time you could provide an overview of the typical lift power requirements. I gather they are similar to locomotives – they run a diesel engine that generates electricity to power electric motors which have greater torque? What’s the range of power requires for chair lifts and for gondolas?


    • Peter Landsman February 27, 2017 / 9:32 pm

      The smallest chairlifts only require 15 horsepower! If you look through the lift database on this site, it ranges widely from as little as 3 HP for surface tows to 2,000 for the Sunshine Village gondola. Most lifts use electric power from the grid and have one or more diesels that couple as backup.

      Liked by 1 person

      • texarc February 28, 2017 / 4:59 pm

        Dumb question – Crested Butte not in the database?


        • Peter Landsman February 28, 2017 / 5:11 pm

          I haven’t been there to take pictures yet.


        • texarc February 28, 2017 / 5:41 pm

          Go in the spring. ;) MUCH warmer. I did Colorado Outward Bound just north of there, then returned the following years in the summer by hitch-hiking up to Gunnison from south Texas, then up to CB, and hiked up and around, ending up in Aspen. Recall one nice winter morning at the base lift in Crested Butte at opening time, the thermometer was 30 below or so. I was rocking the neoprene bellbottoms with Hansen boots, all usually very warm, and I still whined a lot…. ;)


    • Michael February 28, 2017 / 4:47 pm

      Ski Lifts also use a gear reducer or gearbox. With an electric motor inputting XX HP at 1700 rpms the reducer might be 100:1 which would give you an out put (shaft is connected to the bullwheel) of 17 rpm’s. A triple lift having a 13′ dia. bullwheel spinning at 17 rpm’s give you about 500 feet per minute rope speed.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Ryan February 27, 2017 / 10:55 pm

    Congrats to Skytrac, they seem to have found a nice niche here and have built upon early success to establish themselves.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Ryan February 28, 2017 / 9:57 pm

        I need to take a trip up there to see that one. Very impressive! Great photos as well, Peter!


  5. Todd Arnold February 28, 2017 / 2:36 pm

    Why does Baker run the lifts on diesel fuel?


    • Peter Landsman February 28, 2017 / 3:29 pm

      They are completely off the power grid. No outside water or sewer service either.


  6. John Smith April 9, 2017 / 1:26 pm

    To add a few more details to this post, Mt. Hood Meadows is saying that this lift will be re-aligned to open up a decent amount of new beginner terrain. They have also stated it will feature a loading carpet/conveyor at the bottom terminal. Personally, I think a loading carpet on a beginner lift like this one will cause more trouble than it’s worth, but I would love to be proven wrong.


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