Sixty-seven, five, zero. Those are the numbers of lifts built in the state of Utah by Doppelmayr, Skytrac and Leitner-Poma since 1998, respectively. Nevertheless, a Leitner-Poma high-speed quad will replace both the Cecret and Supreme chairlifts at Alta this summer, further modernizing the famed Wasatch ski area’s lift fleet.
Like the Collins lift, the new Supreme will feature an angle change and rise from Alf’s Restaurant to near 10,600-foot Point Supreme. “Detachable technology gives us greater control over skiers delivered per hour, while at the same time giving our skiers a shorter ride time,” notes Alta GM Onno Wieringa. Unlike Collins, the lift will turn 8.4 degrees using canted tower sheaves instead of an angle station. In place of the Garaventa CTEC Stealths and Doppelmayr Uni-Gs so ubiquitous in the Wasatch, Supreme will sport Leitner-Poma LPA terminals manufactured in Grand Junction.
The news is huge for Utah, the third largest lift market in America but one nearly devoid of competition since the 2002 merger of Doppelmayr and CTEC. Of 138 operating lifts in the Beehive State, Doppelmayr or companies it acquired built 98 of them. Second for market share in Utah with 27 operating lifts still belongs to Lift Engineering, out of business since 1996. Salt Lake-based Skytrac arrived on scene in 2011, installing a handful of lifts at PowMow, Sundance and Beaver Mountain, but never joined the detachable lift game before being acquired by Leitner-Poma last spring. Poma last built lifts in Utah at The Canyons in 1997, apparently because neither Doppelmayr nor Garaventa CTEC could fulfill American Skiing Company’s massive order for eight new lifts that year. The Cottonwood Canyons are chock full of Doppelmayr and CTEC lifts and only four Pomas remain in the entire state, until next fall.
The new Supreme will be 5,030 feet long with approximately 22 towers. Cecret, a 1981 Yan double and Supreme, a 1992 Yan triple originally located at Sugarloaf, will both be retired but may find homes elsewhere as desirable used lifts. Leitner-Poma and Skytrac’s combined project count now stands at 13 with Doppelmayr at 14. As LPOA President Rick Spear told Companyweek a few weeks ago, “We both fight for every project.”
The rest of Alta Ski Area’s master plan remains under review by the United States Forest Service, including a Sunnyside combination lift, Flora chairlift to Germania Ridge, Baldy aerial tram and a high-speed replacement for Wildcat. In the meantime, congratulations to Alta and Leitner-Poma on commencing this big first phase. Construction will begin April 17th, the day after Alta closes for the season.
Update 4/3/17: I’ve learned the angle station that was initially planned for beginner offloading was eliminated and the 8.4 degree angle change will instead be accomplished over numerous towers. I’ve updated the post above to reflect this change. For more on these types of turns, see this post.