Mapping Mammoth’s Next New Lifts

America’s third most-skied resort could see a bunch of new lifts over the next decade following its purchase by a new company rivaling Vail Resorts.

“One hundred million dollars” is how Mammoth Mountain CEO Rusty Gregory responded when asked about capital improvements in the wake of the recent purchase of Mammoth Resorts by Aspen Skiing Co. and KSL Capital Partners this spring.  While I can’t find a comprehensive online version of the 2007 Mammoth Master Plan prepared by Ecosign, the vision includes 17 lift additions and replacements including up to four new gondola stages.  A vast majority of the changes are likely to be realignments and capacity upgrades of existing lifts rather than the opening of new terrain.  Still, the possibilities are exciting at this already monster mountain.


Mammoth currently operates the largest second largest lift fleet in the United States, with 27 machines averaging 27 years old.  All 14 lifts built before 1995 are Yan, while the 13 added post-1996 are exclusively Doppelmayr.  Remarkably, every lift Mammoth has built since 1998 has been detachable, 15 in a row with DT grips (the two Yan detachables got them in 1996.)  At some point, Mammoth’s impressive fleet commonality will have to end, but the streak may not be over just yet.

Mammoth Mountain’s current trail map showing 3,500 acres serviced by 27 lifts.

As Mr. Gregory said in April, a major goal is adding a second multi-stage gondola on the Canyon side of the mountain to mirror the popular twostage Panorama Gondola.   “Take Eagle Express and turn that into the gondola it is,” he told the local paper.  The second, longest stage would stretch from the top of the current Eagle to the summit of the new High Five Express.  A short but spectacular third stage would soar to the 11,060-foot summit, meeting Panorama Stage 2 and creating a five stage link.  An option in Ecosign’s plan adds a second stage to the 15-passenger Village Gondola from Canyon Lodge to the Eagle Gondola’s first mid-station, creating a seven-gondola network unmatched in North America.  Mammoth’s gondola goals raise some interesting technical questions – whether Eagle Express could be converted to a gondola and whether a second stage could be compatible with a 20-year old Village system.  I think the answer to both questions is yes, with caveats.

The new Eagle Gondola would have a truly unique profile with two mid-stations and two high spans along its 2.5- mile length.

Mammoth was relatively slow to join the six-pack club with only the Eagle Express and Cloud Nine Express built to date.  That is set to change, with the possibility remaining for Mammoth to build North America’s first eight-passenger chairlift(s.)  The mountain’s two Lift Engineering-turned-Doppelmayr machines – Canyon and Broadway – serve the hearts of their respective pods and are likely to be replaced sooner rather than later with higher-capacity models.  The 1997 Stump Alley Express is also poised to go big.

While a slew of Yan fixed-grips are due to be replaced, at least four will stay.  Some have already received upgrades, including this tower on the legendary Chair 23.

Chair 25 is planned to be replaced with a high-speed quad in a new alignment starting at the base of Cloud Nine.  High-speed quad replacements are also eyed for Chair 12 and Chair 14, both built in 1972 on the backside with the latter project a higher priority.  Chair 7 at Canyon could also go detachable to supplement the successful Schoolyard Express addition.  New, shorter beginner lifts are planned for the Main Lodge, Canyon Lodge and both ends of the Eagle Express.

Rendering from the perspective of the Village at Mammoth with planned new lifts in red.

Really the only all-new lift is a surface lift with a big turn on the cirque above Cloud Nine. There’s also a short new chairlift planned next to Stump Alley for skiers only seeking to return to the Main Lodge.

Chutes above Cloud Nine will become more easily-accessed with a new curved surface lift above Cloud Nine.

The multi-billion dollar Aspen-KSL-Mammoth-Intrawest deal is expected to close soon, paving the way for the first crop of capital investments in summer 2018.  My thoughts on the rest of the soon-to-be-acquired resorts are here, but you can bet that Mammoth Mountain will be near the top of any new lift agenda.

41 thoughts on “Mapping Mammoth’s Next New Lifts

  1. Philip Keeve July 10, 2017 / 11:34 am

    I thought Park City was the largest in the United States in terms of number of lifts. They have 40, right?


    • Peter Landsman July 10, 2017 / 11:39 am

      You’re right; 37 by my count. Old habits die hard like thinking of PC and Canyons as two separate resorts.


      • Anthony July 8, 2019 / 10:16 pm

        Nothing between OC and Canyons resembles a single resort. Even less so than Blackcomb Whistler. All the private estates in between- the connecting gondola is jus only that. St least at Whistler there’s a big Valley.


  2. Ryan July 10, 2017 / 4:17 pm

    Does Mammie operate the largest number of Yans?


    • Peter Landsman July 11, 2017 / 8:15 am

      Yes, Mammoth wins by far. These are all the mountains with 5+ Yans remaining:

      Mammoth Mountain 14
      Mt. Snow 9
      Snow Valley 9
      Squaw Valley 8
      Killington 7
      Kirkwood 7
      Copper Mountain 6
      Sierra at Tahoe 6
      Steamboat 6
      Alpine Meadows 5
      Brian Head 5
      Deer Valley 5
      Park City 5
      Sunrise Park 5


      • Max Hart July 12, 2017 / 4:15 pm

        Sunday River also has 5


      • Donald Reif July 8, 2019 / 11:20 pm

        The number of pure Yans in that group are much lower seeing as many of them have been modified by Doppelmayr or Poma in some form.


    • Michael July 13, 2017 / 7:03 am



  3. Ryan July 10, 2017 / 4:17 pm

    Great article as well, Peter. Thank you

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thomas Jett July 11, 2017 / 12:42 am

    Nice write up. I have a link to the 2007 master plan, but it’s really low-quality.

    The general gist is that 1, 2, and 16 become D6C’s. 10 isn’t in the plan, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they make that a D6C as well, to help flow at the end of the day. On 15 becoming a gondola: Rusty said in a town hall that it was originally designed as a D8G, so they might only need to change the cabins for that part of the upgrade.


  5. julestheshiba July 11, 2017 / 6:34 pm

    I am still waiting to hear more about KSLs plan for Squaw Valley


  6. Craig Remillard July 20, 2017 / 3:08 am

    Ugh, Mammoth doesn’t need more lifts on the same real estate. It needs more lifts on more real estate. Crowds there are obscene, parking is atrocious, on storm/wind days the terrain is cut in half or worse, and fresh tracks are gone 20 minutes after lifts open. I don’t understand how the mountain saw themselves being penned in on all sides with the Wilderness Act over the last 40 years and not try to fight it? I’m pretty sure the story of Wilderness areas in a century will be how a noble idea got hijacked by few rich white people who managed to finagle the rest of us out of some of the greatest land on the continent so they could have it to themselves. If you’re not wealthy enough to fly to Salt Lake or Tahoe every other weekend, screw you I guess.


    • Carol October 14, 2017 / 8:52 pm

      Huh? Crazy remark. At least Mammoth is open until July or August most years. Vail is under permit and MUST shut down about the 3rd week of April even if there is a TON of snow still left. And the crowds at Mammoth are WAY less than back in the 1950s-1980s. Go google photos- the wait was over 45 minutes on a lot of lifts- particularly Chairs 16 and 5. Chair 3 used to have HUGE lines and there is no line there at all now. And what does race have to do with this?


      • RMurphy October 16, 2017 / 2:10 am

        The whole permit thing is not actually true. It’s just the areas excuse to close, as to not lose money. Abasin, Bird and several of the other super late closure mountains are all USFS land. If Vail wanted to they could stay open later.


        • Peter Landsman October 16, 2017 / 6:52 am

          The Back Bowls at Vail do have a specific Elk-related closure April 15-June 15. But in general, mountains can open whenever they want to.


  7. Matt July 20, 2017 / 11:23 pm

    Great article, Peter!

    From what I’ve heard the beginner lift at Eagle Lodge will likely be one of the first projects to be completed from that master plan. (Other than Chair 5).

    The Eagle-Summit Gondola poses many challenges and I’ve never heard any mention of it around the mountain. While Chair 15 was overbuilt with the option to be easily converted to a gondola —
    long UNI-G terminals, large-diameter sheaves, and fully symmetrical line uphill and downhill allowing for full capacity downloading — extending it upwards to the summit seems hardly feasible. Most notably, the prevailing winds will likely be prohibitive to its alignment. Section 2 of the Panorama Gondola is fairly well protected (especially considering it being over 200 feet above ground) and the SW wind tends to blow straight down the line which allows it to stay open (albeit at 3 m/s or less) when many other lifts across the mountain cannot. Sections 2 and 3 of the Eagle Gondola will be subject to violent crosswinds. Additionally, the alignment would have the gondola reach the actual summit of Mammoth Mountain, subjecting it to even more severe winds. The top station of the Panorama Gondola is tucked away on the side of the mountain some 30 feet below the summit. Weather considerations aside, it just doesn’t make too much sense from a skier’s point of view. The Eagle Lodge side is dominated by beginners. Whereas intermediate skiers and riders can take Road Runner from the top to Main Lodge, there is only advanced and expert terrain leading towards Eagle Lodge. And plus considering how fast Mammoth gets tracked out already, is doubling the capacity to the top really a good idea?


    • Amiee October 14, 2017 / 8:54 pm

      The snow on Chairs 15 and 25 is often terrible since it gets the most sun- always mushy and poorly marked runs over there. Eagle “Lodge” is a dump too. Would like to see more outdoor eating areas! Back in the 80s and 90s you could eat on the roof of Warming Hut II (now Canyon Lodge) and Mid-Chalet (now McCoy Station).


    • Ron November 26, 2017 / 8:36 pm

      Chair 5 was just replaced around 6 years ago? I think in 2011? I don’t think any chairs need to be replaced except 7, 8, 11, 12, 13, 14 but they should not have removed Chair 18 in the early 90s? They need to definitely add more chairs on the right side of the mountain (where 12 is now) and the back side needs to be developed! The Mill is so small and crowded it’s useless other than going to pee there


  8. Amiie October 14, 2017 / 8:17 pm

    Mammoth does NOT have 27 lifts- it has 22!!! Five chair lifts and two t-bars have actually be totally removed the past 10-20 years- Chairs 18, 19, 24, 26, 27 (supposedly ran next to Chair 11 briefly) have vanished. (Chair 20 by Chair 4 is NEVER open) and Chair 21 hidden to the left of Chair 10 is also rarely open. I think Mammoth made a HUGE mistake removing Chairs 18 and 19. Skiing down from the top of the “new-ish” Chair 10 down to the bottom, there is an awkward flat area now where the old Chair 10 and 18 were. The terrain is now awkward having to push to Chair 10/The Mill.


    • Peter Landsman October 14, 2017 / 8:46 pm

      While the you correctly list the lifts that have been removed, the total still stands at 27 (26 if you count Panorama I and II separately.) I took all the below pictures on a Monday last April and Chair 21 was open. I was pretty impressed they had 26 of 27 lifts spinning on a weekday after many resorts had already closed.


    • Maxwell Uguccioni February 20, 2019 / 4:56 pm

      Chair 20 was open last week


    • John March 15, 2022 / 11:55 am

      This is the map that you’re looking for, from 1995. A lot of fixed grip lifts, and some alignment that I don’t recall. This would have been the good old slow days on the mountain.

      This must have been peak lift count, showing 18, 19, 24, 26, and 27. Pre Eagle lodge, and in the 619 area code (after 714 and before 760).


  9. Amiie October 14, 2017 / 8:35 pm

    I’ve been skiing at Mammoth Mt. since 1975. Now that Aspen owns Mammoth, watch your current ticket go to like $180 per day by 2019. They will lose customers and families with kids will stop going. When Canyons Resort and Park City Resort (Utah) got bought and 3 years ago, they combined the resort with a gondola (that is often closed even when the winds are light) and DOUBLED the ticket prices. It’s huge now. I remember how crowded Mammoth used to be, especially in the 1980s when they still had the slow double chairs and lift tickets weren’t that much. The past 15 years, there are WAY less people due to high ticket prices now. There seemed to be way more kids and teens back in the 1980s. It’s outrageous that ZERO upgrades have been done to Chairs 8, 7, 12, 13, 14 in the past 45 years. The backside of Mammoth (13/14) is awesome, but the double chair lifts are ridiculously slow and seem dangerous. The backside needs to be developed! Chair 7 and 8 are a nightmare- they barely move and it’s too bad since good terrain. It was also stupid that chairs 18 and 19 were removed- there is a big gap in that area. They need to add a lot of new chairs between chairs 11 and 12. Getting from Chair 12 back to Main Lodge sucks. The “push”from the bottom of chair 12 to Main Lodge is a nightmare. I wish they would also change back the name of STUPID “Canyon Lodge” to the original “Warming Hut II” and stick the “Woolly” logo back on the building rather than the dumb “M.” Why is it called “Canyon” when there is no canyon there? I don’t want to see any improvements on the Eagle Lodge side. The snow is usually bad over there and the terrain isn’t marked well. Also- The horrendous Mammoth Mountain Inn should be completely torn down. We usually stay at the Westin in “The Village” but we stayed at the Inn about 6 years ago. A total dump! No AC, room like a WWII bunker, so gross. Also- back in the late 80s and early 90s, you could eat on the roof of Canyons Lodge and McCoy. “The Mill” by Chair 10 sucks- it’s way too small. Should be torn down and a much larger eating place be put in. I also wish Mammoth would enforce the NO SMOKING policy and stop serving alcohol. A drunk skier ran into my ski pole and broke it in half and almost killed my kid. And June Mountain has great views, but it sucks! It’s like a 1960s time machine. It’s too bad Aspen doesn’t buy that and really develop June.


    • Mark Richards March 28, 2019 / 2:48 am

      Wow! Nice rant. Not a single positive thing from you Negative Nancy. Seems like you need to go ski somewhere else, as Mammoth has nothing to offer you. Vail, Aspen or Deer Valley seem like your type of Mtn. Hope you find happiness someday. Peace.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Donald M. Reif March 28, 2019 / 8:04 am

      The alcohol thing…well, you know, the servers at the various establishments are taught to cut people off and not overserve them as per what the law requires.


    • walt October 23, 2020 / 9:29 am

      Chair 7 is slow because it is a beginner lift. There is no reason for an advanced skier to ever use that lift because you can’t get anywhere from it that you can’t from chair 16 and the only runs are green’s and blues. Chair 8 is pretty fast for a non-detachable, every time I get on it the chair slams against my back because it’s so fast.


    • John March 15, 2022 / 11:44 am

      The projection of the daily lift ticket price was quite on the nose. The walk up ticket price this week (March 14, 2022) is $179. The weekend price, on a pretty dry season, is $199.


  10. Amiee October 14, 2017 / 9:02 pm

    Anyone have photos of the old Chairs 18, 19, 26 and 27 and the people mover monorail that was briefly in front of the Main Lodge? We have a photo of the track, but none with the “toaster” on it. Seems like Chair 27 was only there a few months? I know a lot of people miss 18 and 19!


  11. Ron November 26, 2017 / 8:26 pm

    The back side of Mammoth needs to be developed more (where chairs 13 and 14 are now). Chairs 12, 13, 14 are so old and extremely slow. There needs to be non-stop flights from San Diego to Mammoth (like a flight that leaves 7 a.m. and departs Mammoth at 5 p.m.). Yes, the Mammoth Mountain Inn (was that developed by Dave McCoy) is a dump and should be completely torn down with a modern hotel with AC and rooms facing the slopes built. There is also NOTHING to do in Mammoth after skiing. Park City Utah has a zip line and Alpine coaster right on the ski hill, and kids snow mobiles close by.


    • Bonzo the Chimp December 2, 2018 / 6:35 pm

      How about a gondola from the Ronald Reagan Library to McCoy Station? Elon Musk could build it.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. McCoy February 7, 2019 / 9:02 am

    How about a gondola from Mammoth to June!


  13. Johan October 16, 2019 / 2:00 pm

    Does anyone know if Chair 5 was a Yan lift?


    • Donald Reif October 16, 2019 / 3:34 pm

      Just like all the other triples.


  14. Johan October 16, 2019 / 2:47 pm

    Also in regards to Chair 5, does anyone recall the numbering on the old chairs?


  15. Donald Reif October 16, 2019 / 3:56 pm

    12 and 14 really should be upgraded to HSQs. Maybe a fixed grip quad for 13. I think 22 should also get an HSQ.


  16. Kirk October 16, 2019 / 4:26 pm

    Think first old chair 5 was a Hunsinger, then a Yan double with overhead drive and Kissling gearbox and next upgrade was the Yan triple Bullwheel loading 475 gearbox.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Norman Anderson January 10, 2021 / 8:41 am

    A chair where the old t bars use to be that started up from chair 1 and stopped with access to chair 23 would be a plus.

    Also, I’ve skied 40 resorts in North and South America. Mammoth is still my favorite because of length of season.

    Im retired and in Puerto Vallarta now going thru skiing withdrawals, I need a direct flight


    • matthewberry6 October 21, 2022 / 5:39 pm

      1 to 23 is downhill, I don’t understand what a tbar would do there.


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