Revealed in a surprise March announcement, Snowbasin Resort will debut its fifth detachable lift this winter on a slope rich with history. As chronicled in an awesome blog post, the upcoming Wildcat Express replaces a 1973 Thiokol, which itself replaced parallel Constam single and American Cableways double chairs. When the Holding family invested massively to build a new base area, two gondolas, a high-speed quad and aerial tramway in the 1998 run up to the Olympics, all of Snowbasin’s old lifts were left in place. Ten years later, Littlecat was swapped for a Doppelmayr detachable quad and now it’s Wildcat’s turn.
Like the Littlecat Express next door, Wildcat Express will be a green and white Doppelmayr Uni-G with torsion grips. The six-place chairs will feature slats rather than backrests for wind resistance along the relatively exposed profile. The new haul rope is manufactured by Redaelli and the lift will whisk 2,400 skiers an hour to Middle Bowl in just six minutes. Most components have arrived at Snowbasin and the Doppelmayr crew is working six days a week towards completion.
The alignment is somewhat different from the old and features two depression towers out of 17 total towers with a rise of 1,290 feet and a nearly mile-long run. The tension return terminal is being assembled now while concrete footings are in place for the drive station up top. The old Thiokol towers were flown out along with new concrete in August and a Black Hawk will return in a few weeks to fly the shiny new ones. Old Wildcat was recycled.
A big snowmaking investment on nearby trails such as Blue Grouse, Herbert’s, Eas-a-long and Wildcat Bowl is also underway with 38 new Super Polecat fan guns from SMI joining the fleet. Rounding out this summer’s capital improvements at Snowbasin, the Allen Peak Tram will gain an intermediate tower to improve snow clearance. The resort has been posting updates and you can also view live streaming webcams at both Wildcat terminals. I will be back come winter to check out all the latest upgrades to this Olympic-worthy mountain.