Leitner-Poma is building a big new lift in Little Cottonwood Canyon this summer, the company’s first in the Beehive State since 1997. Alta Ski Area created a brand around being old school but the new Supreme high-speed quad will showcase the latest technology from Grand Junction and beyond. The new lift will bring detachable access to nearly all of Alta’s terrain and will be Leitner-Poma’s first lift to make a turn using canted sheaves rather than an angle station (there must be something in Utah’s water because Supreme will be the state’s fourth lift to make such turns of varying degrees for various reasons.) Alta Ski Area worked with LPOA and the Forest Service on an alignment that effectively replaces both the Cecret and Supreme lifts while reducing impacts to wetlands and surrounding forests in exchange for expedited approval. As I saw yesterday, it’s all coming together nicely.
The rugged Point Supreme is abuzz with construction. The new lift’s first few towers follow a direct path from the future drive station near Alf’s Restaurant to the former Supreme bottom terminal. Just above the old station site, a series of three closely-spaced towers achieve the necessary line turn. From here, the lift jogs steeply up, mirroring the former triple chair. Two Yan tower tubes near the summit still stand
and might be re-used with new tower heads. Update 9/14/17: All 16 towers will be new.
Most of the new lift has already arrived from Colorado with the exception of the drive platform, operator houses, tower tubes, chairs and grips. A handful of tower footings still need to be finished but despite tricky access, surrounding wetlands, a popular hiking trail, private homes and a campground in the way, the project appears to be on schedule. The old Yans look to be headed for new homes.
All told, the new Supreme will be 5,030 feet long with more than 1,200′ of vertical and around 18 towers. Alta’s master plan initially envisioned an angle station along the old Cecret line, but the Collins-like solution was eventually scrapped in favor of one stage with a bend to avoid passing over private land. While there won’t be a beginner lift above Alf’s anymore, intermediate and advanced skiers are going to love the nonstop ride to some of Alta’s finest terrain.