Mt. Baker Swaps a Riblet for a Skytrac

Mt. Baker Ski Area’s new Chair 7 is the first on the mountain with an electric prime mover.

Replacing a fixed-grip quad with another fixed-grip quad might not seem like much of a change, but Mt. Baker took a significant step forward this summer building an all-new Chair 7 with loads of upgrades.  The only lift out of the White Salmon base area is now a Skytrac, the first for this Pacific Northwest favorite with seven fixed-grip quads.

The Riblet Chair 7 opened in 1990 to serve an eastward expansion along with Chair 8 in 1992.  The last of Baker’s seven Riblets went in for the 2001-02, the second to last Riblet lift built anywhere in the world.  Beginning the following year, a series of four Doppelmayr CTEC quad chairs replaced lifts 1, 3, 5 and 6.  All of these lifts were powered directly with diesel engines.

As General Manager Duncan Howat outlines in the above video, the new lift has whole bunch of advantages, including:

  • A large new generator provides power to the entire White Salmon base area, including Chair 7.
  • The lift can move at a variable speed up to 450 fpm.
  • Chairs are wider and more comfortable than the old ones with the first restraining bars at Mt. Baker.
  • The system spins counterclockwise instead of clockwise for hopefully better operation during high winds.

6 thoughts on “Mt. Baker Swaps a Riblet for a Skytrac

  1. Ryan October 30, 2017 / 12:31 pm

    Nice to see them join the electric revolution. Where was the last Riblet installed?


  2. Cameron Halmrast October 30, 2017 / 1:14 pm

    Out of curiosity, what happened to the Riblet quad that was replaced this year?


  3. Daniel October 30, 2017 / 2:50 pm

    How can a spinning direction influence the operational availability during high winds?


    • pbropetech December 9, 2019 / 12:24 pm

      If you have the light side (the empty chairs going downhill) on the windward side of the lift, the chairs are more likely to hit towers or guidage during a strong gust. If you put the light side on the opposite side from the wind, the chairs will tend to swing away from the towers.


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