Public Comment Opens for Three Lift Crested Butte Expansion


Crested Butte Mountain Resort’s vision to add three lifts and 500 acres of intermediate and advanced terrain moved forward last Friday with the release of a Draft Environmental Impact Statement by the Gunnison National Forest.  Operated by Triple Peaks, LLC along with New England’s Okemo and Mt. Sunapee resorts, Crested Butte currently has a fleet of 12 lifts serving mostly beginner and expert terrain.  The 58 year-old mountain seeks to provide guests more intermediate and advanced options and improve skier circulation.  Triple Peaks owners Tim and Diane Mueller were previously blocked from building a five-lift, 2,000-acre expansion on neighboring Snodgrass Mountain in 2009.

Under the new plan, first proposed in 2015, one current lift would be replaced with two more added in an area called Teocalli 2 – far from Snodgrass and nearer current resort infrastructure.  The North Face lift, a Leitner T-Bar installed in 2004, would be removed and replaced with a much longer chairlift.  This fixed-grip quad would stretch around 5,000 feet with a capacity nearly twice that of the current surface lift.  The new lift was orignally envisioned to start between the East River and Paradise lifts but is now slated to load directly adjacent to Paradise.

Current Crested Butte trail map; the expansion would be mostly behind the expert terrain in the upper left corner.

A second new lift with the working name Teo Park would similarly top out at the summit of the North Face but rise from the Teo 2 drainage behind.  This fixed-grip triple would move 1,200 guests per hour with a slope length of 3,050′ and create a link between the proposed expansion area and the already-developed ski area front side.

The heart of the expansion lies lower in the west-facing Teo watershed, where a new high-speed or fixed-grip triple would span approximately 6,000 linear feet.  Capacity would be limited to 1,200 skiers per hour and only a handful of new intermediate runs cut, totaling 89 acres.  Most of the terrain – 434 acres – would be left as gladed skiing with select trees removed by helicopter.  This expansive zone would supplement the popular and sometimes overcrowded intermediate runs serviced by Paradise and East River.

Public comments for this major project will be accepted here until May 10th and the Forest Supervisor is expected to make a decision around October.  Implementation of approved elements could begin as early as 2019 and the Mueller family would likely sign with Leitner-Poma for any new lifts as they have for decades at Crested Butte, Okemo and Sunapee.


15 thoughts on “Public Comment Opens for Three Lift Crested Butte Expansion

  1. Ryan Murphy February 14, 2018 / 8:51 pm

    5000 ft. is pretty long for a fixed quad. If they don’t want the extra cost or attention from a high speed quad, I’d prefer to see a triple to help cut down on ride time.


    • Hansell Stedman February 17, 2018 / 10:38 am

      Are fixed grip triples able to run at a higher line speed than FG quads? Would the installation of a chairkit carpet or other carpet allow the lift to be run at a higher than normal line speed without needing to be detachable?


      • Michael February 17, 2018 / 1:30 pm

        Per ANSI B.77-1, a fixed grip triple chair can operate at 500 feet per minute(fpm) while a fixed grip quad chair can operate at 450 fpm. Technically, adding a loading conveyor does not allow you to increase lift speed because the requirement for line speed relates to both loading and unloading. If conveyors were added at loading and unloading, then the line speed for a fixed grip quad could be increased to 450 fpm + the speed of the conveyors which is 200 fpm maximum. Also, a conveyor requires a “access regulating device” or simply a Loading Gate. BUT if you operate at over 600 fpm you are also required to add a cable position detector on each sheave unit. $$$$ but still cheaper than a detachable.
        Hope this helps.


  2. Jonathan February 15, 2018 / 9:01 am

    Are they replacing Teocalli?


    • Peter Landsman February 15, 2018 / 9:06 am

      Not under the published plan. That could probably be done separately with expedited approval as a one for one replacement. Twister is gone from this year’s trail map and may never be replaced.


      • Jonathan February 15, 2018 / 9:24 am

        Is Twister being used anymore?


  3. Russ Fox February 15, 2018 / 9:30 am

    Crested Butte actually has 12 operating ski lifts: 4 high speed chairs, 6 fixed chairs and 2 high alpine t-bars. I like the proposal, but if they want to focus on intermediate terrain expansion then they should also include a new Teocalli express that extends from a much lower point. Same would go for Prospector, if they can. These (and most!) of the lifts at CB are short and slow. Extending these two lifts would bring the mountain together nicely.


  4. ALEX BOESENBERG February 15, 2018 / 10:33 am

    I think the proposal makes a ton of sense, but I think they need to make the new North Face and Teo drainage chairs high speed. They could limit the capacity like Aspen has done. Otherwise I think they will seriously regret not make these chairs detachables.


  5. Boardski February 18, 2018 / 7:08 pm

    That all sounds great but this season, none of those lifts would be able to open. Could there be something that could be done to open this terrain with less snow base? I like the idea of a triple with loading carpet for the upgraded North Face chair. Those fixed grip quads run way too slow and a detachable lift would bring too many people to the top of North Face who are in over their heads and end up getting injured and probably try to sue the resort because of it. I also would love to see an upgraded Teocalli lift, maybe with midsration where the top is now and top station at top of Twister.


  6. Boardski February 19, 2018 / 9:15 pm

    To answer the question about Twister lift, it is still standing, chairs still on the line and everything in tact. It has not been used in a few seasons and the bottom terminal has not been dug out which, unfortunately was much more noticeable last season than this season since Crested Butte currently has some of the worst conditions in the state right now. As much I would love to see all those new lifts go in this summer, the owners may want to monitor snowfall over the next few seasons to be sure the investment will be worth it. Seems better to have two cheaper T bars stand unused most of the season than a multi million dollar detachable lift and two additional aerial lifts… Hopefully the snowfall will pick up again and I will be able to experience the expansion while I am still young enough to enjoy it and others will too.


    • Jonathan March 24, 2018 / 7:48 am

      Thank you for our help! Do you know how long Twister has been “abandoned”


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