Beech Mountain Adding Two Doppelmayr Quads

Beech Mountain, North Carolina will replace two of its workhorse chairlifts ahead of the 2018/2019 winter season as had been rumored for weeks.  Lift 5, which ascends to the 5,506-foot summit and was originally built in 1987, is currently being disassembled in preparation for the installation of a new Doppelymayr fixed-grip quad.  The new lift will include a loading conveyor to ensure safe boarding, higher travel speeds and shorter trip times.  Lift 5 will now include 144 chairs with a 6.5 minute ride time accommodating 2,400 people per hour.

This marks only the second time in North American history that a fixed-grip chairlift will replace a detachable one, though there could be more in the near future.  Sugarbush, Vermont swapped the 1990 Green Mountain Express for a fixed quad in 1995, though the route went detachable again in 2002.  Willamette Pass, Oregon’s detachable six-pack is currently up for sale, eyed to be replaced with a fixed-grip lift that would be more affordable to operate.  A used T-Bar may also rise this summer at Ascutney, Vermont on the site of a former high-speed quad.  If Tamarack, Idaho is ever able to rebuild the Wildwood Express, it could be another detachable-turned-fixed-grip scenario.

Back to Beech, Lift 6, currently a double chair with parts from Goforth Brothers, Hall and Doppelmayr, will be replaced with another Doppelmayr fixed-grip quad.  This one will feature 106 chairs and a 6.5 minute travel time with a capacity of 2,000 people per hour.  Both quad lifts will feature footrests, upholstered seating and back rests.  Guests can now expect to reach the mountain’s 5,506-foot summit with easy on-and-off loading, comfortable seating, and a more efficient layout to eliminate congestion.


21 thoughts on “Beech Mountain Adding Two Doppelmayr Quads

  1. Misha Flynn March 27, 2018 / 10:21 am

    I think it might be the only detachable with lattice towers in the US.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Peter Landsman March 27, 2018 / 11:55 am

      I think you are right. Crazy that before the high-speed quad, it was a detachable gondola. Carlevaro-Savio “skis on” style from 1967-1987.


      • jaytrem March 27, 2018 / 8:18 pm

        I guess you could count Mount Snows Gondola 2/Ego Alley as a detachable replaced by a fixed grip. Oddly enough it’s the same type “gondola” that Beech had. It also uses most of the original towers.


      • JJ Upton March 30, 2018 / 10:29 am

        From what can be seen on this video of ski beech from 1980, The gondola was actually converted to a fixed grip double prior to being replaced. It is shown at 7:30 in the video.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. reaperskier March 27, 2018 / 10:40 am

    Why would Beech replace a high speed quad with a fixed grip quad? It would make more sense to replace it with a high speed quad or a high speed six. Unless the new quad will eventually be converted to a detachable, then it would make more sense to replace lift 5 with a detachable.


    • Peter Landsman March 27, 2018 / 10:46 am

      Quoting from a Seattle Times article about the Tamarack case:

      “Chris Kirk, the Tamarack homeowner who organized the smaller lift’s purchase, said the terms of a Wildwood Express deal just never added up. Bank of America wanted millions for a lift that, even once it was running again, would likely continue to cost operators around $100,000 annually while adding nothing to revenue. Better let it go, Kirk advised Tamarack’s 389 homeowners. “At the end of the day, I crunched a bunch of numbers … It just didn’t make sense,” Kirk, a Tamarack Municipal Association board member, told the AP, adding he favors Tamarack eventually installing a slower “fixed-grip” lift that costs less to maintain on remaining lift tower foundations.”

      North Carolina can be a tough place to run a ski resort and 1987 was a different era than 2018.


      • reaperskier March 27, 2018 / 10:53 am

        That makes sense, Peter. The detachable at Beech was too short anyway. It would better fit a fixed grip quad.


  3. V3 March 27, 2018 / 10:52 am

    Money, detachable lifts are expensive to buy and to maintain. The fixed grip lift will move the same number of people as a detachable but keep more people in the air at any given time making a little resort seem less crowded. I bet they got the pair for the same price or less than one detachable.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Josh P March 27, 2018 / 1:50 pm

    What’s the maximum speed with a loading conveyor?


    • Thomas Jett March 27, 2018 / 2:22 pm

      I’d imagine 3m*s^-1 (300ft/min), but I vaguely remember something higher than that on certain expert lifts.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Michael March 27, 2018 / 3:05 pm

      Maximum speed with only a loading conveyor is still 450fpm. The speed can only increase if there are conveyors at both ends.
      The Loading conveyor will give them increased efficiencies IF staffed properly. MHO


      • Josh P. March 27, 2018 / 6:50 pm

        Ok, I didn’t think about both ends! Makes sense though.


  5. Daniel March 27, 2018 / 8:32 pm

    They claim a .7 mile ride (based on the old Quad alignment, and Google’s ruler tool) in 6.5 minutes. They need a 550 fpm speed, or that ballpark, to make it in time.


  6. Brendan Graffeo March 28, 2018 / 12:20 am

    What are the thoughts on the loading conveyor? Do the numbers show it actually increases efficiency because I seem to have observed the opposite?


  7. Cameron Halmrast March 30, 2018 / 12:11 am

    I have attached a link to a 360 degree video of Lift 5 (The former HSQ). The carrier spacing is huge. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s hourly capacity was 1,000.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Peter Landsman March 30, 2018 / 7:25 am

      Capacity when constructed was 2,400 and speed 1,000 fpm. It sounds like chairs were later removed and the speed often turned down in recent years.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Peter Landsman April 6, 2018 / 2:54 pm

    Two more areas once served by detachable quads but now fixed-grip only are Home Run at Silver Star and High Country at Waterville Valley. Both now serviced by T-Bars!


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