Two of the five biggest American ski areas without detachable lifts will leave the club this year. They are Loveland and Taos, both coincidentally adding bright blue Leitner-Poma high speed quads to serve as out-of-base workhorses. Along the Continental Divide at Loveland, the newly-named Chet’s Dream is the third chairlift to follow the Lift 1 line, carrying on the legacy of a Heron double and later a Lift Engineering triple. Family-owned Loveland ordered this lift early as 1 is usually among the first in the country to open for skiing in October. “It’s a big deal for both us and our guests,” Marketing & Communications Director John Sellers told me when I visited last week. “This lift will be in operation for the next few decades and we are excited to offer the increased speed and reliability to our customers for years to come.” With towers all flown and the rope going up shortly, the project is right on schedule.
Chester “Chet” Upham, Jr. joined Loveland in the 1950s and was instrumental in building the original Lift One, the third chairlift in Colorado. He bought out his partners in 1972 and the Upham family continues to own Loveland today. Chet’s Dream is the work of former Loveland ski patroller Terry Henningson, who submitted the name as part of a contest this spring that received nearly 3,000 entries. “Chet’s Dream stood out immediately as a way for us to honor a ski industry pioneer and the patriarch of Loveland Ski Area,” said John. I’m told the most popular entry was Lift 1 followed closely by Lifty McLiftface.
Ride time will fall from eight minutes to three and the number of towers is down by four. 49 quad chairs will circulate on the bottom drive lift. “Lift 1 was our workhorse and it had served us well for over 30 years. It was time for an upgrade and it was exciting to learn that our owners were considering a high-speed lift for its replacement,” John told me. Will it be the only high speed ride at Loveland? “Lift 6 will be our next upgrade and that will remain a fixed grip. As for future upgrades and any new potential lifts, we will have to wait and see what happens.”
Any word on what they want to do with lift 5?
They are going to leave it sit because they are better off replacing the lift. They probably can’t replace the lift because it is on forest service land. If they were to replace it, I would go with a Cabriolet, since wind is a big issue up there. They aren’t going to re open it because it takes more people to run the lift than the shuttle. Also the wind when coming to the Basin is hard and is cold. Another reason is that the lift ends next to Chet’s Dream (Lift 1) and then the beginner skiers go to Chet’s Dream instead of Lift 2.
If they were to replace it, I would go with a Cabriolet, since wind is a big issue up there. The lift would have a 45 degree turn in the parking lot and then would end near Lift 2. I don’t think this project is worth it to Loveland because they probably still need to replace Lifts 2, 3, 9 ,7. (Maybe Lift 8). This would be a project 20-30 years down the road.
It would have been glorious if Lifty McLiftface had won.
Stratton’s new trail has a name suggestion of “Traily McTrailface”, submitted by their competitor Mount Snow.
The last three on your list of biggest areas without a high-speed lift… Bridger, Discovery, and Great Divide? Or am I forgetting another?
The new top 5:
49 Degrees North, WA – 2,325 acres
Discovery, MT – 2,200 acres
Bridger Bowl, MT – 2,000 acres
Great Divide, MT – 1,500 acres
China Peak, CA – 1,400 acres
With the exception of bridger and China peak, all big northwest mountains with low visitation numbers, hence low revenue streams. We make do with less up here
If you want to add Canada to that list, Red Mountain Resort in BC would take top spot with 2,887 acres!
Also Castle in Alberta