The most state-of-the-art chairlift in the world went vertical today under wispy Montana skies. Teams from Doppelmayr, Big Sky Resort and Timberline Helicopters flawlessly executed 71 trips to hundreds of thousands of pounds of steel to Andesite Mountain in under six and a half hours. Thanks to good weather and an even better crew, that’s an average of one pick every 5.5 minutes, including refueling. As fly days go, it was amazing to watch Ramcharger 8 take shape.
In case you missed March’s announcement, Ramcharger 8 will be a lift fit for the Biggest Skiing in America. Among the innovations:
- The first eight passenger chairlift in the Americas, featuring custom upholstered seats in Big Sky Blue with matching powder coated bails and bubbles.
- The first Austrian-manufactured tapered towers in the U.S. The tallest, number six, is 73 feet tall with 30 yards of concrete at its base. The tube alone came in four sections designed specifically for Brian Jorgenson’s souped up Black Hawk helicopters.
- The first D-Line in American skiing.
- The only Doppelmayr direct drive lift in North America. It spins at just 13 rpm and weighs 40,000 lbs, increasing efficiency and decreasing noise.
First in the U.S. or Canadaheight-adjustable loading carpet to more safely load small children.
- The only fully-automated indoor carrier parking system in the American ski industry. It’s apparently one button.
- The largest-ever multimedia display in a lift terminal (30 feet by 10 feet.)
- The brand new Doppelmayr Connect control system.
- 7.7 meter line gauge with 2,500 lb. chairs.
- The first lift in the United States with auto-locking safety bars.
- The only U.S. chairlift with Fatzer’s Compacta rope (54 mm.)
Even though Big Sky’s hotels and shops are closed until ski season, Mountain Village was electric today with employees and locals marveling at the precision flying. Although the Ramcharger lift hails from Austria, dozens of Americans are working seven days a week to build it along with a new Shedhorn lift. Even during today’s tower action, loads of terminal parts were being hauled to the summit for installation this month. Things are moving quickly as we head toward both lifts’ December debuts.