Leitner-Poma & Skytrac to Build New Lifts in Outback Bowl at Schweitzer


The beloved Snow Ghost double will be retired from Schweitzer Mountain Resort next spring after 47 winter seasons, the mountain confirmed today.  In its place, two new chairlifts will service Outback Bowl in improved alignments.  A Leitner-Poma high speed quad will climb through the Kaniksu Woods area with a Skytrac fixed-grip triple servicing the Lakeside Chutes vicinity above.  “Overall, we expect the two chair arrangement to complement our existing lift system and provide better access to some of the most popular terrain at Schweitzer,” says Tom Chasse, CEO of the north Idaho mountain.  Schweitzer completed a similar project on the front side in 2007, replacing 5,500 foot Chair 1 with the Basin Express and Lakeview lifts.

schweitzer 144
Snow Ghost is a very long Riblet double with more than 30 towers.

The detachable quad chair will offer a capacity of 2,400 skiers per hour and rise 1,447 feet in just over five minutes.  The triple chair capacity will be 1,800 per hour with a vertical of 1,360 feet and an 8 minute ride time.  “We’ve seen over the years how a similar two lift system in the South Bowl has been beneficial when we have weather challenges,” said Chasse. “By having the two lifts serving different aspects of the North Bowl, our hope is to combat similar challenges on the backside of the mountain.”  As part of the project, Schweitzer will add gladed terrain and four new runs surrounding the new lifts, which have yet to be named.

17 thoughts on “Leitner-Poma & Skytrac to Build New Lifts in Outback Bowl at Schweitzer

  1. Gavin October 25, 2018 / 10:25 am

    Nice post, Peter!


  2. Doug Brown October 25, 2018 / 10:26 am

    I’m suprised that the bottom terminal of the lower lift isn’t further downhill, to capture all return traffic from Idyle Our and Stella and to provide uphill acess from the Outback Inn.


    • Anthony October 25, 2018 / 9:35 pm

      They’d probably have to remove the cedar trees to do that and still have the same terminus. Those are a really unique character element on the backside.


    • Peter Landsman October 26, 2018 / 8:14 am

      They could almost use a third lift.

      Which is funny because they had a lift in that alignment in 1978.

      The map really doesn’t do justice to how expansive this area is. Schweitzer is the largest resort in Idaho or Washington but serviced by a relatively small number of key lifts.


      • Anthony October 27, 2018 / 10:02 pm

        I think the original plan, years ago, when the two-lift idea was first imagined, had been to do the second lift in the north part of the bowl (running kind of in the Downhill Run / Big Timber area). But they probably ran into some type of challenge with that alignment.

        The plus side of this alignment will be one-lift, ten-minute laps on the south end of Outback Bowl. The down side will be that the better steeps are really on the north side. It also creates a three-lift ride to the runs accessed from Little Blue.

        Expect to see clamoring for a direct-to-Little Blue lift or a north-side version of “New Lift #1” down the road. With Schweitzer’s size and odd bowl-in-bowl topography, you could really go wild with lifts if you wanted to.


      • Colton Ellingson March 28, 2019 / 9:48 pm

        They are planning on adding a third lift like you showed, but to the top of little blue in future years. They had their current master plan on display all season. Shown here (https://imgur.com/Swy1qIn). Lifts 2 and 3 are the projects occurring this summer as it shows. Lift 1 I would imagine to be next as having that lift would help spread skiers out much more, but the new base area would definitely be a big project. Lift 4 looks to be the really interesting one to me, if it is a detachable with a mid-station. We don’t see many lifts like that around here.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Kevin R October 25, 2018 / 11:16 am

    Wonder why they did not pick Doppelmayr?


    • Collin Parsons October 26, 2018 / 5:29 am

      Price is more important than brand loyalty.


  4. Brian October 25, 2018 / 2:49 pm

    Another Ribblet center pole bites the dust. It’s really a testament to the engineering and relative ease of repair that these antiques still are reliably running today. There probably would be more still in service today had the need for more uphill capacity not demanded their removal. I always liked the long ride time as they allowed for a period of rest before hitting it again.


    • U October 25, 2018 / 11:40 pm

      Beautifully said. I couldn’t agree more.


    • Peter Landsman October 26, 2018 / 8:21 am

      Still 285 Riblets operating in the US and Canada and more abroad.


      • Brian October 26, 2018 / 12:09 pm

        Wow, that’s still a lot! Thanks! I know many of the areas in the PNW and California I frequented were majority Ribblet/YAN. Now there are but only a few left. Some areas are completely empty of Ribblets (Timberline/Crystal). I ride them when and if they’re open. Many typically fill a backup or overflow (weekend) lift nowadays.


  5. Ryan Murphy October 30, 2018 / 2:15 am

    I’ve never been to Schweitzer, but shouldn’t Stella to the upper lift be as efficient as if they extended the lower lift?


    • Collin Parsons October 30, 2018 / 6:08 am

      That’s my thinking. They probably also don’t want an entire bowl that funnels down to a single runout. Most of the terrain to looker’s right of the new lift 1 does funnel down to it instead of sending you down to Stella.


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