Sugar Mountain’s Second Detachable to Enhance Beginner Experience

Fifty years after its trusty beginner chairlift opened, Sugar Mountain says the Brown Hall double has carried its last skiers and snowboarders.  Next winter, a Doppelmayr detachable quad chair will run up the Easy Street slope, more than doubling uphill capacity to 2,400 people per hour.  The new lift, tentatively dubbed the Silver Bullet, will also improve ride time from more than six minutes to two and a half while making loading and unloading more comfortable.


“Replacing the original Easy Street lift is not just an upgrade, it is example of the continued commitment to offering our guests an exceptional mountain experience,” said Sugar Mountain Resort owner Gunther Jochl in a statement.  “The majority of our guests are beginners who go on to develop skiing and snowboarding as a life-long, family activity.  Generation after generation lays roots right here on our beginner terrain.  This hasn’t changed in Sugar’s fifty year history.”  Sugar Mountain launched its first high speed lift, the Summit Express six pack, in 2015.

11 thoughts on “Sugar Mountain’s Second Detachable to Enhance Beginner Experience

  1. reaperskier April 1, 2019 / 7:07 pm

    Nice! Although its sad that another hall double chair is going away :(.

    BTW Peter, are you planning to take pictures of the lifts down in north carolina and tennessee?


  2. Milan S April 1, 2019 / 9:30 pm

    I think more ski resorts should look at this. Having slow, outdated, lifts is not a good beginner lift, even if it cuts costs. Beginner skiers just want to learn how to ski and not waiting on a lift that goes 1 meter per second. Thats why the detachable option is perfect. The conveyer is perfect for loading/unloading and gives way more time then fixed grips.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Collin Parsons July 28, 2019 / 3:59 pm

      I agree with this. Unfortunately a lot of resorts don’t understand. The most glaring example for 2019 is the masterminds at Belleayre got a 3800 foot fixed grip as their new beginner lift. So even millions of dollars later it will still be a 14 minute ride, just like when the old lifts were built in 1982.


      • skitheeast July 29, 2019 / 6:38 pm

        Belleayre’s owner is the state of NY, and that creates challenges for the resort.


  3. themav April 2, 2019 / 2:45 pm

    Detachables are well suited to serving beginners, and several ski areas operate them as bunny hill lifts successfully. The big thing, as already mentioned, is cost. Detachable terminals are expensive, and with the short distances most beginner lifts run at, it can be hard for the resort to justify the expense as ride time tends to be pretty low either way.

    With fixed grip beginner lifts it seems like they have to slow or stop the lift constantly, leading to frustrated skiers. Misloads, and also failed unloads are common. To get around this many hills run their fixed grip bunny hill lifts at low speed, leading to a long ride time for the amount of terrain covered. A detach makes sense there as it allows for slow loading/unloading speeds while not compromising the ride time.

    If you’ve ever been to any of the big destination ski resorts on holiday days, then you know that the bunny hill lift can get seriously backed up. A HSQ will also allow the skiers to actually ski, rather than spend the whole time waiting in line.

    Liked by 2 people

    • John April 3, 2019 / 3:02 pm

      Absolutely. We replaced a 1981 Poma fixed triple a couple of years ago, and the public loves the new detach. We run it at 4 m/s, and it rarely stops. The old lift stopped every ten chairs, it seemed.

      Liked by 3 people

    • skitheeast April 4, 2019 / 10:31 am

      I completely agree. Park City is a fantastic example of a mountain that has installed high speed lifts for their short beginner lifts with High Meadow Express and First Time Express and beginners love it.


      • themav April 4, 2019 / 4:34 pm

        I learned to ski on the old First Time triple lift (and the SLI 3 kings double, which has also since been removed). When I was 7 and they installed the current HSQ, I remember thinking the ride was over before it began!

        Liked by 1 person

    • Max Hart April 4, 2019 / 10:41 am

      Killington and Sunday River have had detachable quads as beginner lifts for 30 and 25 years respectively.

      Liked by 1 person

    • powderforever21 July 29, 2019 / 1:57 pm

      A good example of this is the Christie Express at Steamboat. If you get off at mid it’s all beginner terrain and the lift is a HSS. It replaced a bunch of old fixed grip lifts crammed on to 20 acres of land.


      • Donald Reif July 29, 2019 / 2:26 pm

        The Christie Peak Express also had the side benefit of freeing up that beginner hill so that the alpine coaster would have room to go in ten years later, and an alternate way up if the Gondola goes down for any reason.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s